Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Cromarty Half Marathon
by Russell Turner - 18:33 on 19 April 2020
Next Sunday should have been my first virtual half marathon (on London Marathon day as was and the day I should have run the Shakespeare HM) despite the training plan only calling for 12 miles. However, a sunny day, with what wind there was blowing from Cromarty for a change, meant it was too good an opportunity to miss, and new PB hopes overwhelmed today’s planned sensible steady 10-mile run.
The solo race began at Newhall Bridge with a one-mile return trip to Kirkmichael, then took me over the bridge and down the road to Cromarty, six miles away, a slight breeze off the firth in my face – no bad thing as the day was warm and my pace brisk: 9:41 for the first mile, gradually speeding up to 9:17 at Mile 6.
Many cyclists overtook me, and a few cars, but the only other runner out was Matchgirl, who waved to me from the other direction, coming home after setting out earlier because she wanted to run her own pace.
I passed the Cromarty town sign and turned halfway between there and the Royal Hotel at the end of the shore road, just over quarter of a mile away – a decision I’d regret later.
Heading home, with no wind in my face, I speeded up again, Miles 8, 9 and 10 whizzed by in 9:06, 07 and 11. It couldn’t last. At 10.8 miles the very slight rise into Jemimaville defeated me and I walked for a couple of minutes, then again at 11.8 miles. I was back at the bridge at 12.3 miles, which was when the distance I’d cut in Cromarty caught up with me. I knew I was going to beat my Inverness HM PB, even with a couple more brief walks, so there was no incentive to stay tough. What a wimp. I blame the lack of crowds and other runners. I’d also run a reasonably brisk five miles yesterday, which might have affected my performance. Any excuse.
Even so, I finished with a new half marathon PB of 2:04:24 – a few steps less walking and I could have cracked 2:04. The time for the first half, when I ran steady, was virtually the same as the second, when I ran faster and walked. There’s a lesson there.
Next week, now my training plan is in pieces, will be an easier one, although I still plan a second virtual half around May 10. A week later the Edinburgh Marathon plan begins, although, if the gloomy predictions by some runners that there’ll be no more races this year are borne out, that might be a waste of time. I’ll be optimistic.
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