Peterhead half didn’t really go well from the beginning. Standing on the start line in the freezing cold, I made the snap decision to run to the Run 4 It tent and give my running jacket over for safe keeping. I couldn’t help worry that I would regret that, but I knew the forecast was for it to get warmer. It sure did! It was warm and hilly and I guess my head was not in the race properly. It was my first half marathon in a couple of months, so confidence was quite low. I really don’t mind running in the heat. In fact, I probably prefer it. It was quite a long time though to the first water station, and I was already pretty thirsty when I got to it. Taking on water at each water station never really felt like it was making much of a difference. I came in on the last mile with sore legs, tired, thirsty and generally fed up.
Standing on the start line of Stonehaven half, I was quite worried it would go as badly as the previous week. I therefore took extra provisions for water, over and above what was on route. I took a belt with a couple of small bottles and had a hand-held bottle waiting for me at the Fetchpoint (loud, colourful, friendly group of folks dishing out water sprays and jellybabies) at 6 miles in, which I just kept topped up at future water stations. The first four mile in this race is very tough and nearly all uphill. This does nothing for your confidence when you are already unsure of the run, but I carried on with the support of my running friend Shona and I found my legs at mile 4. The rest of the race felt reasonably comfortable. I kept a slow pace though, running with Shona the whole time. With 1 mile to go, Shona finally decided on a time she wanted to try to make, so we picked up the pace and had the quickest mile of the day, finishing 10 seconds behind Shona.
Next was a Tuesday evening race in the torrential rain. It was only a 5k, so I dragged myself along to the start line. Not expecting much from the evening, I decided to give it a go and see if I could get near my current parkrun times of 26-27 minutes. I ran the first mile hard and saw and 8:10 mile, the second mile felt a lot tougher but was only 10 seconds or so slower. As I felt my legs tiring and ready to give up and bring it to a slow jog, Naomi passed me. I focussed on trying to keep up with her and I picked up the pace and finished with another 8:10 mile. A very hard run 5k, so was pleased with my time.
Finally, at the start line of the 3rd half marathon in three weeks. Still not completely confident, the goal of today was simply to finish feeling reasonably good. Shona, who had also ran the previous two half marathons would run with me again. The first two miles of this race were great, through trails in a woods. This is followed by two miles of steady downhill running. Bliss! Following about the 5 mile mark, still feeling comfortable, I could start to feel my legs tiring. From here to about 9 miles, it’s just about keeping going and not letting the little voice in my head tell me to stop. Instead, I listened to the little voice at my side tell me to keep going. We got to the dual carriageway section, which is a long boring slog uphill. Fourth time doing this race and the first time I have ran this whole section. The final mile was as usual very tough. For some reason, the wind is always in your face at this point and a slight incline makes it feel much harder than it looks. A thin and bouncy bridge and a grass finish mean you just need to grit your teeth and push on through the finish line.
Three halves in as many weeks was quite tough going, but gave me the motivation to push and work hard. Each race was slightly easier than the last, and although I am a long way off what I can actually run I am enjoying seeing progress again. Having a wee break now and heading to the Provence area in France. Hopefully will manage some exercise while away. Next races when I return are the Dyce half Marathon and BRG both in August.