One of the great things about marathon training is the ability to turn up at a race that you haven’t trained for and do reasonably well!

I was a bit nervous before the Loch Leven Half Marathon today as I’ve got to run as close to 1 hour 35 minutes at tView from the starthe Edinburgh Half Marathon in 2 weeks in order to get back for the start of the marathon on time and I haven’t raced the distance to see how long it will currently take me. I hadn’t planned on running this race today but with Allison running in the Women’s 10k in Glasgow tomorrow, I needed the run as I will be through cheering her on and so I just entered at the beginning of the week.

On the way through, I still felt more nervous about this race than Edinburgh as I wasn’t sure how far I would be from my target time but then knowing what I am capable of would give me an idea of how to tweak my training over the next couple of weeks.

It’s been a while since I ran this race and smashed my PB on a previous visit in 2009 but I didn’t feel I was going to trouble that time today. I made the basic runner error of failing to switch my Garmin on 5 minutes before the start as it can be rather slow in picking up a signal in the overcast conditions today and even hanging about to be almost the last person to cross the starting line, I only got a signal close to the first mile marker so I switched it on then.

I actually felt I was flying round the first few miles as I went sailing past quite a number of people and still felt in control of my pace. I kept speeding up in places and slowing down slightly but felt great. Sometimes in a race the miles seem to take ages to go in but today they seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I was at mile 7 and approaching the big hill at Scotlandwell. Anyone who’s ever done this race before will know the race starts at this point as the next mile or so is rather undulating (runner speak for hilly) and if that wasn’t enough, there are plenty of sections in those last few miles where you’re busy trying to swat hundreds of little flies away from your eyes and mouth! Even though I was beginning to feel the pace a bit, I was still running pretty strongly and the miles were flying by. Before long, we were off the road and on to the path that would take us back into Kinross and a short distance from the finish. I was delighted that as soon as I was able to see the finish line, I had enough left in the tank to sprint to the line.

Interestingly, the first thing that came into my mind after I finished was not “I’m glad that’s over” but rather at the finish!questioning whether I felt I could go on and run again (as I will have to do in 2 weeks) and I was able to answer “yes” without thinking too much about it. I’m happy now and can look forward to Edinburgh now with less fear than I had this morning.

On another note, I’m really happy with my nutrition plan today with a bowl of granola with natural yoghurt before we left the house, water and Science In Sport electrolyte drink before the race, a couple of SiS gels during the race and Cherry Active afterwards. The Cherry Active has certainly speeded up my recovery after a race and is something I will be taking after the races in Edinburgh. I’ve been listening to a few different songs lately during my training runs but the one that sticks out for me is this one by Rudimental. I found myself singing the words over and over to myself in the last couple of miles today and it certainly helped keep my speed up. I also think this is pretty much going to be my theme for Edinburgh.

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