I decided shortly after entries closed that I did actually want to enter the Crathes Half Marathon. Of course I did! Thankfully, the internet helped and I had my place to run. Apologies for the lack of photographs in this post, unfortunately I took zero.
After the trouble I had parking at the 2012 event, despite arriving early, I agreed to Rachel’s “great idea” of cycling there and back. “Of course” I said, “how far is it?” “Oh, not far” was about the response I got. So, at 9am I met Rachel and her long suffering significant other and we headed out for our nineteen mile trip to the start line, despite trying every tactic to make Rachel change her mind about the whole thing (from blatent “I’m not doing it” to “I’m not sure about this” and “how can we carry everything that we need?”)
As it was going to be a long day, I ensured that I had plenty of gear with me. Two full bottles of High Five (different flavours) on the bike and the Camelbak bladder full of a third. I would save this for the run though. As it was cold, I made sure I had a hoodie tied around my waist too as we would have a bit of a wait at the startline.
The first few miles were spent doubting whether or not I should be cycling out. It was cold, it was reasonably early, the wind was in our faces (always) and I had a half Marathon to run. It was only once I hit the half way point that I stopped wondering if I should turn around and drive to the start. The miles ticked by fairly quickly after this. Unfortunately, my companions were on road bikes and were far faster than me on my hybrid on the uphill sections, but we had plenty of time so basically they would get ahead for a bit then we would all group together again shortly. The excitement grew as we arrived onto the roads which were marked out as part of the race. We arrive at Crathes with loads of time to go and surprisingly fresh legs, locked the bikes to a tree and went to register.
Rachel and I having a similar goal of roughly over the two hours joined the start line in roughly the middle of the pack. As we set up, I had this horrible feeling of dread – oh no, this will be tough. The start was up a gentle climb, but quite slow due to the number of people around. At the end of the first mile, we seemed to either be on a gently down or just on the flat. Either way, we were running too fast and ran an 8:40 mile. I was feeling a bit of pain in my lower left leg. Tight in the calf and sore in the shin area. I told Rachel to carry on as she was running a good race. I pressed, rubbed and stretched the muscles in my lower leg and started a slow job forward again.
The next few mile would be similar. Run for a bit, stop and stretch and then get going again. This gave Suzy (who was running her first ever half Marathon) and our other friend Susan the chance to catch and pass me. As I got running again, I decided to stay with them as I reckoned I would need the support. At about mile 5, this weird problem seemed to ease off and let me get going. For the rest of the race I averaged around 10 minute miles, but unfortunately, I still finished this race with a personal worst results for the second year running (last year it was very hot out there). Still, I’ll have no issues with trying again as it is a really nice race. Great scenery at a time of the year when all of the fields are a nice golden colour, friendly race and great freebies (good quality t-shirt, great custom medals, drinking bottle).
Oh lovely… not I have to cycle home. After a bit of a snack and a rest, I would stick on the dry race T-Shirt that I got and dumped some stuff in a friend’s car. Cycling back out the road, we came across one of the water stations still stocked up. As there were loads of open bottles which would have to be wasted anyway, I took advantage and filled up the bottles on my bike. I stopped at refilling my Camelbak as being overkill!
After 38 miles of cycling and 13.1 miles of running, I thought brill… I can eat whatever I want tonight. After all, I had only had a few small snacks spread out through the course of the day. I had visions of a huge chinese meal with all of my favourites, some Krispy Kreme doughnuts that I had brought back from London and munching on sweets in front of the TV. Ha – guess what. I wasn’t hungry. I had a pancake that night and headed for an early night. Unfair!
Position: 417th (out of 519)
Gun Time: 02:15:30
Chip Time: 02:14:59