On the run up to the big 5oh I have been just doing enough to keep my legs turning over. I decided months ago last years racing had taken its toll so would go easy on my body and let all the little niggles in my shoulder/hip/foot /achilles get a bit of respite and hopefully hit the new age category with everything finely tuned and ready to race. Well that plan was a great thought but when you want to run anyway and prefer racing to training a wee rejig was done and I came up with the a plan of easy during the week and a race a month just to keep a little competitive edge. No specific target of times is involved and all the races are more for enjoyment than competitiveness so less pressure and more fun all round. So as I haven't updated the blog for a while this is how it has all gone so far :
LOCH KATRINE MARATHON - MARCH 18TH
Keeping up my ever present here was a challenge as the weather gods conspired to snow me in at home but to much amazement the Trossachs were not as badly affected by the weather as the rest of the country and after battling through snowstorms we got to the start line.
This was one of the coldest races I have completed and the driving wind/snow at the far end of the loch was brutal but got it done albeit my slowest time on that route so far.
Credit to Audrey on another great festival of running with all three races being a great success again.
LONDON MARATHON - 22ND APRIL
A mere 5 weeks later and a total contrast in conditions brought us the warmest London Marathon for several years. Sadly this was to be my first ever marathon DNF with a bizarre dodgy gut feeling from about Cutty Sark I had to stop running at Tower Bridge and take the underground back to the finish. A strange feeling arriving at the Mall from the opposite end to pick up your drop bag but I wasn't alone as the heat took its toll on many a runner that day. Michael, Rob and Alex did finish although none of them looked as if they had enjoyed it much, I on the other hand was feeling rather perky after only doing a half then getting a pint of lager to cure the pain.
GLEN LYON TRAIL RACE - 6TH MAY
Initially this was meant to be a recovery race after London but seeing as I had only ran a London half my legs were rather fresh so expected a decent paced run. Never having seen the route it was a whole new experience and one I rather enjoyed with several river crossings and an undulating and windy route. Never expecting to podium I moved from fourth place at 5 miles to 2nd with about 3 miles to go, I say about as the advertised distance was 14.5 miles but it actually is 15.5 miles. After moving up to 2nd place I just kept the pace even as I just could not see the leader but as I came round a bend I spied him up ahead maybe about 2 minutes ahead, at which point I booted a rock and did my best impression of Ronaldo in the penalty box. It hurt, it hurt a lot and the blood streaming from my knee, shoulder, forearm and forehead indicated I had maybe taken a little dunt. Undettered I plodded on and reeled in the leader who glanced at me as I acknowledged him whilst passing and he had a look of 'look at the state of him'. The dam crossing before the finish is a long way when you are unsure how far behind the guy chasing you is but at halfway I glanced round and he was not at the dam yet so knew I could ease off then. Crossing the finish line the full extent of hurt kicked in and the BAM medical team of Ruth, Alice and Monica got me patched up. An unexpected race win and thoroughly enjoyable race altogether.
MONKLANDS HALF MARATHON - 13TH MAY
The closest race I can find near my home and one I try and do every year. This race is slowly growing in entrants every year under the stewardship of NL Leisure. Michael was over for a few days and had entered too as well as wee sis. Not the flattest course and with the same loop twice you know after the 1st circuit you have another climb coming 5 miles later. A rather fresh running John Duffy had passed me on loop one and I had been reeling him back in until the climb on the second lap Marie McChord shouted encouragement which let John know I was closing and he got a second wind and wasn't for letting me catch him. Another race done and perfect leg stretcher for the upcoming Edinburgh Marathon.
EDINBURGH MARATHON - 27TH MAY
In an attempt to redeem myself after the DNF in London I secured a late GFA for Edinburgh and going by the last few weeks running would be in not too bad shape for a sub 3 attempt, only issue with Edinburgh is it can be a bit windy enroute. It was an early rise as wee sis was doing the half with Holly and a couple of her mates and that was starting at 8am with the marathon not starting till 10am.
The expected heatwave had not materialised and Edinburgh was shrouded in fog or as they call it over there *haar*. The start of the race has been changed to take in the sights in Edinburgh but unfortunately they were all shrouded in the aforementiond haar. It was rather chilly but great running temperature with a gentle headwind on the way out which was ideal as it meant after the turning point a tailwind blew us back to Musselburgh. The splits were even and I came in on 2:58:44 , delighted with another sub 3 and happy to have laid the dnf to rest.
STRATHEARN MARATHON - 10TH JUNE
Perhaps a little early to be doing another marathon but headed off to this one with Rob Soutar with little more than an expectation of finishing pain free but with heavy legs I knew a bit of effort was required. 8 miles uphill and then 3 down to recover before another brutal climb and a long slow 13 mile slog to the finish. My pain doesn't create a pretty picture but the setting and route for this race is simply stunning. Well marshaled throughout apart from one little problem at 24 miles where 2 runners went past a turning and had to double back. I was passed several times by Ruth Howie (in her car) who kept reminding me not to fall over like Loch Lyon. The race was a close finish for 1,2,3 all coming in between 2:52 and 2:53. Rob had a great day coming in 3rd. I sauntered home in 3:07.
A fair few races with a mix of terrain and distance, all good training in the long run and lots of fun had throughout. Looking forward to the next few months and a stab at the Vet 50 category.