Today was the Buchlyvie Half Marathon.
My half marathon PB at 10:59 this morning was 1:32:44
I entered this race about a month ago and it's probably the first time since I started running in 2007 that I've put together a specific training plan with an aim of getting a specific target at a race. Sure in the past I've trained for races and achieved my goal but looking back now I think a lot of that was down to a combination of luck and setting targets that were too easy.
In training for this half marathon it is the first time I've undertaken specific hills sessions with the aim of building strength in my legs (even though this race was 'pan flat') The other significant change I made to my training for this was to run a section of my long run at, or close to, my target pace for the race. I really enjoyed these changes to my training as they broke up the somewhat monotonous act of 'just going for a run'.
So anyway, all this extra (or should it be different?) work had put me in a confident mood for this race. I arrived in Buchlyvie at around ten past ten this morning which was plenty of time for me to collect my number and make my final decision on what kit I was going to wear before the race set off at 11 o'clock. It was really pretty cold this morning and I finally settled on shorts, long sleeved base layer with my vest over the top. Turned out to be just about right.
The race set off bang on 11 o'clock and I quickly settled into a comfortable pace. The course was an out and back along an old railway line which was flat but the surface was really uneven in places. This wasn't too bad on the way out but on the return leg it was really tough going on the legs.
The field was quite small (only 110 finishers) and by around 4 miles everyone seemed to have settled into their little groups. I had no idea what race position I was in but I was quite happy as the group around me was keeping a decent pace. I actually had my Garmin set to show pace and lap times for this race so I had no idea of the total time elapsed. This was actually a mistake but as I seemed to be hitting the right times for each individual mile I decided to leave it. The fact that I was staying in the same group as well gave me an added indication that my pace was ok.
As we reached the turnaround point at halfway I heard the marshalls telling the girl in the group that she was the first female. It was good to hear that as I knew I must be in quite a high race position. As we were past half way and I was still feeling good I decided to pick it up a bit and managed to 'break clear' of the group. Somewhere between 8 and 9 miles I found my self all alone and would stay like that until the end of the race. I found this section of the race really tough and mile 12 was my slowest of the whole race at 6:57.
The finish to the race was interesting to say the least. We made our way back to the playing field at Buchlyvie Primary school where we had to make two laps of the playing field. Now this is November in Scotland so the playing field was absolutely sodden. It was honestly like running a cross country race! Those two laps felt like I was running through quicksand! I made it though and was absolutely delighted with the time I had managed.
My half marathon PB at 12:28 this afternoon was 1:27:41
These trainers were (comparatively) clean up until 12.5 miles!
So a massive PB by over 5 minutes and I managed to finish in 10th place overall. I think I've earned the cider that I'm enjoying as I write this!