Another week, another race

It seems every post I am putting on just now is another race report and to be honest, it is! I've so many races planned over the coming weeks it's all a bit crazy. It seemed like a good idea when entries opened. Then you forget and before you know it, you have weeks of solid racing!

On Friday evening I headed to Cramond for the Scottish Athletics 5k road championships. A flat and fast 5k with a brilliant depth of field. 116 people finished sub 17 mins! 

The race is a great opportunity to race with others who are all going all out. I know parkrun is a timed 5k but it's very rare you will be in a pack all running at sub 18 let along sub 17 minute pace. I arrived in plenty of time, picked up my race number and timing chip and then went out to run the course for my warm up. I find it so important to get a really good warm up done, especially for the shorter races. A day sitting in the office isn't the best prep for a PB attempt! 

I headed out along the course, presuming it was the same as last year and soon found it wasn't! Just as well I went for the recce. We were running the course in the opposite direction than last year and to be honest, I preferred it this way. It meant we were running the first mile in to the wind and then we would have a long stretch of the wind on our back, finishing with just short of a kilometre back in to the wind. 

I got myself on to the start line, about 3 or 4 rows back from the line and waited for the race to start. 

After a short briefing we were off, straight in to the wind but due to the number of others around me, I couldn't feel the wind. I just focused on running fast! 

5km championships

I ran the course in 17:40 last year and I felt I was in much better shape this year, even after racing the previous weekend in Tiree. I'd had a good training session at the track on Tuesday and had done very little mileage since then. I was rested.

My plan was to run the first mile in 5:30 and then with the wind on my back, pick the pace up for the second mile and then for the last mile just run all out. It's nice to have a plan but once I was racing, that went out the window. 

First mile clocked in at 5:24 and the second came in at 5:25 but at this point I wasn't looking at my watch. I was just focusing on the runner in front of me and trying to either run with them or pass them and then aim for another. We passed the start / finish line for the last mile and my legs were screaming at me. I had no idea what pace I was running or what time, I just had to keep on pushing. 

There was a turning point mid way along the final mile and then it was back in to the wind and I had expected to be able to see the finish line from here but due to trees and a hill, it wasn't to be. I turned the mark and found it really hard to get the legs moving again. I had to make a real effort to pick the pace back up.
The finish line felt like it was more than 800 metres away. Some really strong runners passed me and I tried to run with them. I was trying everything I could just to keep it together. 

Finally with about 200 metres to go I could see the finish line but it wasn't getting any closer. 

Within the last 50 metres I could see the race clock click over 17 minutes. I did feel a bit of disappointment for not getting sub 17 but to get my official time of 17:08, it was still a massive PB, even if I count my parkrun PB from earlier this year of 17:36, I have to be happy! 

It was a really well organised race and the weather was almost perfect. When you look at the official results list and see how many people got season and personal bests, you know it was a fast night!

I think sub 17 could be on the cards for the end of the year, I just need to find an officially measured course to have it count as a PB, rather than just a parkrun PB. :)

Thanks Gordon Donnachie for the photo.

Owain Williams

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