Well. That went a hell of a lot better than expected.
My first race in two months, and I picked one of the hilliest halfs I know of.
The Hawick half. Sadly [at least for the organisers] it's not been as better attended than it deserves to be. Although it's a hilly course it's mostly very scenic. Well signed, well marshaled, adequate water stations - and you get a feed at the end that, quite frankly, could keep you going for a week!!
Anyway. What of the run? Like last year - I was second overall in 1:21:03 (4 seconds lower than last year).
Like most races the first mile is a bit of a mixture mad dash and then trying to get into a position and pace you are comfortable with.
After the first half mile the route goes up a bit of a steep incline past some industrial units, before heading into a gradual climb that just goes on and on for 4 miles. It was just after the first mile marker or so that I realised that I was in second place, behind Wull Hynd of Moorfoot. Now, while I was second at this race last year, I really had no intention of "going for it" again, but just decided to dig in and try and consolidate my place.
I noticed during the first few miles of twists and turns that Wull was using both sides of the road to take the shortest line through the corners. Needless to say I went for that approach as well.
At six and a half miles or so the road goes into a hell of a steep downhill. Not my strong point by any means, but today I just opened up and let rip. All this time Wull was about 30 to 45 seconds ahead of me and, while I suspected I'd never catch him, I wanted to try and keep his lead down to as little as possible.
Anyway, after that stretch, the road is quite twisty and "undulating" - it's very easy to lose sight of someone who is only a little bit ahead.
I was determined not to look behind me to see who was chasing and how far back they were, but every time I went by a marshall or spectator I tried to listen out to hear if they were encouraging anyone just behind me. I was heartened that I couldn't hear anything.
In the last three miles when I did catch sight of him, I could tell that Mr Hynd was having a strong run. I felt good and my GPS didn't suggest I was slowing down so I can only assume he was speeding up.
Just kept the head down and forced myself to keep the pace up till I hit the line.
Thought I'd dropped last years time by a bit more than I have.
Ian came in 4th in 1:24:08 just behind third placed Craig Greive of Teviotdale.
Anne had quite a good run as well though crossed the line with a well chosen expletive when she realised she hadn't beaten last years time either (though it was a lot windier this year).
Showered and changed then tucked into the massive buffet - loads of vegetarian stuff. Then hung about for the prize giving - obviously.
As Ian pointed out after the race - I think the whole "rib injury thing" is well and truly over now. Never knew he was a medical man :-)