Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Antartic Half Marathon

AKA - Inverness Half Marathon

I'm no fair weather runner>>>>

I think anyone reading my blogs knows that but after seeing alarming forecasts for the highlands i was a tad worried. I actually dont care what the weather was like once i'm actually running, but i hate getting cold & wet at start of race.

Edinburgh was fine when i left, dry & fine. Perthshire was looking snowy but not too bad.

However the further North we got the worse it got, roads were passable but very snowy and it was very blizzardy. I thought that a good option for Sunday would be *washing my hair* instead of running 13 miles.

Once we got to Inverness however it didn't seem to lying much. It was still sideways sleet/snow and windy, and baltic, but not lying like it was on the outskirts. So at least we'd only freeze to death and get soaked. Joy.

Woke up in morning to more of the same.I was told that i wasn't allowed to say anything negative after 9am! lol I think i might've been a tad moany about the weather. Seeing as the race started in middle of night (ok, it was 1pm but you get my drift) we set off to demolish a nice big breakfast. And we did indeed, plenty time for it to settle before we ran.

We left hotel around 11 to head up and collect our numbers, the place was buzzing with folk. Bumped into lots of people i knew which was unusual, usually it's Ian getting stopped every 2 mins wherever we go. Was great to see Vicky who although is also doing D33 next week was there to pace her friend to a sub2 (she did too, well done V)here we are in matching outfits >>

I was informed after we got our numbers that we were going for a warm up run. Now there's a novelty. I tried to resist by saying "surely I'll be warmer staying in this nice warm hall?" but got told to HTFU quite frankly. :o/

So off we went, its was pretty damn cold and Ian made me run slow, then fast, then sideways, then hop. Stopped short of agadoo doo doo though thankfully. Turned a mile down road then danced, i mean ran back towards hall where we bumped into JohnK & Katrina, also bumped into Robert doing warm up too.

Quick high 5 to Robert and then back to hall to actually get warm.

Not long before i was dragged out again (under protest, there was still 20mins before race started ffs!)and i huddled and shivered behind to toilets trying to shield from the biting Antarctic style wind.

Was dragged from there soon after to "get near front and away from annoying slow runners" Bumped into John again and i thought i was hearing things when he said "good racing weather" or something along those lines. Maybe in JohnK's world it's good racing weather, in mine its no wind, no snow, no sleet etc etc I told John i was looking for a PB so i lay down gauntlet for myself by making it public. Ian had asked me my strategy earlier on in day "run as fast as i can" i said. "Good" was all he said to that.

Had quick chat with club mate and we discussed whether we were going for Pb or not as we are both doing D33 next weekend, she said she was taking it easy, i said i was going for it! Before we knew it and just as i was turning blue the countdown started and we were off. Ian had briefed me well on course so i knew there few hills to deal with. I knew some of route having done Loch ness Marathon few times & 10k once. Hills were more long drags rather than steep hills and first one was at 4miles. I amazed to see people walking at this stage! yikes, surely if you re walking at mile4 you haven't put in the training? each to their own i guess....

I was really enjoying the course and felt quite comfortable throughout, another club mate passed me around 6miles and we had quick chat. I knew Lucy had same 1/2 Mara time as me but she went off ahead few mins later and my mission was to keep her in my sights, we were both looking for sub1.45. Another guy i knew from Fetch was just ahead of me whole time too which was good to keep me going as i knew his PB was better than mine.

One guy just in front of me stopped every time he got nr a hill and started walking, actually even on slight inclines he did too, then he's pass me 5 min later. He started to do my nut in and i thought about tripping him up for a min ;) He was built like a rugby player with biggest thighs I've ever seen, maybe that's why he struggled on the hills?

Anyway, he stopped again around mile 9 and i was determined he wasn't getting me again. Mile 10, still no sign, mile 11 wooohooo, I've lost him. Spoke too soon as he flew past me just as i thought i'd lost him, damn him! So my new mission was to keep him in my sights, then poke him in eye when i got over line lol

By mile 11 i was keeping a really good pace and i knew I'd get a Pb so i decided to push a bit harder to see if i could better it. The wind was really strong against us until we crossed bridge heading towards last mile & half then thankfully it was behind us. Got into stadium and heard Ian shout out my name which made me run even faster.Had few folk shouting out my name as i came to finishing line which was fabulous!

Unlike the Marathon finish we had to run 3/4 way round track but it was lovely and bouncy after all the tarmac so i didn't mind so much. Crossed line in 1.42.44 woohoooo Super delighted!Quick hug from Paul (fetchy) who finished just ahead of me and massive hug from Ian who was probably as delighted as i was! I was 11th in my age cat, and 320 overall out of 1122 runners.

Ian had been waiting for 10mins til i finished and was shivering by now so headed off to car to get our bags, i stopped to chat to John and congratulate him on his time(hope i can get as fast as him at his age!) he was waiting for Katrina to come in.

Quick change to get warmed up and we headed back to hall to say our goodbyes. Katrina was in by now and had a cracking race, just over2 hrs for her first 1/2, fab. Took me ages to get sub2 i recall. Great results all round i reckon. Ian wasn't overly impressed by his time, i guess when your PB is 1.17 its tough to think what used to be and all that. But his focus has been on me of late, to get my times down.I'm running faster cause I'm running with him, and he is running slower.

Coaching me is taking priority over his own times and for that I'm eternally grateful, but i also feel guilty too. No way would i have done speed work or had the belief i could run that bit faster if he wasn't there to push me. Thank you x

Journey home was more of same, i was getting rather excited to see all the deer coming off the hills to find food though. There there literally hundreds, i know you can only see a few in this pic but i was in a moving car ok! Blizzards for first 15 miles, torrential rain in fife then dry as a bone once we got to Edinburgh! Mad Mad world.
Plan for this week is to take it fairly easy. Was up at 4.30 on Monday and ran to gym but took direct route then ran to work so only did 4 miles.

Gym mon/wed/fri and no more than 5 miles a day. Legs are fine, calf's were tight this morning when got up but fine once started running.
Trying to get Friday off work so i can chill out before heading up to Aberdeen.

I want a PB at D33.


  1. eye poke first then the trip would of been my prefered option, less likely to get a punch in the head if he can't see you lol Well done for the new pb and see yo next week at the D33 :0)

  2. Well Done Sandra on your 1/2 pb :-)

    Hope your legs are fresh for sat...

    See you both then...

  3. Good to you on Sunday. Congrats on your pb and all the best for D33. Hope it's warmer!

    At least with an out and back course you'll have the wind behind you for half the way!

  4. Nice one, Sandra. Well done.

    See you in Aberdeen. The forecast has a big yellow sunshine on it...for now :-)



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