Today was the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon (or “The Glasgow Half”). Record entry of 23,000 and the great Geb running. Also being televised live on Beeb 2 for the first time in a long time. Possibly something to do with the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Lots of road closures and no offers of lifts so I decided to get the train to Glasgow. Turned out that many people had the same idea. Being Sunday there were less carriages than usual so it was a busy train, full of runners talking about possible PBs, how to attach the timing chip and this year’s changes to the course.
J came with me to hold my bag and do some shopping while I ran. This saved me having to worry about leaving my stuff at the bag drop. Also meant I could go straight to George Square after getting off the train instead of going to the Green first.
This year they tried to have a mass warmup at the start. Not a great idea as we were packed into the start pens like sardines (or penguins huddling at the South Pole). Asking 23000 Scots to be extrovert in public without the water of life is doomed to failure at the best of times but in the enclosed space it was impossible.
Then there was a 15 min delay. You could see the tension in the faces of people who thought they had timed their hydration and subsequent necessities to perfection but were now not sure if they should “go again”. Several did but I decided to hold my nerve.
Then we were off. Too fast up St Vincent Street as it happened. Bit breathless at the top of the hill then trying to compose myself on the downhill towards Finnieston. Settled down and passed the first mile marker in 7.55. I was trying for 1:45 so took stock of my breathing and any signs of fatigue in my legs and decided to maintain my pace.
Over Kingston Bridge meeting a colleague from work on the way. Shook hands as he passed and disappeared into the distance. Downhill off the bridge and round towards the 3 mile marker. Sharp pain from my ankle. Then another. Oops. Concentrated on getting my stride right and no more pain. Great. Keep going.
Running up Paisley Road West, Haile whizzed past on the other side of the road about 4 miles in front of me I think. Then the rest of the elite runners passed by.
Eventually arrived at Bellahouston Park and came to the first change in the course. And it involved a slight uphill! Just what I didn’t want. Having looked at the map I thought the changes were going to make it flatter. However there were a number of slight uphills and flyover bridges that I hadn’t anticipated.
The Clyde Arc, past the newly opened Hydro arena, then a slight uphill towards the Riverside Museum. Running round the Museum took longer than I thought and I was starting to get tired. This was just over 10 miles and I had taken a gel, getting my hands sticky in the process, but still tired as I climbed up onto a flyover to get onto the other side of Pointhouse Road.
I had imagined that this would be a flat straight run to Glasgow Green but there was an uphill then down and right back towards the Clyde Arc and left turn to head for home.
Then just as I reached 11 miles I felt a sharp pain in my left hip and my leg went weak. I recovered but it happened again so I slowed down and shortened my stride. I have had problems in the past so I decided not to push it.
Focussing on my hip looking for any more signs of trouble, I kept going, hoping that I would be able to finish. The last 2 miles seemed to take ages as I tried to keep going. But eventually I was entering Glasgow Green under the McLellan Arch and heading for the finish.
No sprint finish for me today. Sure and steady got me there.
J was waiting with an enormous Danish pastry. Not the healthiest but who cares. After 13 miles I needed the calories and the comfort.
Final time 1:43 and a PB. Happy with that.
Really enjoyed the run. Great route and great atmosphere. Might even do it again!