The Winsome Run

a running blog


The Great Scottish Run Half Marathon 2015

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:

  1. Run the whole way
  2. Enjoy myself
  3. Sub 2 hours 20 minutes
  4. 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.



Half-Marathon Training

The Great Scottish Run is on the 4th October, 3 weeks away today, so I am in peak training and it seems to be going well (*touches nearest block of wood* – which happens to be my head). 

After a rubbish summer, we have been granted a few weeks of sunshine and I have got used to running in the dry. So much so that when I was met with the prospect of heavy rain for yesterday’s parkrun I nearly returned to bed. Of course I did not, and of course it did not actually rain during parkrun. 

I have had lots of company for this training cycle: One of my club mates has been joining me for my Tuesday night interval sessions and I have very bravely joined the club’s half-marathon training group for some of the Sunday long runs. I have had mixed feelings about this, but on the 4 or 5 runs I have been on, I’ve had comapany for at least some of each run.

Today’s long run was to be 13 miles and I had planned to join the club for the whole run which was an out and back along the canal. However at parkrun yesterday I was chatting to my club mate Heather and she told me her plan to run from her house, along the canal to the meeting point, then run back with the club. Thus avoiding a commute, and getting the run over and done with earlier in the day. She invited me to join her, so this morning we headed off at 9:30 am in glorious, if slightly chilly, sunshine for a run along the Forth and Clyde canal. 

A year ago Heather was a 30min+ parkrunner. Since the start of this year she has slashed her 5k time to 27 minutes, run a half marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and runs circles round me in most training runs. Today she kindly ran with me for our journey into town and we got to the club meeting point after 6.7 miles with time for a toilet stop before heading back to the canal for our return journey (and everyone else’s out journey). 

The return journey was considerably lonelier. Everyone sprinted off within metres of the start so I ran 7 miles on my own, cursing my slowness, cursing my club that is not able to accommodate slow runners, mentally composing an email cursing being the rostered jog leader for the half-marathon group next week, but grateful for the company for the first half of the run.

Heather had waited for me at the point where we left the canal, and we ran the last mile back to her house together. In the end I was happy with the run: 13.7 miles in total and I hit the 13.1 mile mark in 2 hours, 20 minutes which is 8 minutes faster than I ran the Great Scottish Run in 2013. 

This week I have an illustrious visitor coming to stay who I will be joining for some parkrun tourism…stay tuned 🙂