Race report: Barry Buddon half marathon

Sunday 30th August, Barry Buddon half marathon. 

The second year for this race and the first time that I have ran it. 

Barry Buddon is a MOD rifle range and training area near Carnoustie, just north of Dundee. The base was used during the 2014 Commonwealth games for all shooting disciplines. 

I had high hopes for this race, it is as flat a race as is probably possible for 13.1 miles. Running around the base on closed roads so no need to worry about traffic. 

The plan was to take my tempo training of running 6 minutes per mile and hopefully knock out a sub 1:19 time. 

It was a 12pm start time so Mandy and I left at 9 and picked up Nicholas and Bryan on route. The chat was great on the way up the road, not chatting about the race much but just having a nice relaxed drive. 

We arrived in plenty of time and met up with other Edinburgh AC runners and supporters. We had to pre-enter teams before the race start and after a bit of discussion, we put 3 teams in. 2 mens teams and 1 female team. 

I was going to be first counter for the second team while Bryan and Nicholas were counters for the first team along with Leon, another Edinburgh AC athlete. 

After a quick warm up it was time to get to the start line. 

The race

The plan was to run 6's so when the hooter went to start I kept my eye on my watch, making sure I didn't go off too quickly and for the first 5 miles I was floating around where I wanted to be but I was really aware of the heat. It felt super warm and although I had taken on some water at 3.5 miles, I was struggling. My legs felt fine but I just didn't feel relaxed. I tried to settle down but then heading around a slight bend, the wind was right in my face. It was time to conserve some energy so I sheltered behind another runner in front of me and I think this is where things started to go wrong.

I sheltered but felt the pace was too slow so surged to catch the next guy ahead. Sat there for a bit then I spotted another guy that we were catching, I broke from the pack and surged again and caught him but instead of just sitting here and remembering there was still 6 miles to go, I surged again and caught up with a cyclist and thought I'd shelter behind him for a bit. He didn't like this idea and sped up leaving me exposed to the wind. 

I keep on making these mistakes, getting shelter, feel it's too slow and so push on. These surges could be what started the ball rolling for a stitch! 

We then had 2 out and back sections, around a couple of turning points which were annoying but I knew about them before starting the race but it did feel like they just zapped any pace out of my legs. 

We also got a closer view of the 2 lighthouses on the course, all I'll say about them is, they could do with a lick of paint! They have seen better days! 

Mile 8 the wind was on our back again and so I wanted to get the pace back to something I was happy with but by mile 10, the stitch was starting to kick in and so it was time to drop the pace and it was now just survival to get home. 

The small group I'd been running with since mile 7 were still around me. I ran in the group for another two miles but by the 12 mile marker, they were pulling away from me and I felt empty, nothing left to give and so just made sure I didn't drop any positions. 

Splits were: 

  1. 6:06
  2. 5:55
  3. 6:01
  4. 6:06
  5. 6:04
  6. 6:16
  7. 6:22
  8. 6:09
  9. 6:11
  10. 6:20
  11. 6:26
  12. 6:30
  13. 6:36

I finished in 1:23.01, I didn't even have the energy for a sprint finish to get sub 1:23! 

To say I was disappointed with my performance is an understatement. I couldn't find a single positive thing to say about my race afterwards.

Post race analysis

Now that I have had time to think about the race, I have a better idea about what went wrong and have some positive from the race. 

First positive thing was, all 3 teams that we entered got a prize. The male teams managed 1st and 3rd place and so I got a couple of bottles of beer to help the pain. 

The second positive was I finished 18th / 286, which isn't too bad! 

What went wrong is simple, I didn't have the endurance for the distance. This came as a surprise to me but then after a chat with others from the club and my coach, I checked my training diary on Strava and realised I've not done a long Sunday run in about 6 weeks! I've no idea how I have managed to let that slip. I'm kicking myself for letting that happen.

What now?

Glasgow Half marathon is the next target race and I've got some major training to get in between then and now. I think I can squeeze in 4 long runs before Glasgow, I'm not sure if that is going to be enough to help but I have to give it a try. 

My training will consist of 3 key sessions, Tuesday on the track, tempo session on a Thursday and a long run on a Sunday. Any days between will be running in to work and back home which should get me high 60s, low 70 miles a week. 

1:18 might not be possible this year but I really want to get sub 1:20 if nothing else! This has been a wake up call and just as well I did run Barry Buddon otherwise I could have entered Glasgow totally under prepared. I might not be on top form but at least I should be in better shape for Glasgow. 

Thanks to everyone who has offered me advice since yesterday, sorry to Nicholas and Bryan for having to put up with me on the drive back to Edinburgh but my biggest apology and thanks has to go to Mandy, she puts up with some amount of rubbish from me! I'm not the best person to be around when I don't get what I think I'm capable of!

She got her own back though - I fell asleep in the sun in our flat, on the floor, it was really comfy. This photo was quickly posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!


Owain Williams

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