GSR Half Marathon

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!

Motivation

I haven’t blogged for some time. Partly because I’ve been busy but partly because I’m not sure why I’m doing it.

Am I writing for others to read or am I writing for myself, to see my thoughts on the screen and so clarify them? Or just to keep a personal record for my own amusement?

I have chosen to be as anonymous as possible to allow myself to say anything but so far I have been fairly bland in what I have written.

So I am at a kind of a crossroads still not decided about whether blogging is for me. It would be interesting to know why other people have chosen to blog. So if anyone is reading please let me know.

Motivation has been a bit of an issue for my running as well. I haven’t stopped but I have found it difficult to stick to my half marathon schedule. In particular I am finding the long runs difficult as I don’t have a running partner. Missed last long run because of the weather. Also missed some days because of work.

Just over two weeks to go so will need kick up backside!

Wish me luck..

I must be mad

Having missed training for the last few days, I was determined to make tonight’s track session. Travelling home from work I could see that clouds were starting to gather and the sky was getting dark. However my half marathon schedule was preying on my mind so I got changed and headed for the track.

As I got out of the car I could see that it had started to rain. Just light drops so I left my jacket in the car. By the time I started warming up the rain had stopped so I thought I might get away with it.

Session started, 200 and 400m intervals with equal recoveries. Total of 9 K. I was feeling a bit achy and tight in the muscles. So the first couple of laps were hard. But as I loosened off I started to feel good.

Then the rain started for real. Heavy and persistant. Small puddles started to form on the track and I could feel my feet starting to get wet as the water soaked into my socks and through my shoes. A sensible person would have stopped at this point but I was really feeling guilty about missing some days and so carried on. It’s only water, I thought, skin is waterproof.

It’s amazing how heavy a dri fit running top can feel once it gets really soaked. It also starts to stick to your body. That might have had something to do with the wind that was starting to get up of course. I tried pulling it away from my body but it just fell back and clung to me.

By this time my shoes were making squelchy noises and the kids were being told to shelter. But I kept on going.

Then it got even heavier. I’m sure the drops were hitting the track and bouncing 12 inches back up into the air. But I was as wet as I could get and closer to the end of the session than the start. It would have been a waste to stop now.

I finished the session and went straight to the toilets where I spent about 15mins wringing out my top. Must take a change of clothes next time….

Why do we do it?

Must be mad …. Or a runner!

Winds of change

The weather has been changing recently. Still capable of being warm but with some rainy spells and cool winds.

This made my hill session a bit easier this week. Occasional cool breezes across my face and body were just enough to keep me from overheating and made the hilly loops almost pleasant. I haven’t done hills for some time and had forgotten that there is a technique. This was explained at high volume ffrom behind as I struggled up the slope. Shorter stride, head up to keep your airway open and use your arms. It helped and I concentrated on this each loop became not easier but more controlled.

My distance run route is a bit hilly as well so the technique helped next day as I ran my 13K long run. Again cool breezes helped me along and I was pleased to be able to complete it this week. It was nice to see the cattle out in the fields enjoying the open spaces. Not so nice to run over what they had left behind on the roads between the farm yards and the fields though. That’s the countryside for you!

Road to no where

Back at work this week after having some time off and already it’s interfering with running!

Tuesday was supposed to be an 8K tempo run. However as I had to attend a meeting out of town I was unable to meet my friends for the tempo run. Instead I had a late treadmill session at the gym.

Treadmill sessions always seem harder than they should be. Running without actually moving anywhere and having no landmarks to strive for, motivation is hard to find. When the session is based on minutes rather than metres the clock seems to go very slowly. But it had to be done.

Making it up as I went along, I increased my speed from 10.5km/h to 12 km/h over the first 15 mins and then maintained the 12km/h until I had completed 8K. 12km/h is slightly under my best 10K pace so I thought that would qualify as a tempo run.

Finished off with a 10 min cooldown on the bike. Felt tired but good.

A hill too far

Still following the half marathon schedule. Saturday was to be a hill session. I haven’t done hills for some time so I knew it would be hard. It was also looking like another hot day when I joined the group of runners at the meeting point.

We did some warm up exercises and stretches and then the leader outlined the session. It was a challenging session. It consisted of 4 loops with 1 minute recovery between them. According to my Garmin the total distance was 6 miles with a total ascent of 74m. I don’t think I attacked the hills the way I was supposed to. In fact some times I thought I would be quicker walking up the hills and a couple of times I thought I was running on the spot! But I felt good that I was able to keep going and complete the session.

However I was really tired on Sunday morning and really struggled to do the scheduled long run. In the end I only managed about 5 miles and had to walk some of it. It didn’t help that it was raining and that I had decided to run early morning but I think it was mainly due to the effects of the hill session.

So I will need to see how this schedule goes. I may need to revise it if it turns out to be too ambitious and include more rest days if necessary.

But one way or another I’ll be ready for that half marathon!