Bassman again very kindly acted as chauffeur, bag carrier, and (reluctantly) clothing consultant. It was almost impossible to decide what to wear: it was sunny but with a biting cold wind, and rain was predicted about half-way through the 10k. Vest versus long-sleeved top? Jacket and vest combo? Long-sleeved top with vest underneath? Hat? Sunglasses? Gloves? Aaarrrggghhh! Bassman stayed calm through all of the deliberations, although I suspect that the distant look in his eyes as I wittered on meant that he had gone to a Happy Place inside his head to help him cope.
In the end, I opted for just my vest, no hat (too windy; it would have blown away), and no sunglasses (too pretentious; it wasn't that sunny). And my tights - which I had changed 5 minutes before we left the house for the race - were the capri compression tights that I wore for the marathon to remind myself that I can face and overcome challenges. You'll be pleased to know that all of my choices were the correct ones. Anyway, the race...
|View across the Moray Firth|
And then we took a sharp left turn onto a side road and started the climb up the almost 2km long hill that had looked bad enough when I drove up it in the car but felt endless on foot. I really really didn't want to walk for any of the race but at 4km and struggling to keep my breathing under control (and feeling a bit sick), I gave in and walked for a minute or so. This did help, and I managed to shuffle my way without stopping to the 5km point where there was a water station. Normally I don't drink anything on 10k runs but I was so thankful to have a legitimate chance to stop and catch my breath that I accepted a plastic cup of gloriously cold water. A few sips later, mostly taken standing still and pretending that I couldn't drink while running but really because I needed a break, and I was off again.
The next kilometre was a steep downhill section that I initially was cautious about, as I worried that my back might feel jarred by the impact but, aside from my lungs which were lagging behind, everything felt good so I picked up the pace. At the bottom of the hill, there was a sharp left turn onto another small road, with lots of undulations appearing in the distance. Sigh.
|How it felt, not how it really was.|
At about 8.5k the road leveled off to a very gentle incline which I really felt in my legs, and I had to have a serious talk with myself about not walking. Going slower was okay; walking was not. With 1k to go, we were back on the main road heading for the finish. I had miscalculated my iPod playlist - I was expecting to take about 70min to finish and had my songs arranged to fit this - so wasted a bit of time faffing about until I found my Finishing Music (Queen's Don't Stop Me Now). My tired(ish) legs and heaving lungs perked up and I managed to run at 9:09min/mile pace for the last 0.2 miles. Don't believe me? Here are my official Garmin splits:
Mile 1: 9:30
Mile 2: 9:43
Mile 3: 11:33
Mile 4: 10:04
Mile 5: 9:39
Mile 6: 9:53
(0.2 miles): 9:09
Finishing chip time was 1:01:28. I was 22nd out of 40 women in my age group and 115th out of 184 women of all ages, and 252nd out of 332 overall. Not the speediest, but not last either! And faster than my River Ness time on a hillier and windier course. AND if I hadn't had to slow down and then walk on that bastard hill, I'm convinced that I would have finished in under an hour. I was (and still am) thrilled!
It's now six hours after crossing the finish line and I'm feeling okay. I feel like I pushed myself but nothing feels like it's injured. We'll see how I feel tomorrow but maybe, just maybe, it's time to change my view of myself from someone who is injured to someone who is...a runner!
|Finally, a happy runner again!|