Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Tag: city of aberdeen 10k (page 1 of 2)

The Running Shop Beach 10k 2013 – RACE REPORT

runningshop10k3The Running Shop Beach 10k 2013

Gun time: 50:44 – NEW PB!
Place: 139th/229
Category: 12th/43 Senior Females
Gender: 26th/82

The Running Shop 10k is a funny race. A no-fuss, no-frills evening race organised by a local Running Shop, funnily enough named “The Running Shop”, and held every year mid-week in the middle of June on that well-worn pathway to the North East runners’ Hell – the Beach Promenade.

For the princely sum of £7, you get a flat and fast timed 10k race with water and a chocolate bar at the end. It’s not chip timed, but the amount of entrants means that if you care about your time you can get very close to the start line if you wish.

This year the race was part of our Club Championship, which was my main reason for entering. I hadn’t done a 10k in over a year; I don’t particularly like the distance so if I was going to pick a race to do a 10k it would probably be one with plenty of course support, and a nice t-shirt and medal at the end. I can be fickle like that at times, but that’s not what this race was about. Runners come here to race their legs off away from the big crowds of the other expensive and commercial local 10k, Baker Hughes, and hammer it out as fast as they can on the flat and unchallenging route. It is essentially a time trial, with many of the local running clubs including it in their championships and some of the fastest local runners coming to give it their best.

My speedwork lately has been non-existent; I haven’t been to a club session since I started my new job (I keep getting home too late) and I’ve been concentrating on getting my running fitness back before doing anything more complicated with my pace. Essentially despite running lots of miles lately, I was completely untrained for this race and I knew it was going to hurt. To smash my PB I needed to hold an average pace of 8:18, which seemed a little ambitious to me, but I figured I could give it a good try.

After giving Kate a lift down from work we had a brisk 1.5 mile warm up to try and loosen our legs up. After both completing the Ythan Challenge on Sunday we weren’t very sure how they’d be feeling; mine felt a little unresponsive at first but soon sped up. I had a quick trip to the bathroom and found a lamp post to tie my jumper on to before hanging around for the last 10 minutes with the girls from the club. No-one was all that excited to take part after having trained for ultramarathons all year so far – the general consensus was “Too short, too fast!”

The gun went off and suddenly I’m moving forward, swept away in a fluid moving cell of legs and arms. I had decided 8 minute miles was a good pace to aim for and that I’d try to hold it as long as I could. That plan lasted about 30 seconds before I realised that the wind was behind me and that I should take advantage of this whilst I could as I’d lose time on the return journey running straight in to the wind.

By the time the first mile was over I was already not enjoying myself so I turned on my mp3 player for some distraction. Mile 2 and 3 were straight in to the wind and finished with a surprise fastest ever 5k time for me – 24:13. Despite my general discomfort this pleased me as it meant I was doing well – keep this up and I was well on course to beat my PB.

The course is a loop on the Promenade so the lead pack passed me on the upper level, followed by a stream of familiar faces. It was really nice to exchange thumbs up with faster runners from the club which gave me a much needed mental boost. I was flailing mentally and straying in to “Why do I bother” territory, so seeing people being better than me gave me the kick up the backside to remember that getting faster doesn’t just happen and that I need to work to earn it.

Miles 4 and 5 took us back past the start and onto the second lap. The wind was behind me so I tried to let it push me on but I couldn’t get my legs to move fast enough. They were fatigued and my lack of muscle strength betrayed me – this is what I need to gain for an increase in speed. More hill reps and intervals are in my future to build explosive power in my muscles.

Mile 6 was at the turn around and had us run toward the finish straight in to the wind. I was getting slower and slower and felt like a football slowly deflating. Legs, move faster! No, arms – you move faster too! Stop slouching! Lift your knees! I mentally barked instructions at myself but I still felt like I was running like the flying spaghetti monster with limbs all over the place. The stomach started tightening and my ITBs started grumbling – I want to sit down and retch like a cat throwing up a hairball please – says the body. No! Run faster! – says the mind. Can’t – say the legs. I hate 10ks, says Redwinerunner.

‘Til now I had only given my watch one or two glances to check my pace, and had been so disgusted by the falling numbers that I had given up monitoring the data. With about 400m to go I looked at the overall time and was surprised to see 48:XX – suddenly all my mental gurning disappeared and the possibility of a PB kicked me back into race mode. All of a suddent, I DIDN’T have nothing left and I wasn’t totally spent and was able to find something for a finishing sprint. Later this really annoyed me; I should have kept my eyes on the prize and I could have run better – I clearly wasn’t trying hard enough.

runningshop10k4Ronnie caught me deep in the hurt locker – I had no idea he was even there

I crossed the line in 50:44 by my watch, which is a 49 second PB. I’m pleased but I feel underwhelmed – I allowed myself to under perform in the second half which meant a big positive split. It also revealed where my weaknesses are at the moment (anerobic fitness, leg strength) so I suppose I have benefited from this race in that respect. I have no further plans to race another 10k until I have to, but now I’m slightly tempted to do the Forfar 10k in August just to see how much I can improve with some proper training. By then I’ll be in peak marathon training and should be in excellent shape so perhaps I could FINALLY dip under 50 minutes? My 10k time is the area that has improved the least in my 3 years of running – the very first race I ran I finished in 54:47 so I’ve only managed to knock 4 minutes off in 3 years. That is in comparison to 7 minutes off my 5k, 19 minutes off my Half Marathon and a stonking 1hr 7minutes off my marathon time. There is little room for error in a 10k though; every second counts, so I guess I’m glad to still be chipping away at it. I can do better though.

runningshop10k2

Splits:

7:30 / 8:01 / 8:13 / 8:14 / 8:25 / 8:40 // 1:39

Afterwards, I took myself home via the Carron for some chips and curry sauce. Dirty, but well deserved. This weekend brings a whole new challenge – sweeping the West Highland Way race. As part of a team of 6 from Stonehaven Running Club I will be taking shifts in bringing up the rear of the race and making sure all stragglers and sufferers are well looked after.  I know I’ll be going over Conic Hill in first light on Saturday morning and over the Devil’s Staircase as day breaks on Sunday, so if the weather holds clear I could be in for some fantastic sights. The forecast is diabolical of course, but let’s not dwell on that. It’s going to be another epic adventure – I should clock up around 35 miles over the 35 hours and we will be out on the course the longest of all. Another step forward in my own journey to completing the West Highland Way race and what an exciting one to take!

See you in Milngavie!

GUEST BLOG: Gin Soaked Jogger

Whilst I’m recovering from being brutalised by the gruelling heat at the Dunblane Road Race yesterday, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of my friend Claire, the Gin-Soaked Jogger, who has written an account of her first-time experiences at last week’s Baker Hughes 10k.

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Buckfast Bolter? Tinny Trundler? Gin-Soaked Jogger – A note to a would-be-runner.

Firstly I suppose I should caveat any athleticism related to this post and freely admit I am 163cm tall, I weigh about 11st, I hit the gym enough to take care of the amount of pizza I eat and I love a bevvy.

I like to think I have a decent handle on my fitness. As long as my pizza-to-skinny jeans ratio is in order, I’m fairly content. I’ve never been a serious runner, have enjoyed playing full contact/touch rugby and cycling a bit; but have never before embarked upon a 10k race in Aberdeen.

Photographs used with kind permission from Roz Galloway
http://rozgalloway.blogspot.co.uk/

Having signed up for the 2012 Baker Hughes 10k around four months ago, I assumed I had plenty of time to get into shape and to expect to cross the finish line in a respectable time. I made the mistake of assuming a moderately fit individual like myself could expect to sail over a 10k finish line like a semi-pro, with an abundant surplus of glittering energy to spare. However, after waiting until I had around 7 weeks until race day to really start training properly, as opposed to hitting the treadmill at an easy, pedestrian pace, the creeping realisation of my ignorance started to loom.

Anyone who owns a pair of decent running trainers knows 10ks are largely regarded an “undemanding” distance; booting out 10k in an under an hour is “easily achievable”, especially for would-be athletes, marathon-chinners and all-round ass-kickers like my chum Red Wine Runner. I’d like to say to any the would-be, fair weather athletes such as myself out there; No, it’s not.

I would also like to say to any other novice joggers and weekend warriors; be prepared to awaken muscles you never knew you had. Being in pain from sports is one thing, but brand new pain is quite distracting. Who knew your ribs and clavicle muscles could get sore whilst running? Also standby for your previously pedicured toes to start moulding into garbled, bloodied stumplings, leaving you with more of a trotter than a foot. Be aware that parts of you that don’t chafe usually – might begin to chafe, when you start clocking in some miles. “Chub-rub” (upper thigh friction) is a mile-munching menace!

Bear in mind also, running outdoors on steep hills, over crumbly kerbs, dodging jakeys, dog turds and traffic is FAR more difficult than chugging out a mile or two in the comfy shelter of an air-conditioned gym, gawping at Beyonce on a plasma screen, whilst sipping a chilled energy drink and dabbing your brow with a fresh hand-towel. Speaking of shelter, rain can [and will] get you from all angles, especially when training on an Aberdonian beachfront. A decent waterproof can make a polar difference to a strong run and a “I give in” hobble. Lastly, be prepared to take firmer control of your bodily movements. As I nearly found out, your otherwise safe little toilet schedule may be subject to rapid and unexpected change. Be careful – no one likes a poopy pants.

Around about the month-to-race-day mark, I found that I would bottom-out (no pun intended) on the treadmill after around 4k, and crumble like Cadbury’s flake after about 3.5k road-running, so one Friday night I asked my seasoned runner chum Red Wine Runner for some training tips. To which she imparted this little nugget of advice, rich in its’ brevity:

“Just don’t stop.”

Easy enough for an ultra/marathon runner to quip, (whilst glugging a tin of lager I might add!), but when all my reading-up and treadmilling was officially not working, I decided to give “not stopping” a go. Would you believe it?! She was right!

Before I knew it, it was 7 days prior to the Baker Hughes 10k. In conducting a little dress-rehearsal I felt infinitely better equipped to take on a 10k race. I found that familiarising myself with the actual terrain I’d be facing on the day was irreplaceably helpful. Having the luxury of living in the same town in which I’d be racing meant I could have a few dummy-runs, as it were. Most of these I did with a chum, Lucy. Although Lucy’s pace is slower than I’d usually run I really enjoyed her consistent tempo. I would usually start running like a Special Ed kid on fire – pace all over the shop – running like Phoebe from “Friends” …but running with a comfortingly reliable pacemaker like Lucy helped me sort that right out. Cheers Luce.

So 7 days and a few staggered 5k jogs (and some leg/arse strengthening weights sessions) in between, the Baker Hughes 10k was here – and I was ready.

Trembling like a crapping terrier with nerves, I was at the starting line. Aiming to skim around the 1hour 15mins mark as I had done in practice, I waited with the thousands of others whilst the thoroughbreds down the front sprinted out of the blocks, aiming to clock in their lightning-fast finishes. Basking in the uncharacteristically warm weather, I reckoned by about the first kilometre I’d be sweating like a Geordie in a maths test. Having prepared for “washing-machine-weather” adding wet kilos onto your bodyweight and a typical Aberdeen coastal wind, on the day the sun was well and truly out and the race was on!

To be honest, I’m unable to deliver a kilometre by kilometre account of my race performance, how dull for you I’d imagine, dear reader. Maybe due to the heat, or the adrenaline rush, or my lack of rigid game plan, I don’t really recall what I was thinking all the way round other than: “Just don’t stop.”

One thing I can say however, having so many people cheering and clapping; my parents, my gorgeous training partner Lucy (sadly stricken down with illness prior to race-day), and my wonderful boyfriend cheering me on as I sprinted to the finish line; I found running the 10k a fantastic experience that I’d definitely consider doing again.

I suppose the take home message I’d share with anyone attempting their first 10k, on a base of moderate fitness is, like RWR said: “Just don’t stop.”

Although it sounds like a smug mantra, uttered by honed athletes and effortlessly muscular runners, I found this bit of advice extremely helpful. If you’re anything like me, then you may find the temptation to “just stop” when pushing yourself out of the clichéd comfort-zone is pretty high. I’m sure even those annoyingly determined, samurai-style disciplined over-achievers out there have their days where they felt more like the fly than the windshield. But I can honestly say Red Wine Runner’s brief advice holds a lot of gravity for me. I’ve definitely learnt the value of momentum over the last month:

JUST DON’T STOP!

Sweating, smiling and sprinting, I crossed the line in a not-too-glacially-slow 1 hour and 6 minutes and I was honestly thrilled with my time. I’m still beaming, actually. I had a great day, smiling with the crowd, waving to my supporters, raising money for a local charity and giggling my way round the course looking at runners in suffocating costumes. The post-race beers were also some of the best I’ve had in a while, nothing like a cold one (or five) when you’ve earned it!

It would seem that even a gin-soaked-jogger like me can cross the finish line. And if I can do it, so can you.

Baker Hughes 10k 2012 – RACE REPORT

City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k 2012
20th May 2012
Chip time: 51 minutes 33 seconds
Place: 1117th / 3652 finishers
Category place: 101/863

I woke up at 6am on Sunday, excited for my third attempt at the Baker Hughes 10k and was delighted to be greeting with bright sunshine and cornflower blue skies upon opening my eyes. It was a beautiful clear, calm day! I leapt out of bed and busied myself making breakfast; which was cold overnight oats (porridge oats and milk, left overnight in the fridge to soak) with seeds and dried fruit, cranberry juice and coffee:

I was planning on walking/jogging down to the start as it is 3 miles from my house and I felt that would be both a suitable warm up and would avoid any car parking/public transportation problems at the race village. Everything had been laid out the night before so the morning routine would be flawless, but I still found myself running around fussing about silly little things. Nerves amplify feelings and I was feeling the usual race-morning stresses, but still excitement was the overwhelming feeling as I looked forward to meeting all of my friends and putting in a good shift on the road. It felt great to pin on a number again and know that I was going to leave nothing out on the course – I was going to run as hard as I possibly could that morning and be the fastest runner I’ve ever been.

The journey down to the beach went quickly; Kynon and I walked a mile briskly and then ran a gentle mile and then finished up with a walk alongside the many other runners making their way to the start.

Reaching the beach I was curious to see if the usual brisk winds would feature on the Esplanade; the beachfront is notorious for being windy even on what would appear to be the calmest of days, but there was only a light breeze which offered some relief from the sun already beating down strongly at 0830. Although I’m not a fan of running in great heat, it was a huge relief to have lovely weather for the race after the continuous barrage of rain wind and snow (yes!) which we’ve had for weeks.

We arrived and started looking out for familiar faces. At last count, there were SIXTEEN of my friends who running this race! I didn’t have to look far before I nearly tripped over my favourite Gin-soaked Jogger, Claire, who was running for local charity, Befriend A Child.

After speaking to Claire and her boyfriend Adam, we spotted Ryan and his enthusiastic supporter, Sheenagh, who snapped a couple of pictures:

With Jim, Kynon, Brian and Ryan (pic by Sheenagh)

There was an awkward mass aerobic warm-up, which we all carefully avoided whilst making last minute preparations for the race. I had a bag which I was planning on depositing in the bag drop, but Sheenagh very kindly offered to look after it (thank you!) so I didn’t have to worry about my valuables being unattended. I took a High5 gel just before it was time to get in to our corralls, we wished each other good luck and went our separate ways.

pic by Sheenagh

Kynon and I elected to enter the 46-50 minute corral and head towards the back. Nerves were building at this point and we both stuck on some music and just focused on visualising the race. I was planning on maintaining a minimum of 8:20 miles for as long as I could and then see how I felt in the last mile or so. My biggest concern was blowing up too soon and running out of steam. I knew my knee would be ok – I could run through any pains that occurred but the only potential problems would occur due to incorrect pace execution at the start.

As far as I’m aware the race started on time at 0930 and before I knew it I had crossed the start and was on my way. Past experience made sure I started tight on the left hand side of the crowd to avoid having to take a wide turn at the first corner; I sneaked around it deftly and then the race really began.

Kynon and I had planned to run together as long as possible and for the first mile or so we were side by side. There are a lot of tight turns in the Baker Hughes 10k course so it’s important to run the tangents so you don’t lose precious time by adding distance. I was religiously checking my watch and kept my pace on or below 8:20; I kept having to reign myself in though as the temptation to let my keen legs run off madly along with the crowd was huge. I kept on looking down and seeing 7:xx, which is great, but I knew I’d struggle to hold that for anything longer than a few miles.

The course curls around the harbour before making its way on to the South end of the Beach Esplanade; we ran past many warehouses and supply vessels with workers standing outside clapping and cheering, or just looking on in amusement. Support is always thin on the ground at this point but soon, after a short incline, you find yourself at the end of the Esplanade looking North up the coast and you can see two miles worth of runners and supporters stretching ahead of you.

Up until this point Kynon and I had been near each other, taking turns to lead the pace. At least that’s how it felt in my head – I don’t know whether it was intentional on his part! Around the 4k mark he stopped appearing in my peripheral vision – I later found out that this was when he started having problems with a hip flexor and slowed to a walk to stretch it out. Somewhere around this point Rachel passed me; ‘Keep up!’ she said! Challenge: accepted!

I kept on pushing though and glided through 5k in 25 mins 48 secs which was bang on target for a new PB. Shortly after 5k there was water which I happily poured over myself; I don’t think it can have been much warmer than 15C or so at that time in the morning, but working hard in direct sunlight felt very uncomfortable for this winter-hardened Scottish runner. I took a few sips and washed out my mouth; I didn’t NEED the water to drink and I didn’t want to give myself a stitch by gulping it down.

Mile 1 – 8:06
Mile 2 – 8:29 (???)
Mile 3 – 8:13

I don’t know why mile 2 was so slow…

The 10k race is a funny beast – it’s just over so quickly! After the 5k mark it felt strange to be thinking that I was over half way done and that the pain would be over soon. I just kept pushing on down King St, never letting myself take the foot off the gas and telling myself I had no excuses – this is only 50 minutes of your life, you are not in that much pain, stop complaining. You know how it feels to run 3 miles and know you’ve another 30 miles to race, so to only have 3 to go today is a luxury – HTFU!

I had been told that my Grandad was going to come down and try and see me on the course. This meant a lot to me as he’s never seen me race before; I was looking ahead anxiously trying to spot him at the point where he said he’d be, and I saw him! I pulled out of the crowds and took the corner wide whilst waving and smiling; he gave me a big wave and a cheer which was a huge boost at a point in the race when I was really starting to hurt – 8k.

The course made its way around the high-rise tower blocks of Seaton and along the long, flat straight of Golf Road. In all honestly I started getting tunnel vision here and I really remember nothing of note. All that mattered was getting to that finish line as soon as I possibly could, but still leaving a little in the tank to tackle the cruel and challenging  hill by Pittodrie Stadium in the last kilometre. I began to get a stitch in my right side which impeded my breathing and caused me some nausea, but I was able to ignore it despite the nagging pain.

I reached the Hill and shortened my stride slightly and leaned into the incline. It always lasts slightly longer than you expect, and the extra bit at the top just when you think it’s over is a killer. I passed Rachel again on the hill and then finally reached the sign merrily proclaiming “400m To Go!”

Please don’t puke. Please don’t puke. Please don’t puke!

The stitch in my side was stabbing away and as I tried to push harder going down the other side of the hill I felt the bile rise in my throat. I just couldn’t get my legs to go any faster! My heart was thumping and I was wheezing from the exhausting of hauling up the hill; it’s a real sting in the tail of what is an otherwise flat race. Normally as this point I’d be accelerating into a full on sprint; Rachel pulled up next to me and we ran together for a few strides getting faster and faster but then I plateaued and she out-kicked me and sped off.

Mile 4 – 8:18
Mile 5 – 8:19
Mile 6 – 8:10
0.27 – 1:57

I willed myself onwards through the last few meters; the crowds were a blur and I felt like hell but I knew it would be over in mere seconds. Line crossed, garmin stopped, lean forward, stagger onwards, quell nausea. I looked at my watch which read 51:32 – a new PB; job done.

Rachel came up and we congratulated each other on a good fight as we staggered up the finish gantry. I grabbed a couple of bottles of water for us, but had I known that this would be all we’d get at the finish line I’d have taken two each. This is where my only complaint about the race this year comes in – there was absolutely nothing at the finish line for runners other than a 330ml bottle of water! No goody bag, no bananas, no lucazade/crisps/cereal bars…nothing of the usual post-race snacks that even the smallest of races manage to provide. Once you were out of the finish chute there was no more water to be had, and as far as we could see there was nowhere else to get food other than a couple of burger vans. A big problem! After a tough effort you need a pick-me-up; at the very least a banana or something sugary like an energy drink to tide you over. On a day like Sunday where runners were coming in DRENCHED in sweat; they needed more than 330ml of water. Baker Hughes is already at the expensive end of the races available in the North East and up until this point I’ve always thought the £21 reasonably justified since you get a closed road course, t-shirt, medal, water and food; however I was very disappointed to not receive any sustenance after crossing the line this year. In the end we had to crash the sponsors hospitality tent (sorry Baker Hughes…) to get something else to drink and found some fruit juice and milk.

Anyway; shortly after I crossed the line I found Sheenagh with Ryan, who had stormed home in 48:03, next up was Kynon in 52:44, Brian in 56:20 and Emma in 58:03.

Pic by Sheenagh

Lots of smiley, happy, running friends!

Shortly we managed to finally catch up with the rest of my crew who we’d missed at the start – Niall, Scott and Fiona – who came in at 59:35, 1:05:27, and 1:05:13 respectively. Unfortunately for whatever reason we didn’t get any pictures together! Perhaps everyone was too hot and excited to stand still for long enough; never mind, we’ll just need to do another race together soon 🙂

I was really pleased with my race. I know I didn’t hit my sub-50 goal but I feel that I gave it my all on the day and ran what I was capable of on Sunday morning. There will be a sub-50 in my future at some point, but I’m not worried about it for now. I don’t intend on doing any more 10ks in the near future; I’m toying with the idea of the River Ness 10k at the end of September as so many friends are doing the Marathon that day and I’d like to come up and support them, but for me right now all roads lead to distance, not speed. I had an odd feeling of dissatisfaction after the race on Sunday; it was just too short, not challenging enough, it didn’t require enough effort. I felt like I had so much more to give, further to go, longer to run. Even despite a new PB and pushing myself to what at that moment in time for those 51 minutes felt like my limits, I was left feeling a little empty.

What I did get from the day, was the amazing warm fuzzy that comes with running with friends; the shared experience, the highs and the lows, the stories at the finish line, the sweaty smiles. Running is an individual sport but there is nothing that I love more than sharing with with my nearest and dearest. Afterwards, we all met up in a pub for a slap up lunch and drinks and enjoyed the rest of the sunny Sunday. Young, old, fast, slow, first timers, old hands; we are all runners.

Picture by Claire

PB Prosecco!

Scott, Fiona and Niall

Adam and Claire

Kynon and I

Next up for me is the Dunblane Hydro 7.5 mile road race on Sunday with Kynon. This will dove-tail nicely into some more concentrated Half Marathon training for the Stonehaven Half on the 1st of July which will lead perfectly into 9 weeks of training for the Moray Marathon on the 2nd of September.

Baker Hughes Battle Plan

“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy” Sun Tzu

The 2012 Baker Hughes 10k will mark my 2nd anniversary of road racing and will be my 21st race! As documented earlier in the year this race was to be a goal race and my plan as I set it out a few weeks ago was to crack the 50 minute mark at the 10k distance. For me this is not an unsubstantial goal, especially coming off the back of an Ultramarathon where I was training happily at an ultra-pace of 10:30 minute miles. To finish a 10k in under 50 minutes meant shaving that pace right down to a minimum of 8:01 minute miles and applying the mental stamina built at the start of the year to conquer 33 miles, into transcending the pains of running fast. I used to laugh in disbelief when friends like Dave and Mike would say that racing a 10k was harder work than completing an ultra, but believe me my friends; it really is.

These days I would happily take a 6 hour running journey over a 50 minute suffer-fest. What I grew to love about ultradistance running was the time that you have alone to think over, strategise, travel, and transcend the distance. In a 10k race you don’t have a second to dawdle; if you’re going into it well-trained then you should be running purely on muscle memory from the moment the gun goes off ’til the second you cross the finish line. No day-dreaming, no appreciating your surroundings and certainly no mid-race cake. Shame!

As recently documented, my body hasn’t taken too kindly to my requests that all my miles be quick ones. Initially I found my pace creeping down easily and my interval sessions and attempts at tempo runs seemed to be making a difference. Unfortunately I hit a glass ceiling towards the end of April when ITB problems reared their ugly head and I found myself in a lot of pain. Perhaps this is my body saying it’s not ready to run so fast – when I pick my speed up one of the first things to go is my form; I feel like a bag of spanners when I run and I probably look like one too; with a marvellous heel-strike to complete the image! I’ve had two session of sports massage with a great therapist at the SPEAR clinic at Aberdeen Sports Village, but I continue to get pain after 3 miles of running and the day after a run it hurts a lot even to walk.

I didn’t mention this at the time but I also caught a cold at the end of April which went straight to my chest; I missed about a week of runs when the weather was cold and I was coughing up green sludge. I followed the rule that if your sickness is above the neck then you’re ok to run, but when it goes below…you stay on the couch. The cold has long since gone but for a week or two afterwards my chest felt so tight whilst running – perhaps I was sicker than I thought.

So when considering my plan for Sunday’s race, the above quote by Sun Tzu is painfully appropriate. In my case, the enemy is injury. I find it very doubtful that I am going to achieve my sub-50 minute goal on Sunday, but do you know what? I am ok with that.

On Monday night I ended up squeezing in a run between 9pm and 10pm after a work commitment and enjoyed 3 fast miles before the tightening in my ITB started to give way to pain; not enough pain to stop me running but enough to keep my pace down and make my heart sink. I completed 6.5 miles in about 56 minutes and came home and sulked. I sulked most of the morning the next day until I told myself to man up and figure out exactly how I felt about my troubles and how I was going to deal with them as by this point I was even pissing myself off.

Running is too important to me to spend half my time on the bench injured whilst trying to hit an arbitrary speed goal. In the last year I’ve developed my endurance and skills at distance running and found what I love most about running. It only occurred to me this morning that the last 10k I did…was actually last year’s Baker Hughes! I am not a particularly fast runner and I don’t even like running fast that much; there is no need for me to push myself to meet certain goals just for the sake of them. Sure, I’d feel like a bit of a bad-ass if my 10k PB started with a 4 …but I’d get far more satisfaction from training for and completing another ultra.

So that is why I’m setting the bar lower for Sunday’s race. I’ve got lots of fun running things coming up this summer such as the Ythan Challenge and being a support runner for my friend Vicki at the West Highland Way race so I need to keep myself in good shape. I’m sure I’m capable of a small PB so I’ll be happy with anything under 52:30 which will mean a rather chilled 8:26 minute per mile pace:

My ‘Happy Pace’ currently is about 8:30 minute miles which feels great – that is until my knee starts hurting after three miles. So I’m just going to play it by ear (knee?), run as hard as I can and take the pressure off by ditching the big sub-50 goal. Speedy Kynon will be starting with me and we may well run together for a while, but as far as I’m concerned it’s every man for himself once we’re over the starting line. Hopefully my competitive side will be engaged if he pulls ahead though, and I’ll be hot on his heels.

Whatever happens it looks to be a huge race and a great day out with so many of my friends joining me including several first-timers. Best of luck to: Kynon, Scott, Niall, Fiona, Morven, Emma, Claire, Adam, Ryan, Mcaulay, Rachel; and of course the Fetch massive: Corrah, Hamster, Mother Duck, Dawdles, Lesley C, Lou C…and all the rest. See you on the start line!

 

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