The Run the Blades 10k race is part of a "festival" of running organised by Breaking Strain Events taking place at Whitelees Wind Farm in Eaglesham. Owain had signed up to do his first ultra on the Saturday and as it was an early start (9am) we booked overnight accommodation nearby. The 10k was on the Friday and as we were going to be there anyway, there was no excuse for me not signing up for the 10k.
After an unsuccessful outing for my first 10k trail race at Crieff, which resulted in me falling rather spectacularly and spraining my ankle, I wasn't sure whether I was going to be fit to run this race. The Crieff 10k had been two weekends before and I had pretty much rested it since then. The swelling had almost all gone and I was managing to walk without any pain at all. I did a couple of test runs a few days before, just short distances, and all seemed good. My only concern was my fitness level and whether I would get round a 10k course as it had now been about 2 months since I had run anything over 5 miles. I decided that I would pack my running stuff to take with me and just see how I felt on the Friday.
We had taken a half day from work on the Friday afternoon so managed to chill a bit having a leisurely lunch in our flat before heading across. By the time we checked in to our apartment, I had decided that I was running - although think Owain knew all along that was the case!
When I got out the car to go collect my number, my first thought was "My it's windy!" Perhaps rather obvious to others given the race was on a wind farm!! Before the race started, we caught up with a few friends also running the race - and also got to meet some of the good Samaritans that helped me after I fell during the Crieff race. We also met Daniel Gerber (@GlasgowOsteo), a local runner who we know through twitter, who advised that the route was pretty flat.
As I made my way to the start line, my plan was simply to get round the course and accepting that that might mean some walk breaks. The route itself was lovely, with loads of different trails, including some grass running and even some cattle grids. The pack quickly spread out in the first half mile or so and it was a lovely sight to see the line of runners heading around the wind farm paths in a glory of colour. I managed to settle in to a nice rhythm, not looking at my watch to see what pace I was running, just running to how I felt.
About half way round the course, a hill suddenly appeared and all I could see was people stopping and walking. At this point I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere near PB or a decent time, so decided that my aim would be to run the full 10k distance so I dug in and pushed myself up the hill, grateful for the support of the marshals at the top of the hill. Thankfully it evened out pretty quickly and I was able to get back into a regular pace. Not much further on we had to cross a cattle grid and I was rather amused to see Lorna, one of the Crieff Samaritans, turn round to look at me and I thought to myself that I must have clattered over the grid. However, when I spoke to Lorna after it was just pure chance that she looked back and didn't even see me.
After this point, the course weaved a bit and all of a sudden I could see a long line of runners tackling a massive hill. This is the hill that Owain mentioned in his blog with a sign at the bottom saying "Smile, it's just a small hill". By this point, I was really tired and tried to pick out markers to aim for to get me up the hill. However, due to lack of training my body wasn't co-operating and I had to admit defeat and walk. I did however attempt some running and bargained with myself that I could run for 30 seconds and then walk for the next 30 to get me up the hill. Anyone else have conversations like this with themselves?
I must confess by the time I got to the top of the hill, I had lost my mojo somewhat and allowed myself a few additional walk breaks. Thankfully the worst was over and the finish line was soon in sight and I was able to enjoy a nice "sprint" to the finish. Job done! I was a bit disappointed that I had taken walk breaks but two weeks ago I didn't think I would be running so soon so was pleased that I got round the course and was able to collect my fantastic medal - one of the motivators for me to complete the course.
(The blades in the middle spin round - how cool!)
I would thoroughly recommend this event to everyone, whether it be the 10k, half marathon or ultra. The organisation and marshals were great and as I said the medal is probably one of the best medals out there. I was also impressed with the goody bag provided by Whole Foods - normally the contents of my goody bag go straight in the bin but think I ate everything from this one. A huge well done to Breaking Strain Events for a great event all round.