Just over a week ago, Mandy and I headed to Killin and spent the night there so that we didn’t need to think about a 2.5 hour drive before the 10k on Saturday.
I’ve never ran Killin before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve driven past Killin many times on my way to and from Tiree but I guess I’ve never thought about the terrain.
When we woke up on Saturday morning, the sun was splitting the sky and we had a nice relaxed breakfast. With the race not starting until 12 we opted for a late check out at the hotel as well, it was great!
With an hour to go before the start I got ready and then headed out for a warm up. I headed a mile out along the course and soon found that it was going to be an undulating course. I bumped in to an old Pitreavie AAC friend, Martin, and he told me about the hill at 6km.
With that in my mind I decided to take it easy until 6km and then see how I felt. If the legs allowed, I’d pick up the pace, if they didn’t feel good then I’d just push as hard as I could.
I knew I wasn’t in PB fitness and with the undulating course a PB was never on the cards but I was hoping for sub 40 minutes.
With a couple of minutes to go before the start, I wished Mandy and Martin good luck and made my way to the sub 45 area of the start line, this was the fasted 'pen' so I felt comfortable being here. For a small, local race, it was really well organised.
The countdown started and then we were off. The course was roughly a figure of 8 shape, a small loop followed by a larger, hillier loop. We started off by heading down through Killin, across the bridge which crosses the ‘falls’ then a sharp left, along some forest track and then back on to the road. That was the first loop complete and now we were off around the larger loop and I was sitting 20th.
Due to the warm weather I decided to take a couple of sips of water at each water station but the first station was just past 2km and on a hill. Trying to drink water while going up hill and breathing hard is not easy!
Once I got past this point I relaxed again and I felt comfortable. I was keeping the hill at 6km in my mind but also feeling strong and wanting to do the best I could. I didn’t want to finish the race thinking I had more to give. I was making up places on the smaller hills and keeping and new position I gain on the flat and before I knew it, the hill was upon us.
I increased my cadence and reduced my stride. Keeping my breathing relaxed and before I knew it I was at the top of the climb! We headed along the road for a hundred metres or so, ran around a cone and then headed back up the road. I was still expecting a sneaky hill but I could see the other runners ahead of me and they were going downhill. I decided to go for it and start chasing the guys in front of me.
I chased for the next 4 km and made up ground on them but not enough to make up any further places.
My pacing was almost spot on for the entire race.
- 6:45/mi – the hill
- 5:49/mi for final 0.2
Maybe a bit fast on the first mile but then everything settled in nicely.
I’d do the race again, maybe with better fitness to really race it now that I know what the hill is like. It’s a lovely place to run and the Killin Hotel was a perfect location to stay, overlooking the finish line!