Scenery and Sunburn

Sorry it has taken me a bit of time to get around to doing another blog.  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but hopefully I’ll be able to post more regularly now I’m back in marathon training.

This time I have been lucky in that I’m already up to half marathon fitness.  In fact I’ve managed to take around 30 minutes off my PB this year so far and who knows there may be more to come (although I’m not too fussed if I don’t).

I decided to enter Peterhead Half Marathon to keep up my fitness and so last Sunday I headed up to Peterhead in weather that can only be described as ‘persisting down’.  I do struggle in the warmer weather, so I was actually just a little relieved that it was damp, however I was not relishing the thought of getting soaked through to the skin, but I did take a full change of clothes just in case.  The one thing I didn’t pack and didn’t even think to pack was suncream!

Picked up a friend, Kirsteen nice and early and we got to Peterhead in plenty of time.  I’d been advised to park down by the Academy, so that’s what I did, only to find spaces still at Catto Park 😦  We both got registered and picked up our numbers then made the obligatory toilet visit.

Wasn't that happy, just grinning like an idiot for the camera.
Wasn’t that happy, just grinning like an idiot for the camera.

There were quite a few jogscotties from Hazlehead there, so had a bit of a catch up with them and then retreated indoors to sort out getting numbers on and figure out exactly what to run in, given the weather had been a little damp!

Hazlehead jogscotties
Hazlehead jogscotties

I just wasn’t feeling the love, but soon it was almost time to head off, so we left our bags in a friend’s car (thanks Graham and Stuart) and then headed to the start.  I’d decided to run in my jogscotland t-shirt and carry some small water bottles with High-5 tabs in them.

Soon we were off and we started with a lap of the running track then headed out and along the old Formartine and Buchan way.  By this time the rain had stopped and before a mile down the road it started heating up.  Oh dear, this was going to be a warm run after all.

Just after 2 miles I realised that I really should have made one last toilet stop before we set off, so I was in big trouble.  Luckily by this time, I was well behind everyone else and there was nobody around, so I darted behind a bush to answer the call of nature.

I just jogged along at my own pace and spent much of the time admiring the route.  Really scenic, which is just as well, because it is a fairly undulating course.  Wasn’t really sure how I would get on, but I knew that I would not be on my own all the way as I’d managed to find out at the start that there would be sweepers so not such a lonely run after all.

All the marshals were really friendly, and to be honest I was doing just fine.  Really enjoying myself, which is unusual.  I don’t tend to like hot weather or undulating courses.  I saw my first ever mole (unfortunately for the mole it was deceased) and then just after half way spent some time watching a buzzard as it flew around.  I did wonder if it thought I might be its next meal.

The route takes you out into the countryside and then back through St Fergus, so it was here I met my escorts for the rest of the way, Karen and Wilson.  Stopped at the water stop and they had orange segments, sweets and cake which was very tasty.  I was really glad that I had my water too though.

Picture of the scenery.
Picture of the scenery.
Another scenic picture.
Another scenic picture.
A lovely bridge and some more scenery.
A lovely bridge and some more scenery.

There are several things you should not do on race day:

1.  Try new socks

2.  Try a new fueling strategy

So that’s just what I ended up doing.  What could go wrong?  Thankfully I seemed to be lucky with the fuel part, although I think I should have taken a little more with me, but again, it was a trial to see how I got on.

From mile 8 onwards it was getting tougher.  Thankfully the chat was really good, so the miles did pass, albeit a little slower than I was hoping.  I managed to drop one of my little water bottles, but one of the lovely marshals cycled back and found it for me and later on I started getting a little cramp in my calf, but thankfully I had some salts with me so that seemed to do the trick.

As we headed back towards the town there were some very dark clouds looming, so now my aim was to get back before the rain.  I was extremely relived with the stadium was in sight and soon I was running round the track to the finish.

Almost at the line.  Thanks to Kirsteen for the picture :)
Almost at the line. Thanks to Kirsteen for the picture 🙂
Karen and Wilson, the sweeper team, or my entourage as I like to call them.
Karen and Wilson, the sweeper team, or my entourage as I like to call them.
Elation :)  Thanks to Tony Jones for the photo :)
Elation 🙂 Thanks to Tony for the photo 🙂

Not my best time, but in any other year it would have given me a PB, so I was really happy with it.  Got a nice medal and fabby t-shirt and then to top it all, I won a bottle of Rose wine at the bottle stall 🙂 (although I wasn’t all that lucky but one of the ladies who had been marshaling took pity on me.)

We didn’t hang around too long as it was starting to rain again, so a quick trip to Morrisons for snacks and then we set off for home.

As for the new socks, well, my feet were in better shape than they normally are, but I still haven’t managed to ward off the blisters completely.  Still some work to do there.

It was only later on in the evening once I was home and showered that I realised I had somewhat of a glow, or to be more precise my face was bright red!  The lesson learned is that no matter what the weather is like, always apply sun cream before a race!

Hmm, now where did I put the aftersun?
Hmm, now where did I put the aftersun?

Got a 10 mile run planned for tomorrow, then I’m heading off to Dundee for the Half DRAM next weekend.  Looking forward to testing out some more strategies, but I’ll make sure I have my sun cream with me!

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