I've never liked this raced. Partly becuase it's a big race with big crowds but mostly because of 2 bad experiences there. I had planned to drive to Linlithgow and go by train to Glasgow, a journey I successfully made last year. However, my good friend Julie had a last minute entry and Pete was going to drive us instead which, despite being grateful for, stressed me big time. The night before I got a message to say that rather than collect me at 7.30am it would be 7.45am. By the time they arrived at almost 8am I was having palpitations. No matter, I had done all I could do - number on vest, chip on ankle, favourite shorts and socks on, spare clothes in bag, food in bag, etc. etc.
After finally getting parked we were desperate for the loo so headed off to George Square just as the 10k was starting. Great, no queue for the portaloos!! We watched the various waves start and headed back to the car for some last-minute organisation. I opted for vest only no t-shirt despite the chill and no hat as it looked fair.
We warmed up briefly before getting herded into our pens. Although we were likely to be running different times, I suggested we wanted to head nearer the front of the pen to get a clear run up the road. Unfortunately the pen was already stuffed so we shuffled in about halfway.
As the rain started falling we were off (maybe I should have kept the cap....) First the wheelchair racers, the white wave, the blue wave then us, the green wave. Being in the middle of the pen was a tragic mistake as the majority of people ahead were either walking by the end of the first mile, or had grossly underestimated their finishing time (okay so it was the fat blokes and the larger ladies and getting past them was no easy task.....)
I was shocked and panicking when my Garmin told me the first mile took 9.23, a minute slower than my planned race pace. I never seen the attraction of running over the Kingston Bridge but for some reason it's a highlight of this race but shortly after getting over it the field spread out a bit and I was able to pick up the pace a bit. Not too much tho, don't want to burn out too early like last year!
I reached the 3 mile mark in about 26mins. Good. I was picking people off with every step and feeling good. 6 miles in 52mins meant I was keeping a good steady pace. I was feeling sluggish around 8-9 miles so popped a dextrose tablet in my mouth. The bloody thing wouldn't dissolve tho and it was like sucking on sandpaper. An unofficial water station saved me and I greedily gulped a cup of water to wash it down. I reached 10 miles around 1.25. Brilliant, 6 mins off my PB, I'm going well. Unfortunately after 10 miles I got a stitch. I had felt it a few miles before but it went away. This time it wasn't going anywhere and I had to stop and walk. Damn! That's my race finished I thought. I'd just caught up with and passed Debbie and now she was going by again but the stitch wasn't for shifting. I started running again to see how it felt and if I ran in a strange crouched over kinda way, it didn't feel too bad. And then a couple of minutes later it was gone. I suspected it could have been the cup of water so at the next water station despite feeling deperate for a drink, I thought better of it.
I finally got to Glasgow Green, around 12 miles - nearly there. This is the cruel deceptive part of the race where you think you're finished because you're in the park. Luckily previous experience has reminded me that there's still over a mile to go and as I passed Debbie again I knew I was definitely on for under 2 hours. If I can just keep the momentum up for the last mile then I might even make 1.55. I saw Donald and waved, then Pete and Oliver and from nowhere the finish was ahead. I picked up my pace and ran as fast as my wee legs could take me, seeing that the clock had just gone past 1.52 and I could get 1.53 if I shift it. Wee sprint to the finish and hurray, I've faced up to the race that's haunted me for 9 years and well and truly kicked its ass.
Great Scottish Run Half Marathon - official time 1:53:21 - oh yeah.......