My last race of the season, 2011 was the last time I ran this race, one of my favourites. My PB to beat was 1.45 or there abouts (without checking historic results). Although I intended to run this race, I left it till Tuesday before entering on line. That left me with a bit of a dilemma. How would I run this race, what strategy would I have and what pace to run. I Googlised a half marathon pace chart and was dismayed to find a steady 8 minute mile pace was required to get close to my PB.
Why dismayed? I'm not a fast runner, so Wednesday lunchtime I went out on my usual 3 mile route and tried to stick to 8 minute miling. After the run I checked the stats, I managed an average of 7.36 minutes per mile but was absolutely done in! The 8 per mile (or faster) required just didn't seem likely, particularly as my "training" has been a bit sporadic lately.
So, with a bottle of lucozade in one hand and smart phone in the other I found myself in Fraserburgh on a beautiful Sunday morning (this race always seems to hit good weather, despite being mid November) and unsure how to run it.
It's another great turn out, almost 300 runners line up for the start, then we are off. It's difficult getting my pace from the start, I need to get off the path to pass slower runners. The route takes runners into a housing scheme before heading into the countryside. This is mostly a flat course with a couple of small inclines, a mixture of road, trail and disused railway line.
Now, I'm afraid to say I was using two timing devices and I managed to mess them both up. A basic GPS watch and Map My Run on the smart phone. Unfortunately I forgot to stop both on crossing the finish line, not only that but something went wrong with the watch, I can't report my minutes per mile pace. I was determined to hold on to 8 per mile, even if negative thoughts crept in half way round and wanted me to slow down.
There's a motorised para glider high in the blue sky, a great vantage point for watching the race.
I'm slowly passed by a runner but they are breathing fast and heavy. I concentrate on striding out and breathing deep and slow, keeping up and eventually retaking the place.
I'm on the way back now, about 3 miles to go and struggling to keep up the pace. I'm not looking at my watch but would be really happy if I managed to get under 1 hour 40. Another runner slowly passes me before reaching the main road back into Fraseburgh but I have to let them go, I don't have the energy or breath to keep up.
Less than a mile to go now, I pass a couple of runners before turning into the park and see the finish line ahead. I give it all before seeing the large timing clock on the line, 1 hour 44. Och, I've missed my target but still get in under 1 hour 45, another PB (I think).
I collect my medal and bag of goodies, usually there's a nice spread of food and beverage after the race but unfortunately I can't hang around and head home, pretty content with the performance.
Thanks to Fraserburgh Running Club for organising another great half marathon, one of the best races out there and deservedly so.