Day 1 of the Tour of Fife today was the Teddy Bear Race. A fast (if you can run fast), flattish 5 miler. Not sure why it was the teddy bear race but it gave Peter a reason to stay up late making a Portobearo vest for his bear Orangey. You have to respect a man who's comfortable enough in himself to have a small orange friend.
The meeting point for the first day of the town was Giffordtown Village Hall which we already knew from previous Tortoise and Hare races. The place was already buzzing by the time we arrived and it was a great atmosphere. I was a bit concerned about Amanda as she'd already run the Musselburgh 10K yesterday because she thought we were doing it. I think we might have said we were probably doing it but what we meant was there was no way in the world we were doing it. We were spectating yesterday and feeling less than special because we accidentally got drunk on Friday night. We were just a bit tired and forgot to stop pouring. But that's another story.
Anyway Amanda had run a 10K and then spent the evening wining and dining clients and then had to see them off this morning. She isn't an escort she works for Visit Scotland. Amanda doesn't drink much or often and she ended up having to hurry to meet up with us this morning with a minimum of preparation for the race so I was worried she'd have a bad race and regret the whole thing.
Fellow Porties Ruth and Adele were already there and registered. Nice also to see Julia and Andrew Henderson and this year Julia's running despite a dicky IT band.
We went and did a longish warm up, partly to recce the course, and partly to boost our weekly mileage as we're still technically in marathon training so want a few extra miles in the bank. The most noticeable thing right from the off was that it was very warm when you started running down that road. This was to be a feature of the race.
Pretty soon we were at the start and we were off. A long straight road to start off, then right and down a bit to the 1st mile. I was impressed at how much better I felt than I had when warming up. There must be some chemical process involved. Whatever it is its good. The 2nd mile the usual racing pains set in. The hardest thing, I think, is the mental game. For some reason a half marathon seems easier to set out on. I was trying to concentrate on working but not too hard - not going too far into the red but not forgetting I was racing and easing up. Huge big bullocks having a run in a field alongside were a welcome distraction. Insultingly, despite their size they were going quicker than me.
About mile 2 Ruth went past me. We have rarely run together so I don't know what to expect from her. I am somewhat in awe of all the British Military Training she does and imagine that she's thinking tough thoughts while I simper along feeling a bit sorry for myself. I kept her in sight as best I could but didn't want to get into any racing early on. Far too far to go yet for that. It was a huge relief to get in amongst the shady trees for a while and out the direct sunlight. I thought how I was designed for staying warm in winter. But its the same for everyone. Everyone was flushed with the heat.
Round the corner from the woodland trail there was the only hill of the race and I went well up it - pulling away from the others around me without particularly intending to. And the downhill that followed was a welcome break on the lungs.
Then it was just a case of grind it out and try not to die on the last couple of miles. I never caught up to Ruth though I could see her the whole way. I was evenly matched with a man from Anster Haddies and we pretty much stuck together to the end. In the last 200m I remembered Colin Feechan telling me to relax and lift my pace at Benbecula and tried this again and I managed to move a bit quicker.
It was a real relief to stop and start to cool off again.
Amanda was in great form having run well, so I needn't have worried. Julia had also gone fine and not had bother with her IT band. Peter was pleased with his race and I think Ruth was too, so we were a happy band of Porties waiting at the end. Andrew came in not long after, putting on an impressive sprint for the line - making us question his output during the race! Adele was not far behind, and Christina, who came with us in our car was a bit further back, as she's nursing a sore knee.
We got some excellent spot prizes! I got a big photo of myself which pleased me, and Peter got a car valet pack which he seems to think I'll be using rather than him! Also notable were excellent fridge magnets and a golden trainer trophy for all competitors.
We were in good spirits on the way home and are thoroughly looking forwards to the week. Better have a stretch and a shower I guess!