Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Record Breaking Running

...........and I don't mean me.......though I did break a club record......but that's not the point here......

The decision about which 10 mile race to run at the weekend was almost an academic one, due to me having developed a great case of manflu after the weekend in Perth. I was having difficulty just breathing, and so the ability to sleep for longer than an hour seemed to have gone out of the window. Luckily, the bugs all stayed above the neck (so running actually eased the congestion), and by the weekend I was winning the fight. 

Saturday's 10 mile race was an inaugural one at Longtown, which my club was using as the second counter in our annual road race Grand Prix. Sunday's 10 miler was the 51st running of the Tom Scott memorial road race in Strathclyde Park, which was being used as the Scottish 10 mile championships, the West District championships and also the Scottish Veteran Harrier championships. The championship field would be a much greater test for me, which is why I opted for that race, though when I saw the beautiful wind free day on Saturday, I wondered if I'd made the wrong choice (but then again, I did have an extra 24 hrs to improve my breathing skills).

Sunday was also a clear day with no wind, though it was near freezing when I left Dumfries. Luckily the drive up the road saw the temperature rise a couple of degrees and as I have never been to Strathclyde Park without it being windy, it boded well for some good running.
And they're off.....

I had a slight drama right on the startline when my hair elastic snapped and I didn't have a spare. I didn't fancy running 10 miles constantly trying to get my hair out of my eyes, nose and mouth, but luckily my friend Fiona came to my rescue and lent me her spare one (note to self, secure your ponytail with 2 elastics just in case!).

The race was chip timed, but strangely enough their was no chip mat at the start. I guess the chips were there just to help with close finishes, but I hate starting at the front of races, as it takes me about 50+ metres to get my joints going. I still started my usual several rows back, but knew that I might have to actually get my head around racing right to the line if necessary (yes, I know most people do that anyway, but I've never been able to sprint so rely on distance).

Running with Fiona
The 10mile and 3.75mile race started simultaneously so it was impossible to work out who was racing who. I wasn't expecting an amazing performance after having the cold, so just ran on feel. Everybody seemed to go off incredibly fast, and although I tried my hardest not to be dragged along by the other ladies, I still went through the first mile in a much faster pace than I could maintain. I consciously steadied my pace to run my own race and was rewarded by being back in the leading pack of ladies at the point when the races separated. The long drag uphill alongside an amusement park seemed to go on forever, but when we finally returned to the lake shore, it was a relief to know that the whole of the second half of the race would be within sight of the water. Fiona Matheson and I were running side by side with Jennifer Emsley just behind, but at the head of the lake, Fiona pushed on and shortly afterwards Jennifer moved past me to chase her down. I knew that if I went with them, it would end messily for me, but I still had to give myself a good talking to as it would have been easy to slow down completely, and allow the whole field to pass me by.

Pushing to the line

Working my legs on the sharp rises made me realise that Jennifer was coming back to me, and surprisingly, I was just behind her again with a mile to go. It was tempting to just tuck in behind her, but as I know I don't have a sprint finish....and her legs are much longer than mine......I knew I had to go past early and then keep kicking.
I found it really hard to keep pushing all the way to the line, but managed it was rewarded with a shiny new PB, much faster than I could have dreamt of.

1 Race, 3 Medals...random!

Fiona had run a pressure-free race as her watch battery had died before the start, and so she couldn't keep checking her pace, splits and overall time. It worked really well for her, as she had a fantastic run, not only finishing as Scottish 10 mile champion, but also breaking the LV50 World Record for 10 miles........inspirational!
And, just quietly, I'm hanging on to that lucky hair elastic, as it was once owned by a record-breaker!!!

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