We swithered a couple of times before opting for this annual 10k. Being a Porty club champs race (and one without a Jarvie who was racing out west!) I felt I should prob support our Dunbar pals and their efforts in putting on a pretty damn fine 10k. Then Mary pulled a muscle and we missed the entry central thinking she would be too crocked. Then Nick reminded us of entries-on-the-day and (unrelated) Mary's injury got a bit better. We knew it would be tough as neither of us have been training for a 10k but nothing ventured and all that.
Limmer, (nearly) rhymes with winner
It was no time before I was regretting this decision. Actually it was Sunday 8am and I really felt like a lie in would be better than a whipping down the road. Not from Willie J maybe but there were plenty others lining up on the start line to share my scalp. And I knew I wouldn't even make the Porty team. Sad emoji. There are 2 trains of thought. One: wait till you are race fit and ready to do your best. No point in posting a lot of dreadful scores on your Power of Ten or getting beaten by dudes you'd normally never see in a race. Two: life is too short to wait for full fitness, go and have some fun, it's not as if you'd ever win that race, it's good training running at 100% and you might even enjoy it. I flip-flop between the two. It is quite soul-destroying putting in the same effort but achieving considerably less. But if I hadn't gone along I'd be sorry to have not been part of the mix, finding out my fitness isn't THAT shocking and besides it was good to see folk. Even if it was their backs during the race.
Stuart H set us off. It is some time since I last ran this 10k. It has changed route a couple of times and it covered much the same ground (not through town but up the hill on the other side of the A1) but in a slightly different order. Which kept my interest. David L set off in his signature way, gaining 100 yards over everyone within 200 yards. A small group followed including David M and Richard L. I had the abnormally good sense to hang back with Craig and a few others. I noticed a girl way up ahead set off with the leading group but she was burst in a mile or so and quickly drifted back behind me.
I think we got to the bottom of the hill before Craig opened up a gap on me. He was only just behind me at the Borders XC and I was pretty sure he'd take advantage today. I was trying to avoid getting into any battles early on and making things worse. My main target was sub40 though when I thought about the course (hilly) and the wind (windy) I realised it was probably not going to happen. I didn't try to chase Craig up the hill. I had thought about the pace I'd have to hold and practised it on the beach the day before. In no time at all I had been gasping and sweating and that was less than a mile. How would I keep that up for 6.1 miles?
I forgot to mention something about Saturday, April the first. (Apt?) Mary and I celebrated 22 years together. How time flies. Seems no time since we moved into Easter Road together. When I say celebrated, I really mean noticed. Well she reminded me. I had a couple of glasses of wine and she didn't.
I tried to tune out on the hill and just let a few of the guys go past. David 'Big D' Fulton went past. I can only imagine he has been injured or was just treating it as a training run. He should have been way ahead before now. Towards the top of the hill a guy catching up says "stick in there lad, nearly done" or words to that effect. Lad? I replied we weren't nearly done at all - not even halfway. He wasn't trying to wind me up, I think he was just trying to be encouraging and meant we were nearly at the top of the hill. I felt wound up and decided I would not let this so-and-so beat me like he clearly thought he would, him and all his advice! I caught my breath at the top of the hill and forged ahead on the long downhill, surprised I couldn't outrun this guy, who looked like he was in my age group.
going downhill with Derek immediately behind
photo thanks Dunbar RC
By the bottom of the hill I knew we faced a long drag west into the wind. Since I hadn't got very far ahead of himself or the dude with the hair, I accidentally dropped the pace and snuck in behind the guy from Penicuik who spectators had been calling Derek. I let him take the worst of the wind for most of the way along parallel to the A1 before taking a shot into the wind towards the end. I thought I might have dropped Derek but he stuck fairly close. We did the underpass then turned left for an out and back. David Limmer was going past in the opposite direction, leading with a substantial gap. I shouted 'miles ahead' to him but he felt like he might be challenged for the last few k and kept up a good pace.
It was good to see the other David and Rich in the chasing pack. I tried to find the breath to shout encouraging things as did loads of Porties as we all passed each other on this section. From here we turned left and joined the concrete paths through the woods that finish the Doon Hill race as well. Derek went ahead and I was unable to match him. He stayed about 10secs ahead and I had nothing left in the tank. It is at this point that you regret doing races without the usual fitness. I checked up on Derek later and none of his Power of Ten pbs can match mine. On paper I should have beaten him easily. In real life he finished 9secs ahead.
On the upside all that racing had encouraged me to run just over 39mins (39.01 in the results) when I was kind of bracing myself for a 41 or 42. If you have been absent from races for a while it can be a bit of a shocking wake up call to find you have put on some weight and lost several minutes by the finish line. I had been feeling a bit chubby this last week - too many glasses of wine and too many (what do they call it when teachers get paid for writing up their notes with no pupils - in service days?). Well I have been taking days where I don't put on any paint. And facebook quite a bit. And I don't get paid. Well them. I've been having too many of them. Need to train harder. Mary mentioned this to Amy who, a couple of times, pinched the excess on my waistline. Yes very funny. Ha ha.
As it happened first 50 was a dude in a Clydesdale Harrier vest Michael D who ran a respectable 38.13. The fifties did pretty well in general with 5 of us sub40. Make a note of that all you young folk who didn't. Craig did a pb although there weren't that many doing pbs as the course was both hilly and a wee bit windy. Porty got a spectacular 1,2,3 with David L, Rich and David M. The Porty girls also won the team prize. Berty Boy was first M60 and Amy won an age group prize.
I was glad in many ways to have gone along and not found it as hard as I thought. Not that it was easy; more that I could've got a much worse kicking than I did. But it let me know how much work needs to be done. And the knee survived fine. Training can probably begin properly now.
Ian has a new blog.