Sunday morning a little before 11 and I was lined up at the very front line of the “White number” section of the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon. The other side of a piece of cord was the “Faster Club Runners” section, and in front of that the Elite section, Haile and friends… The biggest race I’ve lined up at for a while, ten thousand rather than a few hundred.
I wore an old T-Shirt over my club vest on the journey over - my race shirt from the 2006 edition of the race. It was my first race of any distance, apparently in 1:35, and I had no idea what I was doing. I had trained a bit, but had no idea how I would stack up next to others, no idea that I had some little bit of natural talent and the majority of the field of a big race is really rather slow. Accordingly I had a frustrating time ducking and weaving as I made my way through the field.
This time was quite different, I knew where to place myself, however as I started behind the Faster Club Runners I knew I was further back than I should be. We funnelled through to the start line and were off, straight into the hill of St Vincent Street. Immediately I found myself 10-20s/km too slow, and had to make my way past the slower Faster Club Runners, being a faster non-Faster Club Runner club runner myself.
I continued to drift consistently forward as we climbed the Kingston bridge, where I caught up with Dean who I knew from Thursday training sessions. We weren’t particularly running together, but it turned out as we turned into Pollock Park that we were both running at a very similar pace, gradually drifting past people who had started too fast (as so many always do), and back and forth sitting just behind on the shoulder. That and Andrew ahead of me got me around at a decent pace.
The race headline would be the hill & bridges at the start, but it was Pollock Park I found challenging, constant little undulations which just made keeping a decent pace hard work.
I didn’t really “feel it” for this race, I seemed to be OK to hold a decent pace but it felt like hard work throughout. The course is nice enough to my mind, the alternation of bridges with city streets, parkland, street, parkland, street… But at the time I was also thinking, winding around inside Bellahouston Park, this is silly.
As I hit 15k I made a definite decision to push on, to push the pace and keep passing people. I didn’t really feel like I was on peak form, didn’t feel like I was finishing strong and chasing people down, but as always there are countless runners falling off pace and even to run evenly there’s a necessity to keep passing.
Decent as I felt at 15k, the last couple of miles was a strain. To be honest I was counting down miles from 5-6 miles in, but as I hit 3, 2 to go I was just looking forward to stopping. Mentally 1 mile to go is of course better, and it helped coming around the corner where I recalled spectating at the Commonwealth Games marathon. All the same I was starting to give up hope of catching the group in front of me until I was cheered by familiar faces, first Owain and Mandy and then Colin. Fair enough, I have a club vest on, best put in a proper effort and keep chasing.
Around the corner and a decent sprint finish and it was done.
5k 00:18:57 / 10k 00:37:34 / 15k 00:56:05
18:57 / 18:37 / 18:31 / ~18:05 equiv