A few week's before the race, Simplyhealth contacted me inviting me to run as part of their team and it seemed too good an opportunity to turn down. This race was my first 10k, way back in 2007, when my sister paced me round the route (thanks Marion :)). At that time it was based in the South Side of Glasgow but moved to the West End a few years ago. I had signed up to run the new route in 2016 but due to illness wasn't able to run.
I'm sure most of you will have heard about Simplyhealth but might not realise who they are or what they do. As the name suggests, Simplyhealth are a cash plan provider and have recently launched a new campaign #simplyniggles aimed at fitness-types - you might have seen me posing with their cute little mascot.
Owain and I have had a joint cash plan since he started his new job last August and we have managed to save loads of money on every day health essentials that we were already paying for. We pay a set amount every month and can then claim back amounts each year for a whole list of treatments including sports massages, dental, optical, acupuncture. The list goes on and on. It makes such a difference as it means you don't think twice about getting that little niggle checked when it is paid for as part of your plan. I have struggled with illness and injury over the last 5 years but this has been my most consistent period of running and I do think the regular massage and physio has helped. I have also recently got new glasses and prescription sunglasses also included as part of the plan. What's not to like?
You can find out more about Simplyhealth's plan at https://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/niggles.
Given I only signed up a few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling particularly race fit. I did have the advantage of completing the runr miles for mind challenge in May, running 75 miles during the month. However, there weren't many long runs in there. We were also on holiday in Fuertaventura the week before the race and only got back at 2am on the Saturday morning. As you may have seen from social media, we do take our running kit with us to get out and explore the area. However, this was set against our holiday being all inclusive and so there was rather a lot of wine, sangria and good food going on!
I was super excited to arrive home from our holiday to an amazing race pack from Team Simplyhealth with loads of goodies and a great running tshirt that complimented my tan perfectly :)
I hadn't given much thought to the race until we got back - but soon started panicking about arrangements for the morning. Normally I leave that to Owain to organise but given he wasn't racing it was left to me to decide on timings. It was quite novel having Owain accompany me to a race as it is normally the other way around.
After pestering almost everyone I knew who was running or had ran the race before, we hatched a plan and managed to get to the race super early and parked near the start/finish area. I had been provided with an entry band for a Team Simplyhealth VIP area but couldn't find the area which was a bit disappointing - I wanted to milk my VIP status! It did mean we had plenty time to chat with loads of runner friends before the start - and the main concern for everyone was the heat. Although I had been running in the sunshine, it wasn't any longer than a mile or so at a time with some photo breaks and so I was a bit worried as I have never enjoyed running in the heat.
Given all the circumstances, I quickly decided that my aim for the day would be to run all the way and enjoy it, rather than worrying about time or pace.
Although he couldn't take part in the race, Owain had pulled on his running kit to cheer me on at various points on the course. It was great having a personal photographer and cheerleader and means my race report can be told in pictures:
The start line: I can't remember what I estimated my finish time to be, but I was in the pink wave which was the final wave. The race started at 11am but my wave wasn't due to start until 11.20. I had thought they would keep the pens moving but no we had to stand and wait while the other waves made their way round the course.
2K: Owain had said he was going to be at the 2k marker so I was looking for him and thankfully he was easy to spot in his yellow Foxy Trail Runners t-shirt and I got my first hi-5 from him once he finally spotted me. As you can see, there were loads of people walking already - some had even started walking before turning the first corner! I was glad I wasn't running for a time as I would have ended up very frustrated!
5K: after a short walk at the water stop for a quick drink and to douse myself in water, I was soon back into my rhythm and enjoying myself passing those who had started off too quick.
7K: It was great motivation knowing that my sister and brother in law were going to be on the squinty bridge. As soon as I turned on the bridge, I managed to spot them standing with Owain about half way up and had to jump about like an idiot trying to get them to notice me! I headed over for a quick hi5, not realising my sister was filming me(not a pretty sight!) and stole Owain's water bottle off him for another quick douse over my head.
I hadn't realised at this point that the outside shower was round the corner - although not sure my body would have taken the shock of the cold water and so just ran on along the outside to get a little spray.
8.5k: Was starting to toil a bit at this point but was determined not to walk given how close I was to the finish. It was a bit disheartening having to run past the finish and loop back but at least I knew the end was in sight.
Finish line fun: I rounded off a really enjoyable run going in for a hi 5 with the commentator to finish. Apparently, he was rather impressed with the stinger I managed to give him so I must have still had some energy left :)
Overall, I had a great time doing this race, the atmosphere from the supporters and the runners was great and it was nice to just run for fun rather than stress about pace. A huge thanks to Simplyhealth for letting me be part of their team. It is true what they say, people make Glasgow!