A few rambling thought on Sunday's run.
On a bit of a whim a couple of weeks ago I thought I'd like to find a half marathon to run as a sort of test ahead of training for my local HM here in Inverness in March. I searched the Scottish Running Guide and found the Fraserburgh Half Marathon coming up. Fraserburgh is about 115 miles from home and I dithered about travelling so far. My son said it was a long way for a short race! Huh, a HM is not a short race for me, so I decided to register.
I've previously run 22km several times over the summer as long, off-road runs, either by myself or with my hubby (on his bike). On those occasions I'd taken my time and stopped for numerous photo stops and to check my map, etc. I've not run that distance non-stop, nor at a fast pace, so this was a hard race for me.
A few musings on the day:
Fraserburgh is a good route for a HM as it's fairly flat with only 80m of ascent and a scenic, varied route. The race started with a wee loop around a couple of residential streets which being quiet on a Sunday morning meant we could run up the middle of the road and get the early start-of-race jostling for position over easily. The route then headed out of town along the pavement on the trunk road for 1.5km, before turning off into a country estate along a private road with no traffic. This started as a surfaced road then deteriorated into a muddy farm track. Thankfully the sun had melted the early morning ice (it had been below zero on our drive to the venue) and it was just muddy and not slippery. We then followed a winding route along narrow roads between fields with scattered farms and no traffic. We left the roads at about 12kms and followed the old railway line for 3 kms, then back along the estate road we'd gone out on.
I placed myself near the back of the pack of runners, but I was surprised at how fast the field was. I tried to keep a steady pace from the start, only passing those ahead of me who were going much slower than what felt good to me and slotted into a position with others going at a comfortable pace. However, when I glanced at my Garmin at the first water stop, I saw we'd done the first 5km in 27 mins. The off-road sections were slower and although I was a little disappointed that I'd not managed the run in under two hours, I was happy enough with my finishing time of 02:03:30.
Thoughts on fuelling: because of the early start for the long drive. I realised I would need something extra over and above my usual pre-race breakfast of two weetabix, so took a wee home made muesli bar. However I should have eaten this on the drive there (DH was driving); by the time we arrived and I remembered about it, I only dared nibble at a small piece before running.
In race re-fuelling: I think I need to start trying different energy gels, or food. The Haribo jelly sweeties just didn't do enough on a long race. I had two with water at the 12km water stop and they took ages to suck/chew and left my mouth all sticky for what was maybe minimal energy boost.
After the race I certainly refuelled; in fact I stuffed my face with cake! The race is run by the Fraserburgh Running Club and the group members put on a lavish spread of food for runners and family and friends. As well as drinks there was soup, sandwiches and cake. Lots of cake! Tables groaning under the piles and piles of traybakes! Not the best post-run fuel, but what the heck, it would have been rude not to help myself.
Core strength training: this race showed me that if I wish to improve my running I NEED to do more core strength work. I felt the small of my back start aching from about 12kms and my shoulders and neck joined in the general protesting for the last few kilometres. I'm going to have to start something to add to my running and cycling.
For anyone interested, you can see the route on my Garmin map:
I've shared a few more of DH's photos (the twisty route on the back roads meant he was able to get to 3 or 4 different vantage spots):