Saturday, 10 August 2013

Haddington Half 10/08/13

Incredible run from Nicola

What no dazzling sunshine and tropical heatwave? The warm air and a stiff breeze at times still made conditions testing but many found they ran better than when the sun is blasting and the tarmac sticks to their shoes.

Best use of a Saturday definitely goes to David L who cycled to Parkrun then cycled from Parkrun to Haddington. Well maybe not “best” but certainly fullest (spelt foolish?). And then running a pretty fine half marathon. By comparison I was a total woose putting my bike on the train at Waverley and cycling from Drem. There was another cyclist got off at Drem and when I saw his footwear (Asics) I tried not to get into a race across the hill 4 miles to Haddington. I say tried, but it was his fault. Arriving slightly moist I had loads of time to pick up my number and do a bit of a warm up.

Before and after. Thanks to Craig Wilson for these photos of me in the first minute and the last. Although not terribly apparent there is a huge difference in my reserves at these points. I was well done in!

I probably overdid the racing this week and felt wiped out on Thursday. Tuesday night was intervals at the Meadows (might as well call it 5 short races.) And Wednesday was NB Law. The results have just come out for that – I hadn't hung around because the vet prize was over40 only. I maybe should have as I was 2nd vet. (And first v50, though that didn't count.) Thursday I went for a recovery run and nearly called it quits at the end of the street. So I took Friday off running and hoped for good weather today and perhaps a sub1.20 if I got lucky. I thought my best here was nearly 1.21 but I see it might have been 1.20.29.

Great photos from Bob Marshall.
(There are some funny faces etc. as this was towards the end.) More here
Note new Hokas - Bondi B's for Tarmac. Massive and light cushioning.

I felt a bit out of sorts while warming up. I was trying a different strategy – not having a caffeine drink an hour before the race, but having a caffeine gel 20 mins before. This in the hope I would start moderately and the gel would kick in and fuel the second half when I needed it. I can't report any great difference – I still hared off with a crew out my league and found everything from 7 miles onward a sweaty struggle.

I know this route so well I can anticipate problems and try to avoid them – like taking on too much water at the last station on the downhill just before the corner where years ago I turned water into steam which came out my ears while my stomach did handstands and I had several moments turmoil before things settled again.

Steve - new to PRC sanded off his nipples.

So I started (almost against my will) pretty fast and enjoyed the first few miles well under 6min miling. Nicola appeared around the fourth mile on the tail of Callum Reid. I upped the pace then quickly throttled back as she was evidently on fire today and the 2 of them sped off. One asks questions of oneself at such points: have I started too fast and am I burnt out already today? Is today the first day of being officially over the hill? Should I just throw in the towel now as a tiny girl has gone past as if she was riding a bicycle. It's best to understand that Nicola has a nuclear reactor somewhere onboard and is quite some runner. Also I am about 20 years older. Furnish your own excuses boys because you're going to need them!

By mile 5 or 6 I was feeling a bit ragged and remembered with relief there is a long downhill section. It wasn't quite the feet-up-on-the-sofa experience I was hoping for, but it brought the average pace into line. At eight miles the watch ticked over 48mins exactly. Ok so far, although I was concerned all my longer training runs were done at ultra speed. (ie jogging pace.) All my recent tempo runs are under 10 miles. Earlier in the week I bought a new pair of Hokas – a present to myself for swapping the Tour of Fife for work. I hoped they were prepared to take up the slack. And they pretty much did. This was one of the few parts of today's plan that worked. A few folk overtook in the second half but none looked old. They stayed within visual contact and I enjoyed the tailwind on the long straights before the turn off for the last 2.5 miles. I passed through 10 miles under 61 minutes – a faster 10 than Aviemore where I did 1.20.03. However Aviemore is full of downhills in 2 of the last 3 miles. There is a nice downhill into Haddington but there was also a headwind on the parkside street that went on forever before turning into the park and running back along the same distance on grass and turning left into the funnel. 1.20.26. (3s course pb?)  Hmm perhaps if it hadn't been so windy...

Richard Meade was third and seemed to win a huge haul of awards including "nearest to 75minutes" to celebrate Henry M's recent birthday. (I think - I was a bit spaced out.)

And there was Nicola fresh as a daisy having run 1.16! So impressive. Often that would win a half marathon. There were five quality runners ahead of her but she was definitely the champ today. She had (like myself) been feeling a bit ropey before the race so wasn't expecting such a step up from her previous – somewhere around 1.21. And Haddington isn't even a super quick course.

I was feeling old and knackered and ducked off to the changing room to get a shower. I was not in the best of moods. Then one of the officials comes in to ask would I prefer the v50 prize or the v40 since I had beaten everyone in both categories. This cheered me right up! Third time this year I have won v40 which they decided I should have, in line with the East half marathon masters(over 35) bronze medal. So I came home with 3 medals (they gave me a big shiny one in a box for 1st vet) and there was one for attendance. And a bag containing a rather nice Ron Hill top and a bottle carrier waist band. Thankfully the other cycling dude must have left before prize-giving so I didn't have to race him back over the hill to Drem station.

Nothing cheers up a person like a prize! Photo: Helen Falconer, thanks!

Big thanks to HELP for all their hard work and tea and cakes afterwards. And results up same evening. Thumbs up!

Results here
Bob Marshall's photos here

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