Saturday was the Harris Half Marathon and the final race of the Heb 3 series. After dodging last week's Barra half due to alarming weather reports and worry about what state I'd be in to go into a new work setting on Monday it was almost gratifying to hear all the Barra vomiting stories from those who braved it and were there. Also, the boat didn't come back from Barra on the Sunday so I wouldn't have made it to work which wouldn't have been a good start.
You can get enough vomiting stories though.
The weather report for THIS weekend was not looking so hot either but it was the more normal west coast forecast of rain and cold - nothing to miss a race for, so off we set. As it happened we seemed to get lucky with the weather. Friday night at Uig on Skye was dry and so windless our friends the midges came and joined us and cut short our chat with other Heb 3 regulars also camping over and catching the ferry in the morning.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny and pretty much remained so all day. Nice smooth crossing on the ferry.
We'd had a good break from half-marathoning since Benbecula and have put in some good training runs so we were both hopeful that we would run better and also feel better - we both felt pretty desperate at Benbecula. Amanda H. is also just coming in to a bit of good form and Richard is recovering swiftly now from his WHW race. The Porties were therefore in a quite optimistic, upbeat mood.
Julia and Andrew Henderson were also camping and Andrew was running - Julia's nursing an IT band injury and saving herself for the Tour of Fife later in the month.
I'd absolutely promised myself not to go off too fast this time as I am heartily sick of being overtaken from mile 8 onwards by everyone and their dog. As Bruce Walker of Troon Tortoises passed me in Stornoway and Benbecula at mile 9 and then went on to record a much better time than me I thought there was little sense in getting ahead of him at all. I trailed Bruce for the 1st 4 miles but then he unexpectedly pulled over to the side of the road and started vomiting. So I left him to it.
The hills seemed to have moved themselves around a bit since last time I'd run this course, which was a bit disconcerting, and the proper hills seemed to start at mile 5 although I could have sworn they started from 4 onwards. I'd been chasing down a tall woman in red for some time and seemed to gain on her every uphill so I thought I might as well put my cards on the table and cruise by her and see what her response was. She seemed to try to stay with me for a while and then fell off the back a bit, but then I could hear her talking to another female. This was a spur - thinking that if they're talking they're not trying hard enough, but I also really didn't want them to breeze past me chatting. I kept as much pressure on myself as I felt I could handle and kept moving up the hills.
Thinking back on it I don't think anyone passed me at all from there in the race, apart from Shona Morrison who I passed at 10 miles and who re-took me further down the road. I reeled in and passed maybe 6 people on the way up the hills. Lots of hill training at club, plus the Red Moss Revolution plus some runs out in the Pentlands with Peter seemed to be paying dividends.
Not much more to say about this. I didn't run a great time and have not seen the results yet so can't prove it but suspect I was further up the field than the previous Heb races this year. I ran the same time for all 3 races, which I couldn't have done if I'd tried. Within 40 seconds for all of them. It was nice to run feeling stronger and not end by feeling defeated.
The Heb 3 series has lost some of its sponsorship so there were fewer prizes than in previous years. I might have lucked 2nd or 3rd FV if the classifications had have gone down that far - again I won't know til I see the results, but I was content to be running better again. We've signed up for the Moray Marathon in less than a couple of months so all the latter part of the race I was telling myself the half marathon was good tempo training for that.
Peter ran strongly and came in 4th and was in a great mood picking up the 1st MV prize for Harris and also for the Heb 3 series. He's had a good battle throughout this year's Heb races with Andy McMahon and Colin Feechan and worked very hard to keep them both behind him this time. Amanda ran a stormer to come in under 1hr 30 mins and got an immense cup for 3rd lady. Richard ran strongly and is well on his way back to where he was pre WHW.
HBT put in a strong bid for dominance at the Hebs this year and nobody could really argue as they made off with most of the prizes. God punished them by giving them Fosters lager as a team prize for Harris. (The ladies got wine, I don't know what the HBT policy on wine is - only brown fortified wines?) Jim Bruce was kinder than God and gave them their beloved Brown Beers for their Heb 3 team prize.
There was the usual brilliant atmosphere at the Hebs and every year we know more people and there are more people to talk to endlessly about running, running, running. But the Heb 3 weekends are very tiring and we were thinking - well maybe next year we'll do something else...but then Shery Johnston says that maybe she'd be up for having a go at them next year, and then I start to think well maybe Amanda, Shery and me would make a reasonable ladies' team and maybe we should do it again next year.....
On Saturday night, after a beautiful rosy sunset, the forecast rain finally arrived and battered on the tent walls all night as we slept off the day's racing and a bit too much to drink in celebration.
No action photos yet. Photos stolen from Peter