RunGarioch 10k – 20th March 2011, 12.00pm – Inverurie Sports Centre – Race completed in 56m 17s! Finished 277th out of 449, 66th Female, 173rd in my age group.
Quick summary – a great, friendly race on a challenging course. Good value, good swag and very well organised. Bad point – not enough water on course…
So, Inverurie is a rapidly expanding commuter town about 11 miles away from Aberdeen. The race started at a rather civilised 12.10pm with registration at 11am, so we didn’t need to hit the awful A96 until 10.15am. It’s such a horrible road; everyone hates driving on it. Every other driver is an utter lunatic and people drive like it’s a game of Mario Kart. It’s also the main freight route North into the Highlands so you’ve got umpteen lorries battling for superiority on the road as well which makes every journey a treat…
I’m always a bit tetchy before a race and stomp off by myself until I know what’s going on.
We managed to find Ian and Donna quite quickly – it was a medium sized race, probably just under 1,000 people doing the 10k and the half marathon. I think Ian was a bit surprised to be caught on camera quite so early in the day.
We got our packets picked up and milled about in the hall for a while – there were some stalls including run4it (a local running shop) but I managed to resist spending any money. We also bumped into Jayne, who was doing Kettlebell demonstrations
Disclaimer – when I did my hair on Sunday morning I was not aware quite how much of a Croydon face lift I’d given myself with that ponytail!! Not such a good look!
After a while we decided to go out and warm up properly. I wanted to have a proper long jog to blow the cobwebs out of my legs and avoid the typical first mile feelings of “oh crap, legs are stiff, knees are creaky, I’m going to have to stop, I can’t do this ARRRGH!!”.
It was very bright and sunny outside! There was a fresh breeze but we could feel the sun getting stronger.
Warmed up and about ready to roll. This was Ian and Donna’s first race so I was excited to be doing it with them. They’ve both been running lots recently and were aiming to come in at or near an hour.
As is got warmer I removed more and more layers. I was very pleased to have worn what I did – I got it just right. I was even smart enough to put on sunscreen – in the end it was 15C!!!
By now we were just desperate to get going, we were antsy for the race to start. The half Marathon set off about 10 minutes before ours, so there was a bit more hanging about to do.
The elite athletes at the start of the 10k.
What’s us finally off. Can you spot me…?
…and that was the last Badger saw of us for 7km!
I concentrated on keeping my pace steady for the first few miles as planned, the proper warm up really worked and I felt like I was ready to run from the get go, rather than working my way into it. I spotted a friend from Twitter about 1km in who had popped out of her house to wave and cheer and that was a great boost early on! I had also seen a friend from work who was running near me as well; the sun was shining, my tunes were blasting and I was feeling amazing. I didn’t need to concentrate on enjoying myself at all – I felt totally relaxed and was just enjoying every minute of it.
I had studied the course on Google Streetview and was prepared for an undualting course but I hadn’t realised quite how steep some of the gradients were. As we approached the half way mark I was getting hotter and hotter and desperate for a drink of water. I don’t normally get thirsty after just a couple of miles but I was beginning to really wish that there was going to be a water stop – but the course map hadn’t said there would be one. As we chugged on I could see people veering to one side in the distance and as I grew closer I couldn’t believe it – was it a mirage?! It was a car handing out water from the boot!! In retrospect I think it might have been a last minute decision to supply water due to the heat. The tables weren’t prepared and they were really struggling to keep up with demand – they were physically pouring cups of water from bottles as we took them from them. I only got about 2 inches in a cup but I was grateful for even this small amount.
I hit the 5k mark at about 24 minutes so at this point I was on well on course to hit my target of 52 minutes, however the more the hills continued the tougher it got and my little legs started to struggle to keep up the pace. I later learned that 7km of the 10km course was uphill!
Meanwhile, Badger was watching the elite runners shoot past. The race was won by last year’s winner Ben Hukins (who also won the 2010 Baker Hughes 10k) in something like 32 minutes.
And some time later, the cavalry followed!
Looking pretty happy here, so I must be doing something right.
A few minutes later Donna and Ian passed by.
Notice Ian’s shoes – he’s wearing Vibram 5 finger shoes; designed to emulate bare foot running.
The last 3 kilometres were sneaky. After we passed where Badger was, we curled around a hill which was tough going, and then plunged right down again – at this point I thought we were on the finishing straight so started on my reserves, only to turn the corner and find another hill! Only after that hill was there the down hill finishing straight. At this point I was power walking up the hill to try and catch my breath to blast it down the other side. I felt a tap on my shoulder as a girl passed me saying “Come on keep going! We’re nearly there!” We’d been overtaking each other the whole race and I’m 99% sure that she ran the Balgownie XCountry as well and finished just before me – she’s number 215 in this picture – if I recognised her correctly, maybe she recognised me too. Either way it gave me a huge boost and we paced each other up the hill but she put the boosters on and sprinted away from me as we approached the finish. Whoever you are, thank you friendly girl in the pink top! People like you in races make people’s days!
Here’s my finish:
An apt picture, given that I sponsored myself in this race for Run For Japan.
And a lucky snap with the gun time as I crossed the line. My chip time was 56m 17s – 1m 30s over my personal best.
It was another wobbly finish – I was very glad to have some nice Boys Brigade volunteers cut my chip off and hustle me down the chute to collect my swag. There were plenty of people needing assistance over the line however – the medics were having a busy day.
T-shirt, medal, water and jelly beans. I was SO, SO HOT… I could bearly stand up my legs were so shaky!
Very happy. I wasn’t too bothered about not getting my goal time – it was a tough course and I gave it my best shot. Now it we just needed to see the Duggans home safe!
At this point a bundle of pink came up and hugged me – it was Joyce from work – she works in Education in the same building as me!
Ian and Donna crossed the finish line together, very hot but happy to be finished. They got roughly 65 minutes.
I don’t know how Donna coped in that black outfit!
It wasn’t too long before we were feeling human again and posing with big smiles. They really enjoyed their first race – Ian said his immediate feelings were to never sign up for another race again…but I know that feeling, and I know it lasts approximately half an hour and then you’re gagging to do another one 🙂
Shortly after this we headed off to go and find some well earned food and a beer and disect the race in detail. We were all caught out by the hills and the heat – especially after a long hard winter of training in the snow and wind and rain. We were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves until we heard that tragically, a runner had collapsed and lost his life. He was minutes from the finish line, and suffered a heart attack and died. He was only 34 years of age. They haven’t released much more detail, but what a terribly sad thing to happen to a young person. Deaths at half marathons and full marathons are not uncommon however – you’re putting yourself under a huge amount of pressure to do an endurance event which completely wrecks the body. I think in the quest for personal glory, collecting another medal, attaining another PR; we forget that endurance running is actually a high risk sport and that’s why we have to train so carefully. On the path to becoming a runner it’s so important to learn how to listen to your body as well as learning how to run. Unfortunately it’s never just as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this difficult time.
Look after one another friends, and enjoy each day to its fullest.