Sand, Galloping and Holey Tights

Today was my first beach ride with my regular stables. It was brilliant. I had one of the steady horses, he is an old hand at beach rides having been previously stabled near the beach.

Once we were all saddled up and on, it was off to do a warm up followed by a wee canter circle or two to feel if your stirrups were ok then… we were off.

The feeling is difficult to describe when you are racing along a beach with friends on horses you trust. A sea with the odd mad surfer being tossed about in it to our right and patches of blue sky with sand blowing across the beaches in waves.  It is exhilarating and part of why we all ride.

I can’t wait for my next chance to do this. At one point during one of the gallops I looked around at us and realised that ‘Yes I can ride’, after my recent crisis of confidence it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon after my birthday!

On another note it is only three weeks since I signed up for the Wartime Wardrobe challenge and I have spent eight of my sixty six coupons. I have bought new running tights to replace the ones with holes in and a vest top for the gym (or running if we get a summer this year). I deliberately chose the running leggings made from sustainable, cruelty-free merino wool but I still feel like I need more of the ‘make do and mend’ mentality.

So in order to try and foster that I am planning to patch my old running tights, it might not work but better to give it a try than not. I will let you know how the patching goes, I may melt the running tights or destroy the iron but hey it’s not like I iron much anyway!


Haddington Half Marathon 2012 – One Hell of A Race

So it was Haddington Half Marathon yesterday. Definitely the toughest race I think I have ever done. I am sure I have said that before but this was something different.

I already knew that I haven’t done enough training to do sub 1hr50, and I had decided that I would treat this as a fast training run. Get under 2 hours and that would be fine.

Unfortunately the other two bambis couldn’t make it and I felt really oddly apprehensive about the whole day without my running buddies.

Saturday arrived and I woke with incredibly tight calves, due in no small part to a Scottish/Iraqi ceilidh I had been at the night before. Great night but exhausting and I had only done 3 dances.

I assumed this would wear off and headed off for Haddington on the bus. Great location for the race, the registration people were quick and efficient with everything being well signposted. However, I would say that you should come changed and ready to run. The changing was pretty horrible and the ladies toilet didn’t lock and had water all over the floor. There are lovely public loos just a five minute walk away but not sure how many knew about those.

I had my two loudest supporters with me, my parents so that was nice as the gun went off to be cheered over the start line. I knew Haddington would be fast but I had no idea how fast. It seemed like everyone was overtaking me in the first mile but I felt good and felt I had started out strongly. The first hill was a breeze, I just settled into my rhythm and headed up it. Lots of chatting going on round about me and even though in races I run by myself (I am the slowest bambi) I really did miss my fellow bambis. The first mile and a half took us through Haddington and out the back towards Stenton. It was slow, windy climb. It doesn’t look like it if you drive the road but I could feel it in my legs. Then we turned right and hit the next big and pretty steep hill. I could feel myself slowing up but just kept my head down and told myself I would be fine.

The next few miles passed in a haze of hills and blinding sunshine. Shade was difficult to come by at times on this route and I have to say it felt like the hottest day of the year so far. I had no sunglasses and no hat, no visor and my vest top had decided to start to briskly exfoliate my arms by mile five. I can’t pretend I was in a good mood. I haven’t done enough hill training in my training runs and it really showed in this race.

I actually nearly dropped out at mile 7, if it weren’t for a lovely lass who kept me going telling me that ‘Of course you can do this’, gave me some sports drink later on and running with me for large portions on the remaining miles then I think I would have quit. She was relentlessly positive and that was great. She is doing the Loch Ness Marathon and mentioned the Dee 33, good luck to her in both and thanks! Another lass from fife kept me going between miles ten and twelve, chatting away and keeping a good, decent pace. Thanks to her and again she is doing the Loch Ness Marathon, I am sure you will do brilliantly. Thanks to the other runners who always said something encouraging or kept pace with me, pushing me along when I started dawdling and reminded me why I was doing the run. Without them I think I would have dropped out. And finally thanks to the marshall who gave me some mars bar just after mile ten. I think that got me round the last wee bit.

How would I review this one? Well not a PB for sure 2hrs 11 minutes and 9 seconds. But I felt a real sense of achievement from this one. I kept going in the hottest, sunniest, hilliest and windiest race I have done. I got round it in a decent time and most importantly for me I didn’t feel unwell during the race. At all my previous halfs I have struggled with feeling unwell at this one I struggled but not through that. Not my best time but something to improve on for Glasgow in two weeks.

Now to get on the foam roller for these calves of mine, I am walking in what is the most ridiculous manner ever.