Inverness half marathon 2007

After last year’s debacle when we let Alasdair drive (and he completely failed to get us to Inverness) I reckoned there was nothing for it but to drive myself this year. This proved to be the right decision as we sailed up the road (collecting IanĀ  Beattie en-route) with no trouble at all. ;D

Once we got to Inverness we met up with Colin and Sonia (Colin looking jumpy and excited, Sonia looking a tad nervous). Once again, the organisation was great. Parking was a bit trickier as they’ve upped the entry to around 1600 but arriving at about 11:40 (for a 1:00pm kick off) didn’t present any real problems.

I was rather dreading this run what with a gross lack of preparedness and a dodgy foot (plantar fasciitis) but it’s a nice run up the A9 to Inverness and I resolved that if the pain became too bad, I either retire or just jog round as best as possible.

The weather forecast wasn’t too great but Inverness has a weather system all of its own so I wasn’t too worried about the reports of lots of rain. As it was we had a pleasant drive up with only a bit of low cloud/fine drizzle on the higher stretches. Once we started to descend towards Inverness the skies cleared mostly and the rain stopped.

After the usual nervous visits to the loo and a brief warm up we headed for the start line at about 12:45. Rather than a starting pistol the army were there with a ruddy great field gun which made a suitably impressive bang.

The first mile heads downstream (and slightly downhill) and I’ve been caught out before setting off too fast so I consciously eased back and let the crowds surge past. The “crowd” included all the other tortoises (with the exception of Sonia) but I was hopeful of catching one or two of them up again later.

At around the first mile mark (where we cross the river), I caught up with Adrian Stott (manager of Run & Become in Edinburgh and keen ultra runner). Like me, coming back for far too little training and too many injuries so we were well matched. It was he who sent me a pair of technical leggings that I “won” in a free prize draw that he’d held at the Loch Ness marathon last year so it gave me a chance to enquire if the draw really was random (he assured me it was) and to thank him for a very timely prize as they’d been great on my Way Highland West run.

Whilst my foot was a bit sore, it wasn’t bad enough to slow me down too much and I swapped places several times with him but ultimately at around the 9 mile mark, my serious lack of decent mileage caused me to start fading. I had managed to catch (and pass) both Alasdair and George but I couldn’t hold Alasdair off for more than a couple of miles before he passed me again.

I’d strenuously avoided looking at my watch the whole way (although I was logging 2 mile splits) but at the 12 mile mark my watch didn’t beep when I pressed the button and I glanced down to make sure I was pressing the button correctly. It said 1:31.14 and I realised that a sub 1:40 would be possible if I picked up the pace. After not caring about my time the whole race through, I became obsessed with hitting a target and found enough energy to pass a heap of folk in the last mile. George, who had been through a rough patch, sailed past me at around 12.5 miles and there was nothing I could do to keep up.

In the end I scraped in under the 1:40 (1:39:34). Not my best 1/2 marathon by any means but not my worst either. The foot was SORE afterwards but today it’s probably slightly better than it was after our club 5K on Tuesday. If I’m honest though, it wasn’t really the pain slowing me down, just lack of fitness.

Ian Beattie ran an excellent 1:24:45, Colin an equally excellent 1:31:53 PB.

Alasdair, George and myself were, I think, happy enough with out times (“as good as could be expected”) and Sonia ran an excellent 2:11:46 (beating my first half-marathon time by 3 minutes).

All in all, a great day out.,

My splits show my fading after 8/9 miles.

2 miles 14:34
4 miles 15:04 (uphill stretch)
6 miles 14:55
8 miles 14:48
10 miles 15:25 (going pear shaped)
12 miles 16:24 (gone very pear shaped)
13.1 miles 8:30 (only slightly less pear shaped)

Tim

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