I know it’s only a couple of weeks since Peterhead half, but I was overcome by a crazy notion that it would be a fantastic idea to do another half so soon after. I can’t even blame alcohol for such a decision as I was stone cold sober when I pressed the ‘enter’ button!
So Sunday came and it was an early start. Picked up my partner in crime, Kirsteen at 7am and we headed down the road. I am known for not being the best navigator in the world, but thankfully I can manage to find Camperdown Park!
The roads were pretty quiet so we made pretty good time so we drove down some pretty muddy tracks before being guided to park on the grass. First up was the obligatory toilet stop. Thankfully the queue wasn’t very long. Next up we collected our numbers then headed back to the car to get ourselves ready.
With numbers on there was the pre-race selfie:
We went back towards the start and tried to get some food down before the off, and we caught up with other friends who were also running, including Shona who was running her 3rd half in 3 weeks!
Before too much longer we were being lined up in order of projected finish time (both the marathon and half marathon started at the same time, but had different finish points). I was somewhat disturbed to find that Olaf from Frozen was in the line up for the half. Yup folks, it looked like I was going to be beaten by a snowman!
When we were off it took me ages to get warmed up. The first few miles are upwards on trails which were pretty muddy due to the amount of rain which had fallen over the previous week. I was pretty soon on my own having to walk / run up the trails as I just couldn’t get into my stride or my breath. This meant that the tail biker (John) caught me up pretty quickly. This was actually okay. He picked up the mile markers and kept me going with some good chat.
Once we got out onto roads, there was some very welcome downhill sections. Here I managed to pick up some speed and was having a good time, running away and grinning like an idiot. I hate before the start of a race, but once I get going I do love it.
I was not doing too badly, although again it was warm (I’d put on sun block this time), so I was struggling a bit with the heat, so I just took my time and plodded on as much as possible. We passed some lovely views:
I was just enjoying myself and was glad that there was some lovely scenery. For me these were hidden gems. I had no idea these places existed.
I started getting a bit tired at the half way point, which always happens. I’d actually figured out a fueling strategy, and it seemed to be working. By this time I was catching up with the folks in front of me. I passed half way and soon caught up with the lady who was in front of me.
When I did get up beside her I noticed she wasn’t doing very well and she was crying. I asked if she was okay and she said no. It was from that moment on I knew what I had to do. I calmed her down and got her breathing sorted out, as I know from experience you can’t run and cry at the same time. I wasn’t going to manage a PB, so I thought I could go one better. I told her that I’d be with her every step of the way and she WOULD finish 🙂
So on we went. Jogging when we could and walking when we needed to. The miles ticked away. There was lots of chat. Turned out that she’d only started running this year and has had trouble with plantar fasciitis, so she hadn’t been able to get as much training done as she wanted to.
Still we just plodded on with John still with us on the tail bike. I did complain that although there were some lovely down sections, there were also still quite a few up sections. I’d been led to believe that it was mostly flat or down, which is a complete lie. It was however fine. Having company did mean that the miles passed quicker.
When we got to the last water stop around mile 11, we had to say goodbye to John and we had another escort to the finish. I knew it wasn’t far away and for the last part you go over the railway bridge, which is really steep, and then along beside the beach. Here the wind picked up and it was quite difficult to run against the wind now that we were tired.
I saw a familiar figure coming towards me. Kirsteen was heading back to see if she could find me. I introduced her to my new found running buddy (Lynn) and we set about pressing on to the finish.
We saw a load of swans in the sea in a fairly sheltered area which was really unusual:
It wasn’t long before the finish line was in sight. Just before the finish you have to move on to uneven ground which is compacted sand / grass and really difficult to run on. We picked our way along there and when we were close to the finish I took hold of Lynn’s hand and we ran through the finish together.
She’d done it. I’d done it again! She was delighted, and I think she cried again. I was so chuffed as my friends had waited for us and we got a massive cheer coming over the line. My time was 3:24:34, which up until this year would have been a PB for me, so I was pretty happy and I’d done something far more important.
Thankfully there was a bus waiting to take us back to the start, so as soon as we had picked up our goody bag and medal, we headed for the bus and back to Camperdown Park.
Getting off the bus wasn’t easy. There was not much hanging around as we decided to go get some food before heading back up the road, so we wandered back to our cars. I had to laugh when I saw the state of my car. It looked like I had been rallying! There was so much mud in the wheel arches it actually looked like the car had done a poop!
We all headed out to the Brewers Fayre close to Monifieth and grabbed a bite to eat before heading up the road. I’m a touch embarrassed to admit that on the way back I ended up taking the coast road most of the way because I couldn’t find the A90! D’oh, told you I wasn’t good at navigating. Still we got back in one piece and then I was able to take my melfie (medal selfie):
Suffered somewhat from DOMS on Monday and a gentle run with Hazlehead jogscotland did nothing to help, so I resorted to my foam roller. Tuesday was better, and thankfully today was fine and my jogscotland run felt much easier.
This weeks long run calls for a 10 miler and I’m hoping to do all of this on the Hazlehead and Countesswells trails with Ann 🙂 and hopefully get some great pictures 🙂
Next week it’s up to 16 miles – I’m scared already!