Self transcendance 5k race report

Blog post

Cramond 5 km - Scottish Athletics championship race

Just over a week ago, it was the self transcendence 5 km which is also a Scottish athletics championship race. With 400 runners, it's a good field of runners. Some of the best in Scotland come along which also makes it a fast field. I got a last minute entry thanks to Adrian at run and become, the host for the race.

The race course is down at Cramond, along the prom. A very flat course but it's also at the mercy of mother nature. There is almost always a wind down there. It's also the location for the weekly Edinburgh parkrun on a Saturday morning.

I was feeling in good shape and felt that a good run could see me get a new personal best over the 5 km distance. Grangemouth 10 km had given me a lot of confidence for this as well.

Mandy came down with me and after I collected my race number and timing chip I went out for a warm up. Mandy went off and did her own thing as well. She wasn't racing but fancied a run.

The warm up

5 km is such a short distance. My personal best parkrun time was after a 4 mile warm up, it seems crazy that I need to run further than the race distance (3.1miles) just to warm up! I headed out around the course, it felt like a cross country warm up. A pre race recce of the course, find out where any bottlenecks might be, find out where the wind might cause issues and generally get warm.

The wind was blowing well, but the rain had stopped.

About 2 miles in to the warm up I realised I was roasting! The numerous layers I had put on were keeping the wind off me but my body wasn't able to breath now!

I turned back towards where the race started and soon cooled down. It was going to be a head wind for the final mile of the race!

I got back to the car, took some layers off, did some drills and strides and then got ready to race.

Mandy had finished her run as well and was now wrapped up trying to keep warm and poised to take photos of the race.

The race

I made my way in to the crowd and took my place ready to start. I wasn't too worried about my position in the crowd since the race was chip timed. I wasn't racing for a position, just for a time.

We were given the usual safety chat and told not to worry about running over the timing mats because they weren't on.

Wait a minute, I thought this was chipped? It was only going to be a gun time, before I had a chance to move closer to the start we were off. It took a couple is seconds to cross the line and instantly I knew I was too far back in the group.

The people I usually run near were way ahead of me! I picked up my pace and made my way through the crowds. Just past the 1 km marker I felt I was probably as far up the field as I wanted to be and relaxed in to a pace.

As with previous races, I turned off all my pace screens and distance screens on my GPS and just ran by how I felt and I was feeling quick. The first 1 km was in to the wind but now with wind on our backs the race was feeling good.

For the next kilometre and a bit I was running with fellow Edinburgh AC runners, Laura (@lcdunn) and Iain (@impt87), but they were starting to pull away and I felt like I was already working close to my max so I let them go.

I was slowly working my way through the field, keeping the effort level high and chasing the personal best.

We were approaching the turn around point and it was now time to focus on my posture and stride, keep relaxed and let the training kick in. We've trained in some pretty bad weather over the winter, sleet and gales, this is when we put this training in to action.

Coming out of the loop, I caught Laura and she gave me a quick shout of encouragement.  She is just coming back from injury so was 'talking it easy', this was my queue to put the foot down.

I spotted a small group ahead of me and I aimed to catch them, which I did, I waited a couple of seconds to shelter from the head wind then picked the next group ahead and did the same. Catch them, recover, go for the next group. I did this the whole way back for the final mile until I saw the 500 metres to go marker.

Just over one lap of the track, that was all that was left, so I gave it my all.

The finish

When I got close enough to the finish line to see the finish clock I was gutted. I felt I had ran a PB time and I'd missed it by 10 seconds. 17:50 was my finish time with a finishing position of 126th.

I've looked at my splits for the race and I can't be too annoyed, 5:38, 5:41, 5:38, so pretty consistent, even with the head wind.

I probably should have taken more advantage of the tailwind in mile 2 and I should have got a bit closer to the start line but it was a learning experience and one other thing I did learn is, 3 miles is such a short distance, you don't have time to make up any lost pace!

Looking at the photos that Mandy had taken, I hadn't realised it had rained during the race! I was obviously in the zone!




What now?

Well, I've had a week of training and last night I headed to the track for a half marathon training pace run. 4 miles, 4 minutes recovery, 3 miles, 3 minutes recovery, 2 miles, 2 minutes recovery then 1 final mile, all at target half marathon pace.

The splits were : (5:55, 6:00, 5:58, 5:56), (6:00, 6:02, 5:54), (5:57, 6:00), (5:54)

The 3 miles rep was split in to a 2 mile, 1 min recovery, 1 mile set because for some reason my guts weren't too happy with me! But I was aiming for 6 minutes a mile and I'm really pleased with the times. My legs don't feel too bad today either, although, the beast was hanging on my back for the last 3 miles!

A huge thanks to Coach Garry for coming down to the track last night as well, I think I would have thrown in the towel mid way through the 3 mile rep if he hadn't been there to keep me going.

Today is a rest day and tomorrow will be a slow run in to the Pentland to finish a 70 mile week.



Owain Williams

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