Last Sunday I lined up with 25 000 other runners for the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow. I ran this race in 2013 and had a fairly rubbish time. The problems started when I spotted the 8 mile mark then realised it was for the runners coming in the opposite direction and I was only at mile 4. It was downhill from there and I nearly cried when we crossed the Squinty Bridge and instead of turning right towards the finish line we turned left for a lap of the Riverside Museum. In hindsight I had unrealistic expectations and was not as fit as I thought. With two years more running experience I had a much better idea of my fitness for this race and so my goals were:
- Run the whole way
- Enjoy myself
- Sub 2 hours 20 minutes
- No nausea after the race
The race starts in George Square, in the centre of Glasgow. I met up with some of my club mates but before the group photo was taken I went off to find the bag drop then line up for the toilet which ended up being such an epic queue that I wouldn’t see my team mates again until the finish line.
I was in the last wave, and by the time I had been to the loo the front of the wave was already moving across the start line. The course begins with a steady uphill, and at the top I was rewarded with my first cheer from my Glasgow FrontRunner club mates. Various team mates turned up five or six times on the course and their support was so cheering that it made me grin, shout and wave back every time.
The course quickly heads over the Kingston Bridge to the south side of the city before winding its way through the suburbs and in and out of the parks. A much more scenic route than two years ago but also hillier. I had hoped for a 10:15 minutes/mile pace but the hills made this difficult, so I readjusted and aimed to keep on 10:30 minutes/mile. As the miles ticked by and I passed each of my mini milestones (4 miles, half way, 8 miles, 10 miles and just a parkrun to go) I found myself still smiling, feeling good, and still enjoying myself.
We crossed the Squinty Bridge just after mile 11 and this time we turned right, straight along the Broomielaw towards the finish line. My time was 2:18:47.
Ten minutes faster than my 2013 time. My second fastest half marathon time (though 7 minutes slower than my PB). I was happy with myself until I met up with my club and discovered a club mate who struggled to keep up with me during interval sessions, and who had missed weeks of training due to injury had finished in a time of 2:11. Grrrrr! (I am far too competitive for my own good).
So, I achieved goals 1 to 3, but what about my 4th goal?
I had decided to drink slightly diluted sports drink during the run, as this is what I had used during my first half marathon in 2012, the only one where I have not suffered from post race nausea. Also because of the late start of the race I had time to drink well and eat well through the morning. As usual I felt well during the race itself, but by the time I got home the nausea was starting to set in. After a shower I slept for an hour then threw up. The nausea continued until about 8:30 pm before disappearing completely at which time I ate a plate of eggs and chips! As I said after the Coniston Half Marathon in June, it really takes the shine off the whole day, and at this point completely puts me off doing another long race. But as with childbirth (or so I hear) the memory of the pain and nausea will fade and I’ll start eyeing up that PB again.
As for the goody bags, I’m not bothered by them and would be happy to never get another one. A race with a decent medal and t-shirt however, are worth travelling across the country for. The Great Scottish Run is not one of those races: I find the medal and t-shirt disappointingly same-same from one ‘Great’ run to the next and the 10k and half-marathon medals are the same. But on the whole, the race itself was wonderful, and that is why I run.