Here I am, sitting in my little art gallery in Dumfries, getting my priorities right. The window hasn’t been changed, I’ve not checked my emails, phone calls or opened a tube of paint. No, instead I have a cup of tea and my lap top with my blog open in front of me. This is where obsession starts calling, I think.
Last night I was driven into Dumfries by my team coach (otherwise known as my long suffering husband) for the annual 10k hosted by Dumfries Harriers. It’s now in its fifteenth year and this was my second at the same event. Last year I came as a 10k race novice and, to be fair, I’ve only done one other since and that was in October last year. I don’t seem to be able to find races locally that happen on a day I can make it, i.e. one that I’m not working on. Either that or they clash with something else. I could have done the Glasgow 10k last Sunday right enough, but my training asked for a 14 mile run and I really didn’t want to split it this time.
According to their website Dumfries Harriers had 267 people enter the race and 234 actually finished. As it’s not a chipped race none of us know how many didn’t turn up, but I think it’s safe to assume that most people started. The fact that it’s not chipped also affects your time unless you start at the front. I invariably start my races at the back and try to work through the field, so I didn’t cross the start line for a few seconds after the clock started. No many seconds, I don’t suppose, but every one counts!
Pre-race I’d thought hard about my nutrition, especially in light of Sunday’s experiences. I ate well the night before, enjoying a frittata with potatoes and salad – a good mix of carbs and protein, breakfasted on porridge with honey and banana and lunched on jacket potato with baked beans. As the race didn’t start until 7pm, when I got home from school I had a Sci Mx Protein Flapjack (which was lovely!) and then just before the race I had a Maxifuel Viper Active gel. I may have been overdoing it for a 10k, but I wasn’t taking any chances. As it was at least one person flaked out during the race and many didn’t finish. It was very humid.
This is a very friendly race and I saw lots of well ken’t faces before the start. I saw the back of my friend George. I recognised him from the head band! I later asked my husband how George had done and he replied that George had finished about 10 minutes ahead of me and that he heard him before he saw him, such was the puffing and panting going on! George is great! There were others; Tracy, who I’ve worked with on and off for years in school, whose husband was running and I briefly met up with Nicola, who is also doing the Great North Run, before I had to leave for a warm up walk. I was still concerned about my right ankle. There is no pain, but it is stiff and takes a while to warm up. The first kilometre is hard going, I have to admit. I just have to have faith that it will ease and run through the stiffness. It makes me feel as if I’m hobbling along at the start; not a look to impress onlookers!
Before the event I’d tried to tell myself to run, not race. I didn’t go as far as to write this on my wrist, as I’d planned, but it was in my head that I’d had a hard run on Sunday and that I shouldn’t expect much from what could still be a tired body. I did, however, set my Jeff Galloway 10k app onto race day with a pace of 10 min/miles. I didn’t think that that was asking too much; I could always slow down.
I started, as I’ve said, from the back. I had my Garmin so I wasn’t worried about clocking an official time. I just hit start when I crossed the line. One thing I noticed is that everyone went out fast. I watched them all but a few disappear as I ran to the tempo of the music. Slowly I caught them up, without trying too, too hard and passed a few before doing my first walk break after four minutes of running. My ankle was still stiff, but walking helped to loosen it off – another benefit of run walking.
I tended to yo-yo with the same runners, catching them up and passing them on a run and then have them pass me on a walk. It caused some amusement and I became known as the “Yo Yo Woman”. I really hope that it didn’t put them off. I think it might have p****ed one guy off who couldn’t quite believe the pace at which I overtook him, only to see me walking a bit further down the road! I felt as if I was right at the back of the field, but I could see a few runners behind me.
Once I reached 3 miles I started to pass more and more runners who were starting to tire. Not having them catch up with me on a walk break gave me confidence to push home. I could see that my pace was hovering around the 10 min/mile and that meant only one thing:
As I headed into the last mile I pushed myself on. I overtook a couple of ladies I’d been yoyoing with for the last two miles and just carried on running. I took one short walk break just after the 5 mile point of about 10 seconds and then ran to the finish. I passed a few coming into the finish and, as I approached the stadium, saw my friend Nicola ahead of me. I followed her across the line finishing (Garmin time) in a PB of 62:34. I knocked nearly 3 minutes off last year’s time. I finished the race in 215th place with a published time of 62:47, which shows that it took me 13 seconds to cross the start line! There are no stats to tell me how far I was placed as a woman or in my age group. I can’t even work the last one out as no age groups are listed and I gave up counting the women ahead of me (I thought that was slightly too obsessive!) No medal for my achievements this time, but one of the best quality T-shirts around! I’ll happily take that!
There’s a bit of me that would have loved to have finished in under 60 minutes, but I’m really pleased with my time. I’ve knocked time off all of my distances so far this year, sticking to the run:walk:run method every time. If I carry on like this then I will soon do a sub-60 10k and I’m happy to bide my time. I’ve subbed a 30 minute 5k and a 2:30 half marathon so far this year, so the 10k is the next one to fall!
This has set me up really well for the Great North Run. If I can get my ankle moving properly, I’ll be very happy.