I had meant to run the Lomonds of Fife race tomorrow, but thought it was about time I got some proper road miles in. I prefer Saturday races anyway. On Thursday gone, when I announced I might run at Haddington to one of the clubmates he said 'you can't just decide to do a half without the proper training, blah, blah and all that', and I was inclined to agree, but life's about getting stuck in, and it was Haddington's turn to see the spiralling vapour trails from my new New Balance trainers.
There was quite a queue at Neilson Park, home of Haddington Rugby Club when I arrived to sign on for the Half Marathon. Earlier, I'd spent the best part of 20 minutes in another queue, taking in the finer points of the rear of a caravan sat in a long snaking line of traffic meandering along the A1, so I had reverted to 'brain in neutral mode', which is, after all, its default setting anyway. The registration was, however, quicker and a more pleasant affair and I was soon scanning the runners to see who I knew.
Around 230 lined up and there were plenty from Edinburgh, this being on their doorstep I suppose. I set off with the plan of trying for a 1:20 or 1:21. The pre-race blurb stated confidently that this was a fast course and that a 1:03 had been recorded in the past (but not by me!). It was a hot afternoon and there was only a slight breeze.
I started reasonably, moving through the first 2 miles in 12 minutes and 4 miles on a 6:18 min/mile pace. The mile markers were bang on and there were a well organised succession of water stations which I was happy to see. We wandered out toward Traprain. We then turned south west down to Bolton where the terrain was a little flatter. Averaged 6:15 over the 2nd 4 miles but collapsed between 8 and 12 to average 6:35 for this last quartet.
I had been yo-yo-ing with Alison Docherty, the smooth running Central AC runner and passed her at 11 miles only to be caught and passed immediately by Megan Wright of HBT, and things got bogged down badly over the final 2 miles when I was passed by another 2 runners including a Dunbar runner. Alison said later that she'd just put in a 200 mile fortnight and was preparing for a marathon. Can't help be impressed by that sort of commitment. I felt tired just listening to that sort of mileage.
I have a strong belief that in races any longer than 10k, that as soon as you can see the finish you should be able to take the shortest route to the line, even if it involves vaulting some cars, running through gardens and squeezing through fences! It's murder running past the finish then doubling back and, in the middle of this fiendish Haddington detour, a Corstorphine had the temerity (but really just the speed) to pass me with 200 yards to go. Thinking I was around 23rd or 24th I wasn't too fussed to chase him and was keener to get over the line before 1:24 which I think I did by one second.