Round the houses
I've ran Grangemouth a couple of times now. Last year I ran it in 37:03 and was gutted to have missed out on a sub 37 race but it was windy and I shouldn't have been so hard on myself.
Last year I ran the race without looking at my watch and I ran it as hard as I felt I could, I was going to use the same plan this year and see what happens.
Ideally I wanted sub 37 and to see how close I could get to sub 36.
The forecast wasn't looking good for Grangemouth but today, it actually turned out ideal. A slight drizzle in the air to keep you cool and the wind had almost dropped to nothing.
Today was going to be the first time I wore my new Ashmei compression socks as well. I thought the distance was short enough to give me a bash without having to worry too much about them.
After the normal 2 mile warm up and some strides, 10 minutes to go, I went and got my place in the starting pen.
It was a chipped race but I still like to get pretty close to the start line, just so I'm not held up behind anyone that might be going a bit slower.
My Garmin was set to display the time of day, all beeps and vibration alerts were turned off, this was going to be me and my body, nothing else.
3,2,1 and we were off.
The first mile always tends to be fast, adrenaline pumping and everyone keen to get a good start and today was no different. We started fast and I was passing people for quite a while, then I think maybe about 2 miles, 4km in, people started to pass me. Not quickly but small groups would come up next to me and just breeze past. I felt I was running as hard as I wanted to at this point and made a decision not to go with them.
5km, according to the road markers, and I felt I had been pushing hard. I felt sick, my legs were feeling tired but I wasn't going to stop now, I was half way there, all I had to do was focus. I had been followed by another runner for a while and we were changing position for the rest of the race. It was great because it really helped me keep my pace and keep on pushing.
7km was outside the sports centre, where the race started, and now it was the business end of the race. An out and back along the road. It seems to go on forever as well, but just past the 7km marker Mandy gave me some shouts of encouragement and then my Edinburgh AC Coach gave more encouragement just a bit further up the road. It really helped.
Up around a cone and this was now the final stretch, back down the road, I was catching some of the groups that had passed me earlier in the race. The guy I had been racing for most of the race had now pushed and I couldn't keep with him, as much as I tried.
My legs were burning now, breathing really heavy, only 400 metres to go, I regained my focus and gave a final push.
Round the back of the stadium we went and then through a gate, another shout from a fellow team mate (Laura) spurred me on and I went for the sprint finish and caught a couple of people to finish in 50th place.
I stopped my watch, changed the screen to show my finish time and instantly I felt a massive smile come across my face, not only was it a PB but I'd skipped the 36 minute barrier and gone straight in at 35:40!
It really felt amazing and in some ways, it felt even better to know that I ran it 100% by effort, not by pacing on my watch but listening to how my body felt.
When I had finished and had a chance to look at my splits, I was even more impressed. Yes, I did start off fast but I didn't blow up. My mile splits were
5:30, 5:40, 5:50, 5:51, 5:50, 5:49 and the final 0.22 was 5:13.
A lower mileage week, just 48 miles and this week coming is likely to be low due to going on holiday but I don't care. It obviously worked!