Adventures in Inverness (and a Half Marathon too!)

After Smokies 10m race last week, I knew I would be able to get round Inverness Half, I just didn’t quite know how good or bad it would be.

Saturday started with a stint at Hazlehead parkrun doing the timing.  Things went mostly well, but we still had people crossing the line then not wanting a time / not taking a finish token.  That really annoys me (but that’s another story entirely!)

Then it was time for a cuppa and brunch before heading home and doing a final check (ie unpacking and re-packing yet again) then I was off to the train station.

One I arrived in Inverness I found some friends (who had been on the same train) and then I wandered off to find my B&B.  Rain was forecast, and it did start to rain as I ventured towards my accommodation, which took about 15 to 20 minutes.  Lesson of the day:  check the scale on the map when you are looking to see how close together places are!

I settled in to my interesting room which contained a maroon bathroom suite with bidet and pink woodchip wallpaper.  It was actually very comfortable just a little dated looking.

I took the opportunity to actually sit and watch some athletics on the TV.  Hubby isn’t keen on any sport, so it can be difficult to watch at home, especially because I forget it’s on!

Then it was time for dinner.  Back into town and met friends and had a carb loaded dinner then headed back in the rain (again) for an early night.  The river had risen quite a bit and the river path was flooded, so I didn’t get a chance to wander along.

Had a good sleep but woke up at silly o’clock on Sunday morning (otherwise known as 05:50am).  Just dozed off until I could stay in bed no longer.  Got up and got all my race gear ready and then headed for breakfast.  Soon it was time to check out and head to race HQ which was Inverness Sports Centre.

As I was walking there, the sun was shining, although the river was the highest I’ve ever seen.

Flooded River Ness
Flooded River Ness

As the river was so flooded the 5k fun run had to be re-routed.  Didn’t get a picture of them, but the ducks seemed to be enjoying it.

Met more friends on my way to pick up my number and then lost them all shortly after!  Managed to get a locker to dump all my gear in (useful as I was heading straight from the race to the train home) and then hung round with the Metro Aberdeen contingent before heading down to the start.

Found some more friends and we lined up at the back and soon we were off.  The first couple of miles went quickly (it turned out too quickly!) but I was really enjoying myself.  There was a mixture of sunshine and showers and the wind was not nearly as bad as it had been the week before, so I just trotted along enjoying the scenery.  The first half of the route is the first half of the 10k route in reverse.  It was quite interesting seeing things from the opposite way.

As we turned off the Dores Road I saw 3 deer cross ahead of me.  Love it when that happens.  It’s great being so close to nature 🙂

I’d gone on ahead of friends, but by half way I was starting to tire.  Still I pushed on but my friends caught me around mile 7 or 8 I think.  I realised that the wheels were starting to come off here a bit, but all I had to do was keep going and do what I could.  Was getting more tired with every mile passed, but by mile 10 I knew I didn’t have that far to go and my 10 mile time was around 2 minutes faster than my Smokies time last week.

The last 3 miles were a bit of a blur.  Enjoyed a lovely downhill section before I got back onto Island Bank Road (between miles 10 and 11) which put some much needed wind back in my sails, however then it seemed like the longest couple of miles ever.  I pushed on, but by now it was more of a power walk / jog.  Was so happy to be on the riverside again, and over the bridge.  I still had some way to go though but I kept going.  Whatever happened now I was still on for a PB, so I just had to keep going.

Got an amazing about of support through the last couple of miles.  Got a shout out from Marie (who was 1st F40) and lots of other runners were encouraging me onwards.  The marshals were also fantastic and kept me going.  I’d started to get cramp twinges in my calf, but I’d been taking salts when I needed, so thought I would be okay.  Got onto the the track for the finish and then the cramp started.  At mile 13 I had cramp in my left calf, so it was a bit of a run / hobble to the finish.

I made it though 🙂

Peee Beee
Peee Beee

Official time was 03:18:53 which is a PB of just off 15 minutes, so I was one happy bunny.  Actually cried I was so pleased.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to hang around as I had to get the train home, so after hugging and congratulating lots of folks I headed for the quickest shower in history, got changed and started the long walk into town (it’s not that long, but after a HM it seemed very long!)

At this point I wasn’t feeling that well and I couldn’t face food, so once I eventually got to the station I rewarded myself with some chocolate milk.  Once on the train I started to feel much better so decided that I would congratulate myself a little.

Apologies legs, have some gin!
Apologies legs, have some gin!

Turns out that the walk to the station had done me good.  Although I was a bit stiff, I managed to walk round a bit.  Eventually got home and had a better look at the goody bag.

Goody bag swag and ace medal :)
Goody bag swag and ace medal 🙂

A day on, I’ve finally got around to uploading my run.  Splits are as follows:

1) 1m – 12:29(12:29/m) 96cal 2.15/2.61/hr
2) 1m – 13:13(13:13/m) 88cal 2.03/2.67/hr
3) 1m – 14:20(14:20/m) 83cal 1.87/2.36/hr
4) 1m – 14:34(14:34/m) 79cal 1.84/2.25/hr
5) 1m – 14:31(14:31/m) 84cal 1.85/2.51/hr
6) 1m – 14:24(14:24/m) 80cal 1.86/2.33/hr
7) 1m – 14:57(14:57/m) 80cal 1.79/2.37/hr
8) 1m – 15:28(15:28/m) 79cal 1.73/2.32/hr
9) 1m – 16:33(16:33/m) 79cal 1.62/2.11/hr
10) 1m – 14:34(14:34/m) 83cal 1.84/2.26/hr
11) 1m – 15:59(15:59/m) 84cal 1.68/2.44/hr
12) 1m – 16:17(16:17/m) 82cal 1.65/2.79/hr
13) 1m – 16:17(16:17/m) 80cal 1.65/2.2/hr
14) 0.32m – 5:16(16:44/m) 25cal 1.6/2.27/hr

There are however a number of school girl errors I made (shakes head) which were:

1.  Start off too quickly

2.  Try out a new fuel on race day

Still I’m pretty chuffed with how I did.  If I had have kept it a little slower at the start I reckon I could have knocked another few minutes off.

Looking forward to getting some proper training under my belt and if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can beat dreaded cramp, I’d love to hear them.

Happy running 🙂

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