In the run up to the end of 5x50, I foolishly suggested trying a 'half marathon' distance as the grand finale. I don't think I was all that serious but, once stated, it had to be done.
The plan was to park my car at Aberdour station (on the north side of the Firth of Forth, opposite Edinburgh), leaving there around 7am. From there, follow the coast to the Forth Bridges. Stop for photos then run over the Forth Road Bridge to South Queensferry, from where I would go towards the Dalmeny Estate, finishing up at Dalmeny railway station for the 09:30 train back to Aberdour and my waiting car.
Well, the start was delayed - I simply underestimated how long it would take to get to Aberdour. But parking at the station was free - good - and if I had an electric car, there were two charging bays where I could have plugged it in!
I set off about 07:20 and followed the Fife Coastal Path which skirts the town and passes by the golf course. A couple of miles later, I came across a ruined church that I hadn't previously known about.
The path then goes around Dalgety Bay - some nice houses there! A sign said 4 miles to Inverkeithing and I arrived there in less time than expected. Inverkeithing was always going to be the test. I haven't run much further than 10k, and that's the distance covered to Inverkeithing ... with another 11/12km still to go.
Well, the video blog will show that I had only a couple of niggles, and these had come and gone pretty quickly. Heading through the town, I was feeling good. I passed the scene of a "road traffic incident", which was a bit of a diversion for me. Maybe a bit more of a diversion than expected though - the path had been very well signposted up to that point but I think I must have missed an arrow. I would pick it up again quite soon though.
From the built up town, turn down a side road which heads up a STEEP hill. I confess to having walked up this, but I think that was OK. Into North Queensferry, and another diversion - a sign for the Coastal Path ... but it went back towards Inverkeithing, so I guess I must have arrived via an unofficial route
Now I'm under the Forth Bridge (the railway one) - a great place for a video clip, even if you could barely see the bridge for the mist. mmcinteractive.com/running/...
Out of Queensferry, the Road Bridge was only a few minutes away. Up onto the deck and into the mist.
This was what I had come for! It's a suspension bridge, and the centre of the deck is a lot higher than where it lands on either bank. I had expected the uphill half to be hard work but in reality it was absolutely fine. Likewise, the 'downhill' side didn't feel downhill. All too soon, I hit the southern landfall and South Queensferry. There's a beautiful little harbour which most tourists miss.
I popped down there for a video clip ... and the battery on my iPhone ran out. Surprised ... but I guess I had both Nike+ and Endomondo's GPS running for almost two hours. OK - so now I couldn't track the rest of the run. Fortunately, I had checked the Nike+ stats before doing the clip. 18.2km in 1hour 52 mins. A half marathon is, I think, 13.1 miles so some mental arithmetic said I had about 3km left to do. At the 6 mins/km pace I'd maintained for the last few miles, that made 18 mins left to run. If I played safe and did 20 mins, I shouldn't be undershooting the dstance.
Heading through Queensferry, proudly bearing my C25K 'graduate' T-shirt in case wilmacgh was looking for me ( couchto5k.healthunlocked.co... ) I came across the same group who were abseiling from the Rail Bridge. What a crowd there was! They were doing it for the Chest, Heart and Stroke Society. Music playing and a professional photography unit all added to the sense of 'occasion'. Slipping my way between these lunatics, I headed along the same track as Wilma, but only as far as the gate at Long Craig Pier, where I turned around to head back to the Hawes Inn and a well-deserved coffee and bacon roll.
Phew - I'd done it. A half marathon distance, running all the way (other than that steep uphill) having done no real preparation other than C25K and the 5x50 Challenge. The time? I expected to do the first 10k in around an hour, then to walk the other 7 miles - at best, another 1h 45. this gave a total estimated time of 2h 45m The real time was that 1h 52 when the phone went Phut! Take off a few minutes for photo stops and it would be about 1h 45m. Then add on the extra 20 mins for the additional few km and the half marathon comes in at 2h 05m. I think I'm happy at that. Better than happy ... My time 30 years ago was 2h 47m (which shows that, even then, I wasn't really a runner)
And how may Km could I log for the 5x50 Challenge? Let's say the run was 21.5km. Then add the distance from the Hawes Inn to Dalmeny station - about a mile, so say 1.5km. I reckon I can genuinely log 23km for my adventure!
Well, that's been a long story - but it was a long run. But doesn't it show yet again that we can do so much more than we think we can? You bet!