Isle of Arran Half

That’s me in the blue & white hoops

Saturday
After a three hundred mile drive ( and a ferry ) we arrived on the Isle of Arran yesterday evening.

In keeping with my athletic ethos ( ? ) we popped to the local CAMRA pub for dinner and a couple of pints of the local ale ( Arran Blonde & Arran Ale ) before retiring for an early evening.

Sunday
I had a cracking sleep last night and woke up refreshed and raring to go. After breakfast and a few preparations ( checking that I’d got club vest, sun lotion, correct shoes… ) we took the scenic route from our base in Brodick to the race HQ in Blackwaterfoot across the island.

We arrived in plenty of time for the noon start ( being an island many runners had to arrive by ferry which didn’t start running too early ) to register and pick up my number ( 5 ).

Taking it easy before a warm up with ten minutes to go found me taking the line with around a hundred or so others, all geared up. I was planning on finishing somewhere between 1:45 and 1:50. Let’s see how the plan went…

After the obligatory pre-race talk, we were counted down and off we went – uphill. What a way to start a race and it just seemed to go up all the way. I know with a race starting and finishing in the same place, it’s can’t all be uphill, but that’s how it felt !

Profile of the race
 
I started easily and was managing around eight minute miles even with the uphills. From around three miles, the course dropped to the sea where we ran along the coast road as far as Machrie before turning inland. I jokingly asked the marshall at the turn if it was “all downhill from here, then ?” and was told, “Not quite – it’s undulating“.
 
The long drag up really took it out of me with the temperature in the twenties, high humidity, no breeze and no cover. I was once told at a race by one of the club coaches to get one’s excuses ready before setting off! I was ready!
 
I had to walk for a couple of short stretches and I took advantage of the water stations to stop, cool down and attempt to rehydrate. My later splits show that something wasn’t quite right as I was getting slower, even going downhill in the last mile to the finish. 
 
Amazingly, I managed to finish in 1:46 ( and a few seconds but my watch suffered from an operator malfunction!). I felt well knackered and knew that I had worked hard for that time.
 
After a few bottles of water, geobar and banana ( from the goody bag ) I thought that I felt well enough for a bit of lunch which we took at the Catacol Bay hotel.
 
After food and a couple of pints we returned to our base. I wasn’t feeling great and was developing a headache. While my other half went out for provisions I had a lie down then realised that even after all the fluids I’d taken in since finishing, I hadn’t had a wee ( medical term ) so started hitting the bottle – that’s water and IrnBru* ( well we are in Scotland ) and eventually started to feel a lot more like myself. This is the first time that I have been this dehydrated, it doesn’t usually effect me anything like that much – something to keep an eye on.
 
Although not a great race, I was happy with the time given the conditions. I should have taken more water during the event and certainly post-race.
 
 

* other girder-based drinks are available

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