Huge doubts about this race beforehand. Peter wanted a tester because he is feeling fit and I thought I might as well come along too - thinking it would be low-key, low profile, no unhelpful comparisons making me feel slow....and then I looked at the entry list and had to check that this wasn't a Porty championship race. There were a host of Porties signed up - all coming along to show me why you should do regular speed work.
The southerly wind beat on the windows all night. I woke up from troubled sleep a number of times, as wheeley bins jumped their moorings and sailed up and down the street. "Maybe it'll be cancelled" I thought to myself as I crawled unwillingly out of bed at 8am. Why would it be cancelled? For being just too dreadful.
We were en route on time and it was hard not to cheer up as the clouds beat across the sky and the sun shone and the rain fell and rainbows grew across the landscape. Still when I arrived I was back to my negativity. I had a little swear to Johnny which made me feel better.
I caught up with Fiona Mayfield who I haven't seen in quite a while and that calmed me down. We both spoke about the need to keep it steady to start with and then put in the fight later on if you've anything left to give. No sense hareing off at an unsustainable rate and then spending the next 5 miles in a state of abject self-pity as other people with more sense trundle past.
And so that was the race plan and I stuck to it. And pretty soon into the race I started to enjoy it! I was tying up a bit for a while but then I caught up with Scott Rogerson and together we cheered on the Porties ahead of us which was a helpful distraction running into the wind. Round the traffic cone and suddenly the wind was behind and I enjoyed flying along letting it push me. The next bit up the hill was not as bad as last year because this time I was expecting it. A bit of a cross-wind and a good long hill but the reward was getting to the top and running down hill with the wind behind me and amazing views of very blue choppy seas and dramatic skies. I almost told the runner I was passing how much I was enjoying myself.
Ahead I could see Jenni and a bit further on Ruth - and even the fact that I was anywhere near them was cheering me because I feared I would be minutes and minutes behind them. I did what I could to make the best of the downhill and then there was a last dreadful run into the wind. I found if I ran as if I was running up a hill, - leaning over and using my legs, I was making headway on those around me, so I slowly played a game of catch up by running from one runner to the next and having a short break at every person caught.
Pretty soon there was nobody between Jenni and I so I concentrated on taking the best line I could with the best form I could and hung in the best I could. I never caught her but I was in touch which was much better than I hoped. I don't know if Jenni felt she ran a bad race but she ran a half marathon time better than my pb just a couple of weeks ago, so it felt pretty good to me....
I was too lazy to shower but enjoyed milling around afterwards, feeling surprisingly good, and getting in a cool down run to take me over 51 miles for the week. At the prize giving the Porty men (Gareth, Johnny and Peter) and ladies (but not this one) (Shery, Kathy and Ruth) won the team prizes and Shery and Kathy were 2nd and 3rd lady respectively, while Peter was 2nd vet and Willie won the over 50s. It was a great atmosphere. We have a great haul of Belhaven Bests!
Thanks Stuart Hay and Dunbar Running Club for putting on this great event.
Tomorrow's ambitious plan is to squeeze out as near to 40 miles as I can...
Photos are Peter's.