I'm not long back from Stonehaven where I took part in today's half marathon. Stonehaven is a seaside town a bit south of Aberdeen, but to get there you have to drive up the A90. So what, I hear you ask? Well, never in my life have I seen so many speed cameras as we passed today on the A90 from Dundee onwards. There must have been one every couple of miles. And to make things worse, occasionally the road speed changes from 70mph to 50mph, in a blatant attempt to catch you out and raise more money for the exchequer. Now I don't have much sympathy for people who speed on our roads, but I get totally hacked off with speed cameras being used like this. If the objective really is to reduce people's speed, why not set up average speed cameras, which a a lot fairer and a lot more successful in reducing speed? Probably because they don't generate the same level of revenue.
Before you think that my angry tone suggests I was caught out by one or more of these cameras, I should quickly point out that I was not driving today. My main role in the car was to act as Chief Speed Camera Spotter, and to shout THERE'S ONE in enough time for Phil T to make sure he was safely within the speed limit - which of course he always was.
Anyway, time to get off my soap box and talk about the race. It was hard, but not as hard as the Heaven and Hell half marathon which I did in April. Today I finished in 1 hour 29 minutes and 39 seconds, and think I just made it into the top 30. Phil T was delighted to finish in 1.31.14, a couple of places behind. In many ways I was jealous of his run. After I slogged up the hills for the first 4 miles or so, I knew I would be round about the hour and a half, so worked really hard the whole way round to try and beat the 90 minute target. That meant the 2nd half of the course was a really painful struggle, particularly over the last few miles when my legs were reluctant to move as quickly as my brain wanted them to move, and I had to dig really deep to keep it going. The only time I felt confident of making it when I came into the park and saw the finish banner a 100 yards or so in front of me. Phil T on the other hand set off at a relatively gentle pace, had no great worries about his time (he has had a knee injury and is just getting back to form), and felt so good at 7 miles that he speeded up for the second half, passing a lot of runners on route. He crossed the line saying what a great run it was, while I was lay on the grass coughing, spluttering and trying not to be sick.
After a drink of water, a shower and then a coffee, I was able to reflect on the fact that this was a really good, well organised half marathon. Sure, it was hard, but very enjoyable nevertheless. I would certainly recommend it, and will hopefully be back some time in the future.
Late addition: I've just updated my race records and noticed that today was my 80th half marathon. All but 8 of them have been below 1.30. So it probably was worthwhile pushing myself hard for that second half of the course :)