It was only when I returned home that I checked when I’d last raced. My last ‘proper’ race was in April 2019 when I ran the London Marathon. After that I ran a couple of hard parkruns (May/June 2019) and then had a period of less running and no racing due to plantar fasciitis. It appears my last effort at parkrun was in February 2020 and we all know what happened in March.
I’ve recently got new running shoes – 2 pairs – courtesy of Run 4 It. I went for my tried and tested Saucony Ride and wanting something different (if for no other reason than to keep track of the miles logged), chose the New Balance 1080. I’ve only worn the New Balance a couple of times, but I love them! I’ve therefore decided that these will be my marathon shoes and am keeping the mileage down on them to maintain the cushioning as far as possible. I’d planned to wear them today for racing; however, leaving them by the door and only realising this as I passed Stonehaven meant this wasn’t an option. Nor was wearing my usual race shorts as they were in the wash! This was not the best of starts!
My usual race warm up for anything less than marathon distance involves multiple toilet trips and a half mile jog at best.
Today, however, I’d planned 2 miles easy to allow me to get warmed up and increase the distance for the day. I didn’t get quite as far as 2 miles, but it was close enough!
Finishing my warm up, I met some fellow Metro runners and it was good to have their company ahead of the start.
10k is Hard!
I don’t run many 10k races and on the odd occasion I do I remember that they’re hard work! It turned out today would be no exception!
Having recced the the start during my warm up, I knew there was a gradual incline after a short distance so decided to try not to go off too fast. With so many club runners, it was a fast field and it was hard not to get carried along. However, I kept the pace comfortable and ran the first mile in 7:27.
The course ran alongside a fairly busy road for a couple of miles before turning onto minor roads. It was pretty much flat, only very minor undulations. Feeling good, I picked up pace and ran two faster miles, 7:11 and 7:12. These would later come back to bite me.
Into the fourth mile there was a water station. With hindsight, perhaps I should have bypassed it being a shorter race. As it was, I took some water, struggled to drink from the cup, and ended up wearing a fair bit of it. It knocked my pacing off and feeling it hard by this point I struggled for a short time. Ran my slowest mile here, 7:38.
Miles 5 and 6 weren’t a whole lot better. As is often the way for me in races, I was running on my own in no-man’s land. Over the last couple of miles I was passed by two people (if there were more, I’ve blocked that out); I don’t think I passed anyone. These miles were slower than I’d have wished in 7:32 and 7:35, any slight incline slowing me down.
Finally, having seen tantalising glimpses of Forfar, I was through the industrial area and under the bridge. The last little bit led up a wee slope and back to the start. I gave what little I had left at this point and managed to pick up pace to run across the chip mat, finishing with an official chip time of 46:10.
As always, there were some great performances from my clubmates, notably from the men with category prizes in each of the Veteran groups 40-60. Some great runs outwith the prizes too – well done to all!
After the excitement of finishing, I nearly forgot to cool down! Remembering that this was a necessary part of the marathon mileage for the day, I bid my farewell to Team Metro and headed off for a leisurely couple of miles, taking the daily total to just shy of 10 miles. I’ll resist the urge to go and run a couple of hundred metres now to even it off!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t initially a little disappointed with my time. However, the drive home and checking back the diary on return has allowed me to take cognisance of the fact that I’m marathon training and have been for some time. With a focus on London in October, I’ve been doing limited speed work and anything I have done has been short reps such as 6 x 800 metres, often with quite a generous recovery.
Today I ran significantly faster than marathon pace for each of my miles and this is on top of a fairly heavy week of training. The focus now is on getting the miles in and learning lessons for race day.
Essentially, I had a hard day, I got through it and I’ve learned from it and got a handle on where I’m at right now. Moving on, I’m going to focus on what went well today as there were definitely positive aspects and lessons learned.
Thank You Forfar Road Runners
Without running clubs, these smaller events wouldn’t happen, so thank you to all at Forfar Road Runners for organising the event. The marshals (and there were lots of them!) on route were great and all so encouraging. Please know you were appreciated!
Race Day: Notes to Self
1. Ensure race day clothing is washed and stored at least a few days prior to the event.
2. Wear the favourite running shoes for travelling to the race!
3. Rein the pace in for the first couple of miles (or at least keep it realistic in light of recent training).
4. Practise drinking on the run!
5. Enjoy it!