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
Struggling In The Sun
by Russell Turner - 20:50 on 06 May 2020
My second virtual half marathon was supposed to take place this weekend. However, the forecast of wintry wind and rain didn’t appeal so I brought it forward to today. Maybe I should have stuck to Plan A.
I’d intended to get out early(ish). It didn’t happen. Early lethargy, plus faffing with a little-used hydration backpack filled with my first taste of Tailwind, meant it was 11am before I left The Rural Retreat. The sun shone from a cloudless sky, the temperature was around 14ºC – the hottest for a run this year by around 5ºC – and the wind was negligible: nice weather for a walk but more of a challenge for a sub-2hr HM attempt.
I knew I’d have to average 9:15 across the 13.1 miles so set off determined and covered the first three miles in 27:16, aiming for a consistent pace rather than the alternative of starting easy and finishing hard. Maybe I should have gone with Plan B.
Those three miles took me from Newhall Bridge to Newhall Point and back. From there I intended to run five miles up the Cromarty road and return to finish at the bridge. Easy.
I managed 3.5 (hitting 10k just a few seconds short of my PB, which shows how hard I was running) before turning around: although my pace was still consistent, so was the heat. I could repeat the first three miles, I told myself, but the closer I got to 10 miles the less confident I became, especially as much of the tenth mile was achieved by concentrating on reaching the next gap, and then the next one, between the white lines in the middle of the road.
After 10 miles in 1:31:32 – a PB – although I was still on 9:15 pace I had nothing left. Walking ensued, and two or three attempts to begin running again were abandoned after a few steps. I could have walked further and maybe trotted the final mile to finish the HM; there seemed no point. What the temperature was now I’ve no idea, but it beat me. Either that or lack of mental fortitude combined with the threat of a blister.
Such is life. I reckon if the temperature had been at the 9ºC average I’ve grown used to – or I’d set out at 9am – I’d have been within a whisker of sub-2hr glory. More lessons learned. Maybe next time.
I now have a 12-day running break before starting the 16-week Edinburgh Marathon training programme, although the odds of the race going ahead are low. That’s why I’ve signed up for a virtual marathon, route yet to be decided. The Cromarty road may or may not feature.
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