I’ve not raced this year and I’m not in racing shape, so I wasn’t holding out much hope for the race today. Indeed, I was very grateful that one of the ladies from club was coming with me; had it not been for that commitment I might have backed out!
Having done this previously off the back of London Marathon and from what I recall finding it tough, I’d decided to go easy on myself. The race plan was simply to ignore the watch and run by feel. I’m pretty good at not getting caught up in starting fast at races, and ultimately no matter what pace I’m running, the watch is irrelevant; if it feels hard, it’s hard.
After a relaxed journey with lots of chat, we arrived and, in no particular order, picked up our race numbers, visited the facilities, clarted on the suncream and enjoyed the social aspect of racing, chatting to clubmates and folks previously met at races, or on the hills in the case of Gus.
I wasn’t joking when I said I’d planned to warm up in the first couple of miles. However, clubmate Alison, also of Hidden Peak Running, motivated me not only to go for a warm up round the field, but to follow this up with some high knees drills on the hill at the finish, which when you see it on fresh legs isn’t really a hill at all! These drills did work and I felt my legs waken up a bit.
Before long it was 11 am and time for the off. After a short briefing, which made the course sound very long, we were on our way. With chip timing in place I wasn’t bothered at all about my starting position and happily held back to ensure I maintained my plan of running to feel for more than the first 100 metres.
The first half was very pleasant despite the fact that the sun came out. I maintained what I thought was a steady pace and felt comfortable; could happily have kept going, I think. Then we turned into the headwind and it all got a bit hard. Sticking to my race plan, I didn’t try to battle on and hold the pace, instead slowing down and continuing to run more by feel. As a result, this half was quite a bit slower.
Despite slowing, I wasn’t getting passed by others; it was apparent that those ahead of me were also slowing in the wind.
Before I knew it, I’d battled through another couple of miles and reached the 9 km sign. This was very much appreciated! I continued on, no idea of time overall until my watch buzzed for mile 6 and I clocked the cumulative time for the first time. This made me happy as it was 47 minutes something which meant I might just make the 4th club standard time (sub 51 minutes).
I gave it a final push as I came round the last corner and up the slope to the finish. Hearing someone moving very quickly behind me I picked up the pace as best I could, crossing the line in tandem with the other runner – he was 2 seconds faster than me on chip timing.
Banana, water and medal received, it was only later I bumped into another running friend (Alisa) and found out I could get my chip time from the van. I was delighted to find I’d finished in 49:37.
We’d not been fast enough for prizes, but in no hurry Ilona and I decided to hang around and applaud the success of others, including Michael, a coffee buddy on our Sunday runs. There were some pretty impressive times from many runners, including some of my club mates from Metro Aberdeen and it was a delightful surprise to then hear our names being read out as the 3rd female team! Thanks to Ilona and Alison for their efforts in this.
When I set out today I’d wondered if this might be the end of racing for me. It won’t be, as I’ve concluded that I do enjoy the race environment; it’s fun seeing friends and catching up with others. I really do enjoy the camaraderie.
I’ve also learned that it’s okay to run by feel and ‘enjoy’ it; I don’t need my watch to tell me how well (or otherwise) I’m doing as I’m in tune with myself.
Finally, there is hope! It’s maybe not the time I used to run, but with training I can improve again. First up, back to Pilates to work on core strength!
3 thoughts on “Forfar 10k Revisited”
Love this. It’s not really about times anymore. They are just a bonus. Well done xx
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So refreshing to read Clare – felt like that at Forth Road Bridge 10k at almost the same time and just enjoyed views..and hills!! Well Donex
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Glad you enjoyed FRB 10k, Rosey. I’m concluding that sometimes it’s fun just to race for pleasure, rather than going all out pain! 😆