Alloa (My First) Half Marathon 

I woke around 6am, I say woke, I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually sleep much at all.  I was buzzing with excitement but mostly nerves. Looked like the weather had gone our way. No rain!  I checked I had all my running gear and that my Garmin was charged, double checked, then triple checked.

For breakfast I fuelled up with a bowl of porridge, banana and cup of tea, avoiding my morning coffee with the fear that it might catalyst an unexpected bowel movement mid-race. Now that could be embarrassing!

My sister, Cheryl and brother-in-law Gary picked Kevin and I up at 8.30am to be in Alloa for 9am to pick up our race packs.  Gary has done Alloa Half Marathon before so was giving us advice about the tough hills we were about to endure. I switched off and checked my iPod was working for the 1000th time.

When we arrived the place was packed with excited runners, masses of bright yellows and pinks.  There were pipers playing bagpipes.(I can’t stand the sound of bagpipes but I didn’t mind them today.)  The atmosphere reminded me of T in Park music festival, with more running shoes and less wellies and the energy drinks were alcohol free, or I’d like to think they were. T-shirts identified charity runners and running clubs. One named ‘Troon Tortoises’ made me smile.. Surely I won’t get beaten by a tortoise.

We collected our race packs pinned on our race numbers, a quick loo visit and before we knew it a voice boomed over a tannoy announcing we had had 5 minutes till race time. Oh crap. Sh*t just got real.

Time for a photo.

Followed by good luck hugs and kisses.

2000+ runners gathered at the start line.  Gary suggested holding back so we didn’t get stuck in the pack which meant after the 10am gun we were roughly another 2 minutes before we crossed the START line.

Crowds of smiling faces lined the road on either side, cheering and clapping.  Wow, I suddenly felt overcome with emotion. This felt amazing.

Kevin found his way through the crowd just after half a mile and left Gary and I dodging our way through the pack.

Now unless you actually know me you won’t believe what happened at the 1 mile mark…..I fell. Yup, full body dive on the concrete and landed with my stretched out arms and head almost lodged under a parked car. Well that was embarrassing!

Gary’s face was a picture, he wasn’t sure whether to laugh at me or help me.  A kind lady helped me as I attempted to get up, I’ve no idea how she managed not to laugh.  Back on my feet I started running again, Gary and I kept laughing every few minutes and a guy behind us laughed ‘The rest of your race should be easy after that!’ I really hoped so.

Mile 2 was my fastest with a combination of adrenalin from the fall and an urge to get away from any runners or spectators who might have witnessed it.

Just after the mile 2 marker I noticed my friends Cheryl (not my sister), Martin and their little boy Logan in the crowd cheering us on.

Mile 3 I lost Gary, I think he’d been trying to leave me since the fall.  Haha!

As I approached mile 4, I’d started speaking to a woman running alongside me, she was around my age.  It was her first Half Marathon too, we ran together for about 3 miles chatting occasionally which took my mind off any climbs we faced. At 7 miles she started to walk, I tried to encourage her but she was starting to struggle.

I was on my own again, well not really, there were thousands of people around.  That’s when I started to notice my knees hurt, thankfully not anything serious, they were bleeding from my incident along with my elbow and hand that had started to sting.  What an idiot!! I had another chuckle when I remembered the look on Gary’s face. I’m pretty sure the image he had was far more entertaining.

At 8 miles there was a water station I’d passed by a couple but this time I could feel my mouth getting dry so I took a few mouthfuls from a bottle and without realising it I’d slowed to a walk for a good few minutes… Running and drinking is harder than it looks…that’s when I started to feel my legs burning and my calves tighten, making it harder to get the speed back up.  Like they knew I needed a boost Cheryl, Martin and Logan’s faces popped up in the crowd again, they had driven round back roads to get to a spot to get a glimpse of us again. ‘You’re doing great Ang!’ Just what I needed to get me going.

I don’t remember anything significant from 9-11, some high fives from little kids in the crowd as we passed, which made me smile.  I guessed Kevin and Gary would be almost, if not already done. Lucky them!

Mile 11. Hello big hill. It really was an uphill struggle and I started walking about half way, I’m not sure if I had to or if it was just because all the runners around me had,  my legs were started to ache. The worst thing about this hill.  It was steep and at the top there was no decline it was level for about a mile and a half then only very slightly began to decline. In my opinion the best bit about hills is that what goes up must come down…we were robbed of that pleasure.

On the plus side we were almost done.  That hill took a lot out of me 11.5-12.5 was a complete struggle, I was slow, really slow but I kept moving. About 6 of us kept passing each other then dropping back then passing each other again.

At 12.5 miles I seen a girl/ guy couple ahead that had passed me before the hill so I used them as motivation to go for it.  I caught them up on the final left turn into the finish line as the crowds got thicker again, the cheers were louder than ever.

I saw my friend Danielle’s little girl, Erin up on her Dad, Neil’s shoulders chanting AN-GE-LA, AN-GE-LA which made me laugh, she’s such a cutie.  The last few meters, I passed the couple and crossed the FINISH line.

I now know exactly what a runners high feels like!

The next 15 minutes was filled with hugs, medals, T-shirts, photos, Gary giving a detailed description of my ‘incident’, everyone laughing and lots of very wobbly legs!

Oh and I forgot to stop my Garmin!!

13.1miles  Official chip time 2:15:29


Kevin done amazing for a first timer and got a 1:55:15 . Proud of him.

My original goal was to cross the finish line (and not be last) which I’m so proud to have achieved but I thought I might have managed nearer 2hr. I’m not disappointed at all but now that I have a time to work on I don’t think this will be my last Half Marathon.

Have I caught the running bug?  🙂

Thanks for reading ❤

Happy St Patrick’s Day 🙂 if you don’t do St Pat’s then have an amazing day anyway 🙂

Angela xo

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