• Nikki Bartlett

The unexpected PB: Alloa Half Marathon


Alloa half marathon March 16th. Target: 1.28-1.27. Setting the scene: I decided to do this race with no taper and a hard core training run/training race. However one might interpret it. I basically just did a lighter Saturday training day which gave me some feet up and baking opportunity with some of my fab ingredients: Race conditions: well were far from what you would like in a race. Luckily it was dry, however the wind. Well let's just say it was strong it made one section for a good 4miles (ish) being quite a challenge. The gun went and 1,600 set off. I decided to ignore the garmin for the first mile or two and go by feel (this actually ended up running to feel for the whole race) I came into the race wanting around 1.28, I thought that with previous training load would be good. When I started naturally I then wanted to beat that time, so I though why not try for a 1.27 and a 1.26 is a going out in the evening for a meal treat. A couple of miles in and I saw 6min miles a lot and thought okay, training race, forget numbers, just go with your body. If you fail, you learn, just concentrate on efficiency and PMA.

Bex cycling parts of the course on the opposite side of the road was fab, 4/5miles in and I kept hearing '4th' lady. I thought really? Me? In a running race? So the race then became, I'm not coming 4th! So the chase began. I caught both 3rd and 2nd women on the long long road with the serious head wind. 10miles in and I had a cheeky look at the garmin which displayed that 1.22 overall time was possible! I thought I was actually dreaming. I didn't think this was even in me, especially not this year. This is my 3rd half marathon (excluding half marathons in half ironman races), with my first in 2011 being 1.24 at Reading (off the back of being an uber fit rower) 2012 was Birmingham half marathon in 1.32. Then, came the PB chase... Picking off athletes one by one and feeling strong ... I crossed the line 2nd female, 63rd overall in a time of 1.22.15 massive PB! I seriously couldn't get the grin off of my face for the whole of yesterday and clearly lastnight as I didn't sleep a wink! Compared to this time last year where I was running around 1.30 marathon pace (I know you shouldn't compare courses nor the weather situ) but on a rough guidance, it shows that hard work is paying off :-). The event was fantastic and would highly recommend, 3 water stations, part closed roads, friendly Scottish lovely race vibe. The course is SMACK bang on being accurate too. The prize purse was EXTREMELY generous and couldn't appreciate it more so, especially when the cheque was handed at the medal ceremony. So a big thanks. And to Bex for continually giving me 110% support. Time to go back and keep chipping away safely but surely. Next race Scottish National Duathlon Champs 30th March.


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