In an attempt to re-discover my race legs I took a break from the usual Sunday morning marathon training and headed north to Alloa for their ever popular half marathon. Still smarting from being forced to travel “a bit” further north to do the Inverness half last year after Alloa had sold out, I had made sure I got my entry in early.
Having not raced much over the last few months I was quite looking forward to the race, that was until I checked the 5 day forecast in the days prior. A 20mph westerly wind was on the menu for Sunday, which for anyone who has done the race will know means a very unpleasant 4 mile stretch straight into the wind. Rather optimistically I figured that the weather would have calmed down by the time Sunday came but if anything the wind got stronger as we lined up at the start.
And so off we went, the first 2 miles way too fast as I’m sure we can all relate to, but after that I settled into a nice steady pace which I figured might bring me home in about 1hr15mins. Of course by this point I had completely forgotten the wind, the mighty wind…
It was only I as I took the left turn onto Tillicoultry high street at the 5.5 mile point that reality struck home, there was to be no avoiding it, the next 4 miles were going to be unpleasant. I tried in vain to make up the 50 metres or so to the group ahead but either they were somehow shrinking or more likely just easing further away, was I the only person affected by this wind?? Somehow I managed the first 2 miles to Alva but each mile was taking longer and longer. My prospects were starting to look bleak but then out the blue our old friend Ollie Scott came charging past me, a man on a mission if ever I saw one. This gave me the boost I needed and I managed to keep up with Ollie for the remaining stretch of the wind tunnel, after which is half a mile of respite followed by a nice steep incline to sap any remaining energy you might have had left.
Having made it to the top there is just one more gentle incline followed by about a mile and a half of largely flat and downhill to the finish, with the welcome feeling of a tailwind at long last. I finally crossed the line in 1hr17mins, which I felt was about the best I could have managed given that the wind stole about 2 mins off me over the 4 treacherous miles.
Lastly, can I invite all the other Bellas who ran on Sunday to back up my story, honestly I’m not just a lightweight, it was blowing a gale…