RACE REPORT – Stirling 10k 2014

STIRLING 10K 2014

Official time: 45:50 – NEW PB!!

Overall: 364th/803

Gender: 52nd/165 senior females

Medal : No – instead we got a super bright technical t-shirt, caramel wafer, banana, milk and gatorade.

Last year this race was one that I was not particularly looking forward to. The weather on the day was horrific, my legs were pretty sore and it was exactly 2 weeks before I was going to run my first ever marathon so training had mainly consisted of high mileage and back to back runs. This year it also fell 2 weeks before Loch Ness (I should notice the pattern here!) and one week after having already ran a marathon, so needless to say speed work has been somewhat minimal and my legs were even more worn out that the previous year. But as it’s a local race and I can run it and get back to my weekend by lunchtime, I thought I might as well give it another go.

I had a bit of a lie in seeing as the race was only 15 minutes down the road and by 9:45am I was outside the Peak Sports Center in Stirling with my fellow Wee County Harriers, enjoying the atmosphere and cheering on the kids in the 2k run. The race also doubles up as the Scottish championship race for that distance and was packed to the rafters with tall, lean very fast looking runners who would fly around the course in times that take my breath away just thinking about, as well as the usual familiar faces I regularly see at events like this.

Wee County Harriers ready for the start of another fantastic race. (Stirling 10k)
Wee County Harriers ready for the start of another fantastic race.

At 10:10am we made our way to the starting pen and bang on 10:15am, we were off! This is probably the flattest 10k race I have ever taken part in so I knew I could get a good strong start and then my plan was to keep it up for as long as I could. The only short race I have taken part in this year was the Brig Bash 5 back in July where I managed my first mile under 7 minutes and then sat between 7:10 and 7:40ish for the following miles. I knew if I could do that again a slight PB might be on the cards as during this race last year my last few miles were around about 8 minutes and I struggled in the last mile or so. Were my tired, achy legs up to the challenge? I was about to find out!

I remembered to get nearer to the front of the pack as last year I got really held back in the first half a mile as the field spread out. Straight away I could see the front runners away ahead and disappearing around the first bend in the road and I got into my own steady rhythm and switched off to what was going on around me. Before I knew it my watch beeped and the first mile was over. The road dipped and then turned to follow the river around to Cambuskenneth, again all totally flat, and I was still managing to keep my pace up. Over the bridge, up a slight incline and onto the out and back road where the front runners began to pass us. Pushing on I concentrated on my breathing and maintaining a steady pace as I rounded the cone and started on the return leg. I passed a few of my club mates, exchanging high fives and well-dones and noticed that there wasn’t much between me and a few of my WCH friends, so again I dug deep and pushed on back to the main road. Coming up to 4 miles my legs began to burn a bit and I felt like I had slowed down considerably, but a brief glance at my watch told me that in fact I’d only slowed my pace to 7:29. This was possibly the fastest I had ever ran! All I had to do now was keep it up for another and a bit miles and it would be over…

The last mile. Things hurt so bad...(Stirling 10k)
The last mile. Things hurt so bad…

We flew back over the narrow bridge, back through Riverside and onto the second very slight hill in the race and this just about ruined my legs. I checked my watch again and the suddenly realised that even if I ran a 10 minute mile I’d still get a PB, but I had no idea how close behind me the next WCH runner was, so my competitive nature kicked in full force again and I flew round the last mile of the course giving it everything I had left. A large sign on a lamppost saying “400m to go!” was the final push I needed as I powered up to the finishing line and yelled with delight as I saw my final time. 45:50, which is 2 and a half minutes faster than my previous personal best. I was absolutely ecstatic! I wobbled up to the marshals to get my timing chip cut off and trying to stop my legs shaking once again.

Mile splits: 6:53, 7:08, 7:23, 7:29, 7:41, 7:40, (1:34)

No time for posing and smiles during this race... what a gorgeous look that is!! (Stirling 10k)
No time for posing and smiles during this race… what a gorgeous look that is!!

After congratulating everyone I decided to celebrate in the only way possible after the Stirling 10k. By running 8 miles home!

I think fast races may have to take a back seat for a while now. My legs were sorer on Monday than they were after my last 2 marathons!!! And now for marathon number 4….

Photos – Bob Marshall and Gordon Donnachie

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