A few weeks ago Mel asked if I wanted to do the Pitlochry 10k with her. Hmmmm, I wasn't *that* keen on the idea as I'm not really into racing that much, bar adventure/trail racing but I knew she was keen to have something to train for, for motivational reasons, so I decided I'd go for it. I was a bit nervous about how I'd cope in a race situation, not having done much road running before. But, over the course of the summer I'd done a few road runs and had done a 10k road run out of curiosity to see if my back could cope with it. The old back seemed to manage just fine, and so that was that, I was spending the remaining few weeks training on the roads rather than my favoured off road circuits.
I'd been out running a lot at the start of the summer, around 4x a week. But just 5k runs, with the odd 10k run thrown in now and again, but once the school summer holiday's started, my running stopped and training only began in earnest 4 weeks ago.
1st week I made the mistake of setting off on a 4mile run way too fast. I'd downloaded a load of music onto RB's old Ipod which I commandeered after she got a new one and was looking forward to having music to listen to whilst I ran. First track was a fast one though, and of course I was running to the tempo of the music, so by the time I'd ran 3/4 of a mile my right shin was in so much pain that I had to turn about and walk back. I walked for a while, then tried to run again, but no good. Once I hit the forest track by the river I tried to run again and it felt fine, so decided to stick to off road for that session, having no more troubles.
2nd week I decided I'd throw in some fartlek training over a distance of 10km to see how fast a time I could get. Bad idea! I burnt out really quickly going too fast too soon, and only managed the first 5k in 26 minutes as I had to slow down near the end. By then, I felt so heavy and wasted that I had to walk some of the way back and that's the first time I've ever had to walk during a run due to being too tired!
On my Thursday session, Mel couldn't make it as she was stuck in a traffic jam, so I decided to go out during the evening on my own anyway and ran a distance of 12km, and it was the most pleasurable run I'd done in ages. I drifted along slowly, listening to my ipod, watching buzzards eye up distant prey in the fields and the sheep grazing peacefully in the fields, rosehips growing and evoking memories of itchy coos!
The 3rd week involved interval training on the Monday, where I covered 5k in a time of 22.5 mins, really chuffed with that time! But there's no way in hell I can run like that over 10km! I was getting into it so much that I decided to go for another 10k road run on Tuesday, managing it in 54minutes. Then Mel managed our Thurs eve session and I ran another what I believe to be just over 11km. Uh oh, trouble brewing!
I know you are supposed to up your mileage when running at a maximum of 10% a week, so if I'd been running 15km a week, then this week I should have ran 17km max. But I didn't, I ran 26km that week, possibly more. And to make matters worse, I had a brand new pair of running shoes on and had been advised to break them in gently. But when did I ever listen to advice!?
So, it's Friday and my knee hurts a little from Thursday's run. An evening's bouldering session does little to help, with me falling off just about every problem I try, my arms weak and ineffective! As stated last week, I'd planned to run up a Corbett on the way to Andy's, but there's no way that was happening. The munros I did last weekend didn't seem to irritate my knee too much the days after, so I went for a slow 5k jog the Tuesday before the race just to make sure my knee was up for it.
It was ace! Tight and sore to start off, and loosened off after 1km with no more problems. Ice and stretch after and I reckon I can do this race on Sunday as long as I don't push myself I'm very tempted to go for another run on Thursday, but I manage to restrain myself.
Sunday looms, and the night before I am so nervous that I'm having nightmares about some guy trying to trip me up during the race and stab me! Melanie is just as bad, and she has butterflies in her guts, we both feel like,
'aaaaaaarg, what the heck are we doing here, look at all these fit people!'
There are just over 200 competitors, and most look like club runners bar the odd punters like us! They are using micro chips that we tie to our trainers, so it doesn't matter if you start at the front or the back, the timer will clock you when you run over the mat it's connected too, and will start timing you from that moment. Mel and I had agreed that we'd run together over the 1st couple of kilometres, so we wouldn't push off too fast and burn out. And oh I did try! Maybe for the 1st 1/3 to 1/2 km, but even running slowly, I was making gains and having to slow more and turn to make sure Mel was keeping with me. I couldn't keep it up for very long, and I felt guilty for about a nano second, before thinking feck it, I'm outta here!
'I'm pushing on,' I shout. Ipod on, and I'm off!
I lose count of the amount of people I overtake, but I'm buzzing, this is ace! Fist hill, slow down the pace, don't knacker yourself, you know you can't go fast up hills. Flat ground, pick up pace, wee downhill, let off the brakes and I'm off again, over taking more people. There's the 3km mark, there's the 4km mark.
'Oh, why has that person turned back?'
'NO WAY!!! They havn't turned back, they've turned over the bridge at 5km, ran through the woods, ran over the road bridge and are on their home leg. Jesus!! That's bloody fast! I'm gobsmacked, and a few of us cheer out in support, amazing!
Ah, there is the turning point, I'm feeling good. Over take more folk on the down hill here. Some uphills through the woods, keep going, keep going. Aaaaarg, stairs!!! Sod it, take a deep breathe, fight the pain and I bound up the stairs 2 at a time, over taking another 2 people, hurrah! Water stop on the bridge. Ugh, I can't run and drink, stop for a gulp, don't wanna stop! Pour water down my legs, pour water down my arms and throw some over my head. Another gulp, throw the bottle in one of the big bags, over take another person, and I'm on the home run. God, I'm hurting now! My shoulder is killing me! It feels like it's on fire, painkillers before the race don't deal with the burning nerve pain that's searing me. Ignore it, ignore it, push on, the pain will pass if you don't let it beat you down.
The first person of the race over takes me. A bloke in red, zooming past, so fast he's almost sprinting. Wow, he kept that in reserve! There's a couple of Perth Road Runners that over take me on the 1st hill. Back on the flat and I manage to regain my place in front. Not by much though, then they are past me again. Pick it up and I pass them. This goes on 4 times, until I reach a killer of a hill past a bridge over the road and the couple over take me again. I don't manage to catch them up this time. This hill is a killer so late in the day! Keep going though, this must be the last hill! I manage to over take another girl who had been ahead of me since the road bridge over the river. The hill must have killed her too!
There is the sign now for 9km. One more to go, yes! And it's all flat now. A bit of confusing heading down one of the side streets. There is a barricade and I'm directed to the right side of it. Aaaaaaarg, which way is right, I'm shouting down the warden,
'which way, which way?!'
He's shouting, ' Right, RIGHT!!'
'Aaaaaarg, I don't know which way is right!' as I run to the left!
The warden uses his arms to point rightwards, and I'm sorted.
Past the railway station, there is a short and steep downhill, let off the brakes, yeehah! Then there is one last hill, but it's ace because a crowd has gathered up there and they are all cheering away, mental! A quick dash and I'm over the finishing matt. Folk are trying to hand me cups of juice and bottles of water but I brush them off, I need to sit down! Catch my breath, then grab a bottle and someone comes over to remove my chip. Service or what!
I have a good few swigs, then go back down the course to find Mel. I spot her coming down after the bit where I got confused, give her my water and try to urge her on, not far too go! She looks as red in the face as I feel but she's made it, hurrah!
Back to the car to get changed, then it's off to the village hall for tea, rolls and cake, yum! The fastest person got 31 minutes, crazy!
I had really wanted to get 50 minutes but there was no way that was happening with the little training I did and Mel had been keen to get a sub hour, but she did really well to manage to complete the course as she got even less training than I did!
So, my time was 53 minutes and 19 seconds (which is a minute faster than my best 10k that I'd done of late) and I came in 11th in my category of Senior Women. Err, there were only actually 33 senior women that completed the race (more seemed to either enter and not finish, or their names were on the list but they didn't enter) But even still that puts me in the at the back of the top third and I'm mega chuffed with that! It sounds really positive thinking on it like that. There were 180 something competitors and I came 119th, and that doesn't sound as impressive :oD Even still, it's much, much better than I've done in my previous races.
My knee coped well, but did swell up again that evening, with stabbing pains on the medial aspect. But those have gone, the swelling has subsided some and it's back to a deep, dull ache that stops me from bending or kneeling down. Boy, I'm looking forward to a good massage on Wednesday!
A couple of photos will follow shortly, once I figure out where the software is for my mobile phone camera.