On Sunday 30th September I ran the half marathon at the Great Scottish Run 2018. This was my first half marathon and my training for it had gone pretty well as you can see here and here. This race was a goal race for me, I remember watching this race at my parents last year at the beginning of my weight loss journey thinking this was something to aim for. Having lost 6.5 stone in the last year my running has progressed much more than I would have imagined allowing me to take part in the half marathon this year.
I went into the race with 3 targets for the race. My bronze target was to finish the race, my silver target was to finish in under 2 hours 10 minutes and my gold target was to finish in under 2 hours.
The night before the race I slept really well and following breakfast it was off to Motherwell station with my parents to get the train into Glasgow. The train was basically a runners special due to the sheer volume of runners getting the train in. Having dropped my bag off at the baggage bus I realised I’d made a rookie error in not having an old sweatshirt I could leave at the start because the wind blowing into the assembly area was absolutely freezing. As they were counting down to the start of the elite and quick runners I’m not ashamed to say I got emotional thinking about how far I’ve come from this time last year when I was 21.5 stones and couldn’t run.
The race starts with a hill. The photos of people running up St Vincent street make the hill look much worse than it seemed to be on the day, although I’m delighted that the hill was within the first couple of hundred metres rather than at the end of the course. Once I got over that initial hill I felt that I got into a good rhythm and the view whilst going over Kingston Bridge was great but it was a bit blustery. I felt that I was running pretty well and comfortably and managed to successfully avoid everyone swerving in front of me at the first water station at 3 miles.
I still felt like I was running comfortably between miles 4 and 5. I took my first gel after 5 miles. Pollock Park was great to be running through and you could easily forget that you were running through a city. I had made it to the halfway point without any issues but that was soon to change. I struggled with a slight uphill section before we left Pollock Park and dropped my pace slightly, but started to feel comfortable again when we left Pollock Park.
Upon entering Bellahouston Park just after the 8 mile mark I started to get a pain in my left achilles. I had to walk up a short uphill section and then was able to start running pretty slowly. I had another couple of short walking breaks between miles 9 and 10. When I made it to Mile 11 it dawned on me that I was actually going to complete a half marathon. A quick glance at my watch showed I still had an outside chance of finishing in under 2 hours. This outside hope disappeared shortly after crossing the squinty bridge and starting towards Glasgow Green when I had to take another walking break.
The support from the crowd on the roadside was immense and got me running again. I decided that as this might be the only time I ran the Great Scottish Run, I was going to finish strong no matter what. Somehow I found another gear and was able to put the pain out of my mind. I really fed off the energy of the crowd and managed my 2nd fastest mile of the race in my last mile. I finished full of emotion and gritted teeth and had a finishing time of 2 hours 1 minute 5 seconds. So even with the walking breaks I was only 65 seconds outside my gold target time.
Overall on reflection I am so incredibly proud of what I achieved. It may not look it judging by the expression on my face in the photos but I really enjoyed the race. When I look back at where I was this time last year, weighing over 21 stone and not running, I really feel like I have achieved so much. Also 2:01:05 means that I have a very achievable sub 2 hour target for any more half marathons I may do.