On Sunday Mandy and I headed through to Grangemouth for the 50th Anniversary race of 'Round the Houses' 10k.
We have both ran this race before and it's one of the flattest 10ks in Scotland and so one that Edinburgh AC tend to aim training towards.
I went with the hope of a PB but since Inverness half marathon, I had lost a bit of focus at training and my weekly mileage had taken a hit due to starting a new job, racing most weekends and trying to work out a new training schedule.
When I left my old job I was given a voucher for Run and Become which I gladly spent on some new racing shoes. As you can see from the photo below, they are a bit bright!
Thanks Lesley McGuire for the photo.
I plan on writing a product review about the shoes in due course but just now, back to the race.
For the first half of the race I was feeling good but then I lost a bit of focus and Jennifer and Adam (both in the photo above) passed me. I felt tired, I felt like I'd peaked too soon and a gap started to form between us.
It took me what felt like minutes to make up my mind what to do, let them go ahead or try and stick with them? Jennifer is an experienced racer and I finished just in front of her in Inverness half. Adam I've never raced with so wasn't sure about his tactics. I decided to tuck in behind the two of them and see how long I could last there.
Heading along the dual carriageway there was a breeze which knocked our pace down a bit. I did consider trying to pick the pace up but my legs were having none of it. We then started to head down the road towards the stadium where the race finishes - not before an out and back section though - and Adam was signalling to me to take my turn as the wind break, I felt really bad because I was trying. I always try and take my turn if a group is working together but I just couldn't get the pace to get in front of Jennifer or Adam.
Finally I found some strength from somewhere and finally took the lead. This was when something strange happened. I felt the pressure of trying to keep the pace up and I started to push. Not intentionally, not trying to drop the other two, I just felt strong and with just over a mile to go my legs felt alive again.
Adam took another turn at the front and not long after that, I went out front again and kept on pushing. Coming in to the final mile my feet were feeling great in the new shoes and my legs were starting to burn. I was racing!
There only a handful of races that I have ran that I felt like I have been racing, that sounds crazy I know but sometimes I finish and think my legs could probably have done more. This was not going to happen at Grangemouth.
Coming in to the final 400m, Garry, my coach from Edinburgh AC, was standing at the side of the road giving support. He shouted "400 to go, start winding it up!" at which point I did, I gave another push in pace. One lap of the track is what I told myself, I do this every Tuesday, I train for this.
Pushing hard, I passed a couple of runners as we entered the stadium for the last 50 metres on the track. My legs were screaming at me to stop but I spotted the clock, it was 35:19, I had to get under 35:26 for a PB so I gave it everything I had left and finished in 35:23.
A PB but can you imagine how I felt when I found out that my previous time wasn't 35:26 but 35:39 and my official chip time was 35:22!