I left work early to get the train to Troon with my friends. It was a beautiful sunny day so I was excited to test myself in the heat. Obviously living in Glasgow you don’t get much in terms of Sunshine and after months of winter training I was wondering how I would cope in these conditions. I have been feeling deflated lately, genuinely knackered all the time. I was advised not to run this race at all as my focus should be my marathon but I felt not running it would be more detremental to my mental state approaching a marathon. I therefore assured my friends I would use it as a training run instead.
The train down was such a laugh I was quite nervous which was surprising to my friends as they assumed that a 10k would be a walk in the park for me as I run it most days. However I would rather do a half marathon race over a 10k. For me, not being a fast runner a 10k can often end in two ways. The first is I crash and burn and no amount of tech stops me running too fast in the first few KM’s. The second is I try so incredibly hard not to start too fast that I start too slow and feel I can’t make my time up. The result is I perform better running from outside my house! With all these thoughts going on in my head and me working hard recently trying to work out the difference between 10k pace, half Marathon pace and Marathon pace I was trying to work out a Strategy. So if I approached it Half Marathon pace I wouldnt be overly disappointed with my time. So that was it- I would try and stick to this plan.
We arrived at Troon in plenty of time before the race and headed for the toilet. We then went to the start line and stood and chatted for a bit before we were asked to get into line. My two friends Joanne and Charles were going for a sub 50- this is their natural pace so they stood in line. Joanne told me to start with them and keep them in sight so I decided just to do that. We started of very slow, it was very congested and as I looked at my Garmin the first KM was done in 5.13. This was probably a good thing. This felt very comfortable and probably too slow for Charles and Joanne. I could see Charles going into a panic and starting to speed up. Being his coach I said ‘Charles you are ok dont worry chill for another two’ I knew he would pick it up. I kept telling Joanne where we were pace wise when I noticed them both starting to drive on. This was too soon for me so I told them to go for it and knew that was them on their way.
I kept them in slight for another KM until I reached half way. I looked down at my watch at this point and I was just under the 26 minutes. I felt really comfortable at this pace so decided at this point just to negative split it and push on. I remember turning the corner into the water station where I was handed a cup that went everywhere! I stopped and took one sip of what was left and started to drive on. Still feeling half decent until I got to the hill at 8k. I powered up but my legs felt a bit achy at this point but once I got to the top it felt like I was heading towards a downhill. That will do nicely I thought- lets open this up wee yin. I could see Charles in front of me, Joanne was nowhere to be seen. I was super chuffed for her and kept her in my mind as I approached 9km. Her marathon training was massively paying off as her and Charles were normally very much same paced. The last 9km felt long as I entered the sandy bit again which was the issue at the start but there was no congestion at all this time and I found myself running along with an older chap. I could really hear his breathing and I wondered why I was never in this condition. I am sick of people telling me I am not giving it enough (btw they are spot on) so I took over the chap and told him to dig in- he nodded in agreement. I pushed on the end was there and I could see the clock at 52 minutes. Last 200 yards and I sprinted I had a few cheers of encouragement from my biggest fans (my parents) and a few from my pals at Tollcross Parkrun. I heard my big pal Iain pushing me over the finish line and I was satisfied. I might have just sneaked under that 52 mins which I could live with. As I kept moving the older gent tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for my encouragment. That made me smile:-)
As I made my way to the stand to collect my goodies I noticed Charles in front of me I gave him a bit hug but he was a bit knackered so I left him to it for a few minutes. I got my tshirt and noticed Joanne just in front. I knew she had PB’d it (48 mins) so I gave her a massive hug- she was delighted.
I went to find my parents who were a bit merry after a trip to the pub while we were running! My mum handed me my phone and good old Troon had already sent me my time. Ya dancer 51.24 and not broken at all! I was chuffed with that I think more because I had more to give and know after the marathon I can work on that. My wish last year was to achieve a sub 52 mins 10K comfortably and I was reaching that every time. I stood at the finish line and cheered on my friends who all did smashing. I am super proud of them all and what they were achieving. I think the only person who was disapointed was Charles. His time was 50.04 which I get he was so close to a sub 50 but he will get it next time, it’s all experience. Maybe Charles is a bit like me so I should have let him push on after the first KM (sorry Chaz)
Thanks Troon for a great night, organisers and helpers were awsome great goodies and cracking Tshirt. We finished with a chippy and a can of diet coke on the way back to get the train. I met a few running legends from twitter too. It was nice to see Jack and Vicki who got a PB- well done Vicki and Alison who I noticed slipping past me on the 8km hill. Thanks for the words of encourgement for Stirling.