Great Scottish Run half marathon

Last Sunday (4th October) was a great day.

Mandy and I headed over to Glasgow the night before the Great Scottish Run 10k and half marathon. Mandy was running the 10k and I was down for the half. If you read my previous blog, you will know that the past 2 weeks haven't been the best prep for the race. 

The last time I ran the Great Scottish half marathon was 2 years ago. I missed it last year as I was running the Amsterdam marathon 2 weeks later and didn't want to risk injury. I loved the race 2 years ago and was hoping Sunday wasn't going to be any different. 

After a good night's sleep Mandy and I headed up to George square to meet with my sister in law and her husband. Mandy's race started earlier than the half so we watched her set off. I then went and grabbed a very nice cuppa coffee with Marion and Denis. It was soon time for me to go and get a warm up done while Marion and Denis headed to Glasgow Green to watch the 10k finishers.

Pre-race photo with Mandy'

I met up with a fellow Edinburgh AC runner, Callum, and we headed around the streets to get a couple of miles warmup in. It was a really nice morning and running around the streets in my new ashmei softshell jacket and Callum all kitted out in Asics, we did get a couple of looks from others as if to say, they look fast or that's how it felt. That mentally gave us both a boost. We were chatting about the race and were totally up for a good event.

With 15 minutes to go we made our way in to the starting pens. We both qualified for 'fast-paced' runner entries which puts us right behind the 'elite' entries. People who get their name on their bibs rather than just a race number. A couple of Edinburgh AC runners were in the 'elite' pen and we managed to wish them a good race.  In the 'fast-paced' pen there were probably another 6 Edinburgh AC faces. We all gathered together, wished each other good luck and, before we knew it, we were off and racing.

The first mile is straight uphill, up St Vincent street. I like this because it prevents you from going off too fast and gives you time to get in to a nice pace.

The miles clicked by and I was feeling good. I had a bit of a wobble at mile 4 for some reason. Felt heavy legged and struggling with my pace.

I eased off a bit, gathered my thoughts, gave myself a shake and pushed on. Still have no idea of the cause for the wobble but I wasn't going to let it ruin my race.

The roads are really wide and not once did I feel I was closed in or unable to run my own pace. The staggered start really works well, giving each pen get a good clear run off the course.

Mile 6 and I knew there was a hill in Pollok Park, I didn't fight the hill, I just relaxed and got to the top and thought, that wasn't as bad as I had expected. I soon found out why. That hill wasn't the hill I had seen on the course profile. Mile 7 was the hill but interestingly, according to my watch, mile 7 was faster than mile 6. I guess the downhill helped me bring the pace back on track.

I hadn't really been looking at my watch very much, I was running to how I felt for much for the race. If it felt too easy, push harder, if my breathing was getting a bit shallow, ease off.

At mile 8 I thought it was time to really go for it. There were a group of runners around me and I could see runners evenly spread out in front of me, the aim was to catch each one of them over the remaining 5 miles.

I picked up the pace and went for them. Catching and passing others with ease, I felt amazing. Again I wasn't looking at my watch, just upping the effort level and focussing on catching the next runner.

Mile 11 another runner came with me as I passed him and he asked if I was going sub 80. I said I was hoping to and he suggested we went for it together. A nice gesture and I did try and go with him but out of nowhere he pushed hard and I didn't have it in me to go with him. I later found out he just missed sub 80 by about 12 seconds.

Final mile

The final mile was tough, legs burning, breathing hard, I kept chasing down other people in front of me and when I crossed the line I had nothing left.

I was aiming for a PB but missed it, maybe kept too much in the tank in the first half of the race, who knows. Was I gutted not to get sub 80? Surprisingly not! I loved the race, the crowds were fantastic, the course is great and I'm already planning on doing it again next year.

The days after the race I was back out running. I obviously didn't give it my all though, no DOMS and I was able to put in a hard effort at training on Tuesday. It does mean I've been able to get back out running sooner though and now the focus is on cross country season which kicks off tomorrow down in Peebles.

Finished in 1:20:36 with a position of 120th / 9202


Owain Williams

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