On Wednesday I headed down to Silverknowes, or Cramond as it is also known, for the annual Scottish Athletics Championship 5k race.
I've never ran this race before but I have raced along the prom on a Saturday morning a number of times as part of parkrun. This course is slightly different to the Saturday morning run. It's difficult to explain what is different other than you start at a different part of the prom and run around two loops at either end. I'll post my garmin map as it's probably easier!
The last time I had ran was Sunday afternoon and I was forced to walk 2 miles home. I think the 20 miles on Saturday from Edinburgh to North Berwick had made my legs a bit tighter than I had realised. All I could describe the pain as was shin splints. Rested on Monday and Tuesday and I was going to see how everything felt during my warm up.
Got to registration nice and early, picked up my race number and met up with some of the others I train with at Saughton and old club mates from Pitreavie AAC.
After some chatting it was time to warm up, time to see whether there was any pain in my shins. We all headed out along the course to see the first section which I'd heard can be pretty busy and narrow. After a nice easy 2 mile warm up with zero pain, the race was on!
On the start line, looking around, you could tell this was a serious race, a Scottish Athletics championship race. A lot of fast people were all trying to get as close to the start line as possible. The event isn't chip timed so every second counts!
After a short countdown we were off, everyone fighting for position, all trying to find a space to get in to their stride and usually at a parkrun, within the first 250 metres you can count the number of people in front of you and you have room around you. Not today! It was just a sea of club vests. The first mile went past in 5 minutes 30 seconds and it felt slow simply because of the number of people who were still around me and more importantly, in front of me! The only indication to me that it was fast was my breathing, it was probably heavier than it should have been at this stage of the race but I had decided I was going all out for this, my aim was sub 17 minutes!
I was heading back towards the parkrun loop at the far end of the prom and my main aim now was to try and get in to the loop before we were past by the front runners! This is a usual tactic that Mandy applies for me when we are running parkrun. If she can get in to the loop before I pass her on the home stretch, she knows she is running well. This just showed me how fast the pack was going on Wednesday evening and I am glad to say, I did manage to get in to the loop before the front runners made it back to me....just!
The second mile approached and it clicked by at 5 minutes 34 seconds. My main aim at this point was to try and stay relaxed and not to drop any positions.
As we came out of the loop it was a final push towards the finish line, into a slight head wind which really didn't help on the night. Still with no pain in the legs I was feeling OK. When I saw OK, I mean, my legs felt good but I just couldn't breath. I tried to relax a bit and I think that is where I lost some of the pace with the final mile clocking in at 5 minutes 47 seconds.
I didn't drop any places and if I remember correctly on the night, I even gained a place or two but it was tough! Telling myself that it was less than twice around the track before I was finished!! Digging in and trying to keep the pace going.
The aim was sub 17 but the mistake I made was, I didn't check what pace that would need to be on the night. I thought 5:30s would be OK, I was wrong, it would need to be 5:27s so from mile 1, I was too slow. The second mistake I made was to think I could run sub 17! All my training is for the marathon just now, not speed so to get a final time of 17:44 and to place 91st / 271, I can't complain too much. Although on the night I was gutted.
Again, it shows the strength of the field when a 17:44 puts me 91st! The first home was sub 15 mins!
It was a great event and one I look forward to doing again next year.
Well done to everyone who took part and also to the organisers.