Friday morning and its the day after 17 x 200m reps with approx 1 min recovery. I also decided to run in my spikes for the full session as well, more about that in a bit.
I mentioned in my previous blog that I had been asked what my top 5 races have been and also what races I would really like to do in the future, I've been thinking about this quite a bit and I think I have my list - which is subject to change!
Finding it hard to rate them so I will just say these are my top 5 races I have ran but they are in no real order.
Tiree 10kI grew up on the Isle of Tiree and when I first heard that their was going to be a Tiree 10k I had to run it! I love Tiree and still have family on the island so it works in really well, I get to head home to see my family but also get to race a fun 10k. Its starts on one of Tiree's many beaches and then up on to the road. There is a out and back section, which I usually don't enjoy but there is something different about this one, maybe because I know the island or maybe I'm just in a different mindset for this race. Considering the island is so flat, this is a undulating course, not many flat sections but no real hills, just constantly rolling. The first year I ran this race I was very nervous, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to finish well and I had set my mind on winning the race, when I finished 2nd I was actually very pleased with my run, was beaten fair and square by a guy that ran out front for the gun and his pace was incredible, the second year I ran the race, again I finished 2nd and again by a faster, stronger runner - not the same person though, the third year I was more determined than ever, still believing I could and would win the race - I set off hard and took the lead, this time the nerves kicked in for the first 2 km, got a dry mouth and felt tired, soon got a cup of water and I felt much better and held on to the lead. At last! The finish is back down on to the beach and its a long stretch to the finish line, Mandy (my fiancee) started shouting and I thought she was saying the guy in second was catching me so I picked up the pace. When I finished and turned around to realise second place was a minute behind me I was over the moon and on the day I was the only person to get a sub 40 time, it was hot! Happy days!
Pitlochry 10kOnly ran this race for the first time this year but its already a favourite. You start on the main road outside Fishers Hotel and then follow the main road out of Pitlochry for about 2 miles and then you go in to the forest, running along side Loch Faskally and through the 'Enchanted Forest'. There are a couple of short steep climbs but this adds to the race. Really scenic and well organised, well worth the drive. The finish is also downhill so gives you a really good boost for the final 1/2 mile. Came 6th for this race which I was also really pleased with since it was a mainland race and I tend to be further down the finish positions for the shorter distances.
Edinburgh Rock'n'Roll Half MarathonI've ran Edinburgh Half marathon since I started running but the course has changed a number of times and who organises it has also changed. This year is was made part of the Rock'N'Roll series of races and the course, once again, changed. I would say that this year's change was for the best, it really is now an Edinburgh course. Previous years its been a case of starting in Edinburgh but then getting you out of the centre as quickly as possible and making you finish out at Musselburgh. This year however you started at the foot of Arthur's seat in Holyrood park and head out towards Portobello Prom then head back up towards Arthur's Seat via Duddingston then round the meadows and finish back in Holyrood park. Every mile there was a live band playing as well. Great race, challenging at times but still worth it, the challenge made a nice difference from previous years where it was out to the prom and then a out and back section to finish at Musselburgh.
Black Rock 5This is a race with a difference, held at Kinghorn in Fife you start at the bottom of a hill, run up it and over the top down to Pettycur beach. You then run out along the beach and if the tide is in your favour, or not in your favour depending on what you want, you wade out in to the river Forth around the 'black rock'. This year the tide was quite far out and we kept our feet very dry, which was a shame, I ended up going looking for puddles! Last year we were up to our thighs in water which was great fun. It's a race where you say goodbye to your trainers because after the race they are wrecked with salt water, sand and anything else you've picked up along the beach. Once you get out of the water, your legs are cold and heavy and its a long slog back to the road and then back down to where you started, now this is the sting in the tail....you take a left turn and run up the steep climb to the finish line. The only good thing about this hill is you tend to get a free beer at the end.
Loch Ness MarathonAs much as I hate the final 5 or 6 miles of this course, I would do the route time and time again. It has some great views along the route and its a really well organised race. Some of you may have thought I would say Edinburgh Marathon but I really don't like the course, give me an A to B route any day over a route where you go out and out a bit more just to turn round a cone and and then back along the same road you've just ran for another 6 miles!
Loch Ness has it's tough sections but because its constantly changing, a bit of up, a bit of down, some areas for spectators then some lovely quite sections.
There you have it, my 5 races I would run any year without a second thought. A future post will be races I want to do before I die!
As for last night's training, first session in my Mizuno spikes and it felt great. Noticed a couple of things I need to improve on but I felt more connected to the track and felt I was able to hold my form better in them. I wouldn't want to do too much in them though as they really are flat! Not much, if any, cushioning. Did expect my legs to be suffering today because of the lack of cushion but I felt fine. Tired from the session but no niggles from my legs.
Rest day today before Stirling XC. I've heard its a tough course, 9 km in total. Will post about it tomorrow!