Saturday, 20 August 2011

Haddington Half Marathon 2011

A wee handful of photos from today there'll be more on the Porty site.

I had no intention of doing this race which is why Peter and I went for a 12+ miler round Aberlady etc. yesterday - and very nice it was too. We sat in the van after as the rain started to come down and Peter ate three Worcester Sauce crisp rolls while I tried to eat a Mullerlight strawberry fruit corner yoghurt with a milky bar. These cherished moments are what running is all about. Anyway; that brought my mileage up to 58 miles for the week which is by far the highest mileage week I'd done in ages. My plan was to cycle around Haddington today and take pictures, like last year - and keep something in the tank for the Lomonds of Fife race tomorrow. We wouldn't have been going anywhere near Haddington except Peter's had this persistent feeling that he has some good race times in him which you can only really nail down with a road race.

And when I got up this morning that was still the plan. I even went to the trouble on Thursday of at long last taking my winter gnarly tyres off my bike and replacing them with my summer slicks. I also shuffled around lithium batteries so my cycle computer would be working. But then I thought about how detached I felt last year at the the end when everyone had raced and I'd been caught up with phoning ambulances and all that malarkey. Entertaining as that was it wasn't racing. And for the first time in a very long time I found myself WANTING to do a half marathon. So while Peter was out getting a racing haircut and finally picking up the newly engraved team trophy for last year's Moray Marathon so it can go back to the organisers, I got changed into my racing kit. The decision was made.

Off to Haddington we went and the sun was out. No surprise. This is the hot half marathon. There were many Porties already there when we arrived, which was a bit of a surprise as we were really quite early. Knowing that we were entering on the day we didn't want to risk getting caught out and not getting in.
I felt a bit stiff as I went in search of loos but soon eased off. There was the usual pre-race nervous chat...and we were off! How to play it? I didn't know. I don't think I've run a half marathon this year. I think I ran a bunch of disappointing one's last year until I couldn't really stand the distance anymore. It was hillier than I'd remembered, which was all to the good really - and we were out of town and into the countryside quicker than I expected. Everything was looking very harvest lovely. I was doing my best not to get caught up in trying to run faster than I am able and then feeling disappointed when I can't sustain it. I tried to run with an appreciation for how it was good to be out running on a supported course, much faster than usual, in the company of other runners, on a lovely sunny afternoon in August! I partially managed this.

The miles took their time ticking over but I was feeling okay. I spent a bit of running time with other Porties - 1st Alan Aitchison and then Sandy MacDonald. In the distance - but not that far in the distance I could see Helena Sim, who I spent most of the Tour of Fife chasing. I tried to keep some kind of contact and the distance didn't seem to be extending too much. Sometimes I felt I could run more aggressively and other times it was just a rather lame hanging in there feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead! At around mile 9 (the details are hazy here) ( my head was baking by increments) Aileen Ross drew level with me. I tried to raise the pace - (I'm always concerned just in case there's a team prize place at stake). I did raise the pace, but I didn't want to and didn't feel confident that I could sustain it. Perhaps because of this I caught up to Helena Sim who I tried to encourage. She was telling me before the race that this is her first race out as a V50 and she was a bit disappointed that that put her in the over 45s category rather than a 50s category. Helena's a very good example of what's good about running. You'd never guess she was 50 by the way she looks or by her attitude. She's buoyant and she's very funny so it was with SOME regret that I went past her.

The last few miles were a confusing, hot muddle of trying to speed up and trying not to slow down. I think Aileen had disappeared for a while - I couldn't hear her anyway but as we were coming in for landing; coming into the town and near to the sweep down the hill and into the field and finish and all that, there was unmistakeably women's breathing right behind  me. It could have been Aileen or Helena - or indeed someone else - it made me work very hard all the way to the line anyway. I was profoundly glad to stop and get something to drink. I was crusted with salt as were most of the other folk I spoke to.

Peter had run a stormer and was moderately spaced out and on another planet. He brought home a  bronze Masters East District Championships medal and a 3rd share of a big box of beers (which we are drinking). Gareth and Johnny were the other Porty team members. Willie won something too - I couldn't hear what it was - maybe 1st O50. I think Shery might have been 3rd lady and won an East District medal too? I couldn't hear so well as I was sat on the grass eating sandwiches and a bit far back from the prize-giving. The ladies - Shery, Yana? and  Emily won the ladies team  prizes and got a bottle of wine each. So a good day for the Porties.

Eek its 8 O'clock and I'm sitting drinking Hobgoblin beer and blogging - maybe better stretch and have a shower and get something to eat for tomorrow is the Lomonds of Fife Hill Race. Some numbers here - I have unthinkingly run 72 miles for the week. That wasn't really a plan. And that was race no. 30 for this year.

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