Guest blog: the Great Scottish Run 10k
Romy Beard has guest blogged for me before. I know her from the Glasgow Triathlon Club. Romy and I were chatting on Facebook recently about her aims to do more outdoor activities at weekends and to explore Scotland. You all know how much I love Scotland’s outdoors! Romy is originally from Luxembourg and although she’s been living in Scotland on and off for 10 years she is making it her mission to see a lot more of this country than she’s done before.
Here Romy guest blogs for me and tells us about one of her recent running challenges, The Great Scottish Run 10k, which took place alongside the half-marathon on September 5.
Romy says: After two great seasons of triathlon, and a super-fast 10k of 41 mins and 8 seconds at the Glasgow 10k in September 2008, I ended up with a shin/ankle injury, From December 2008 I had to endure a bad journey of no exercise, walking on crutches – and finally getting back into cycling and general fitness at the gym.
In January this year – as one of my new year’s resolutions – I decided to put the running to the test again. I am not a very patient person, but I knew I had to build it up slowly. I started off with running off road on the Pollok Park trails for 1 min a week in January, then 2 mins a week in February and slowly increased the time. In April/May I finally felt like I was running again, and that I would get back to my previous form.
Running the 5k Glasgow Park Run on 14th August made me realise that I had come a long way, and after two runs of around 40 minutes I decided to take a risk and enter the Glasgow 10k on September 5.
My aim was to run the distance – hopefully without any pains in my ankles/shins – and push myself as hard as I could considering the little specific training I had done for this. Realistically I knew I wouldn’t be able to run it any faster than 46 mins, but believed I could do it under 48 mins. It would be a great test.
My alarm was set for 8am but I was awake at 7.40am, which gave me enough time to eat my pre-race breakfast of 1.5 slices of toast, butter,and honey; put all the gear on; and still have plenty of time for the usual faffing. Should I put the race chip on my laces, or around my ankle? I changed my mind three times but in the end I went for the laces.
I left the flat around 8.40 and cycled up Pollockshaws Road, along the final 2.5 k of the race. Quite a few runners were walking or cycling up towards Glasgow Green, the Clyde Radio station was setting up, and I was becoming very excited. I locked up my bike on Glasgow Green, gave my legs a quick stretch and jogged/walked towards the start line on George Square.
Arriving with 25 mins to go before the race start I joined the long queue for the toilets and started the usual random chit chat with the women in front and behind in the queue. Then it was time to head to the start line and squeeze in between the runners raring to go.
The gun went off. The first kilometre was marked by the uphill of St Vincent Street, which was a nice challenge and already some people were walking. After the downhill we crossed the motorway and I was amazed at the lack of noise around me. All I could hear was feet hitting the ground and the heavy breathing around me. At this time the field was still quite busy. Nobody was saying anything, but we were all in it together. How I have missed this silent conspiracy between the athletes!
I saw the 1k marker and checked my watch: 5 mins 8 secs. Slower than I had wanted, so I picked up the pace a little. It’s always good not to start too fast.
The second kilometre saw us run up the slip-road of the Clydeside Express way and on to another nice incline over the M8 bridge. Like 2 years ago, I remembered how amazing it was to be running on a road that is usually full of cars. By this time I was sweating – although the sky was overcast.
The next two kilometres took us into Pollockshields. I live nearby and know the streets, which was a psychological plus. I found myself getting into a nice rhythm, but needed to watch the onset of a stitch. The field was spreading out a little bit. I really welcomed the supporters cheering us on.
At the 5k marker my watch said 23 mins 30 secs, so I just needed to put my head down and stick with it. I am no longer worried about my injured ankles, I just fought against my fitness and pushed my body. This was it, the heart of the race, just me against my body. The adrenaline was pumping and I felt slight goose bumps of excitement despite the heat.
Just before the first water stop I had a bit of my energy gel which gave me a little extra oomph, and I focused on my breathing. When we turned into Maxwell Drive I knew we’d soon be on the last 2k stretch of road that I had cycled earlier in the morning. I knew it was a slight downhill, but it was getting tough now. My stomach felt knotted and on the verge of a proper stitch, so I tried to take deep breaths in and just stick with my rhythm. I could also feel a little blister develop on my right foot, which stung with every step I took.
But then we were running past the Clyde Radio stand on Gorbal Street and the music spurred me on. I was smiling to myself and thinking: “I am running again! I can do it! I kept my promise to myself and my new year’s resolution!” When we ran over the bridge more supporters lined the side of the streets, and I wished I could pick up the pace a little – I knew it wasn’t far to go now – but the stitch was lurking there.
We entered Glasgow Green, where the path narrows. I could hear people shouting, and music, and I was smiling and my legs got quicker and worked towards a nice sprint finish. The finish line was further than I thought and when I reached it, my smile had gone and I felt exhausted. But I had made it!
After the race I went straight into the Holistic tent. There was a free spot for a sports massage and I got a nice rub down of my calves and hamstrings before I hobbled back to my bike and got ready for the gentle cycle home, where I showered and ate a welcome meal. I loved it all!”
Romy’s time was a superb 47:04. She had ducked under the hoped for 48 minutes and enjoyed the freedom of being able to run again. This is great inspiration for any wannabe runners out there – or for all those that are coming back for an injury. Why not make a 10k your goal for 2011?