10ks and Tigers

It has been quite a good week training wise.  After the high of a seasons best 5k last week and a good long run, I wasn’t expecting much this week as I knew I had to prepare for the Baker Hughes 10k and that I would still have to do another 5.8 miles or so once that was over.  Wasn’t looking forward to that much to be honest, but hey ho nothing else for it.

Was marshaling at Aberdeen parkrun yesterday at the furthest away point, so I got to run to my location and then jog back with the last runner and tail runner.  A lovely pre-race stretch for my legs.

This morning I was up around 6.30am which is unheard of on a Sunday, but needed time to get porridge eaten.  I’d packed a bag of things I wanted to take the night before and my kit was all ready, so it was pretty much eat and get myself sorted, which I did.

Picked up my partner in crime, Shona, just after 8.00am and we headed into town.  There was a minor panic when the road I wanted to go down was shut, so we ended up taking a bit of a detour, but we eventually managed to get parked very close to the finish at Transition Extreme.  Then to try and find other folks.  Always a challenge in a big crowd, but we did manage to find some of our friends.

There was just enough time for a last minute toilet stop and then we had to go and get into our time slots.  This was a vast improvement from the last time I ran the race, although it did mean that by the time there was quite a thin crowd of support and you were not even running amongst that many people.

I had decided that I would just see how I felt and go with the flow.  I felt really good and strong, so I just went with that, but I couldn’t help thinking that I should have really gone to the bathroom just one more time.  I thought I would be able to sneak into the public toilets at Fittie on the way round, but when I got to them they were closed.  I must say that I’d been looking longingly at bushes prior to this but though, no, I’ll nip into the loos, it will be fine.  Now that my hopes had been dashed I didn’t quite know what I was going to do.  I wondered if it was just my imagination or paranoia, so I just continued on.

Around the beach ballroom there were a band of street drummers.  That certainly gave me a boost, then ahead I saw the figure of someone in a full tiger suit.  I’d been following him right from the start but I was beginning to gain on him.  I set that as my goal.  There was no way I was going to be beaten by a Tiger.  I got to the water station at 5k and had a drink and then plodded on.  I could see I was still gaining on the Tiger but I still wasn’t within reach to overtake him, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be long.

Finally just around 6k just before we turned onto King Street I got passed him.  Had a brief chat (he sounded knackered), and I wished him well and off I plodded.  I should state that it was a bit breezy today, but thankfully along the beach the wind was behind us, but I knew that when we turned onto King Street and especially round Pittodrie in the last kilometer or so the wind would be very much in our faces.  I was not looking forward to that.

I kept plodding on and realised that my pacing was actually quite good.  I knew I would get a seasons best because I’d had such a rotten race at the Balmoral 10k, so I just pushed on.  Got past 8k and then the last water station.  By this time I was running into the wind and I knew there was a hill to come.  Thankfully my running with Myles Edwards’ Speedsters group is paying off.  I managed to get up the hill and at the top the marshals were yelling that it was all downhill and I only had 400m to go.

I picked up the pace and felt like I was flying (for me that is 😉 )  Before I knew it I was coming around the corner with less than 100m to go and my jogscotland friends yelling at me so I went for it and sprinted for the line.  My official finish time was 1:25:09.  I was chuffed with my time, but it was only when I got home I actually realised that this is not only a seasons best, but my second best ever 10k time.  Surely I shouldn’t be able to do this when I’m marathon training?  It just shows that the extra miles and work I’m putting in are paying dividends.

I found Shona or rather she found me, and after having a wander talking to friends and locating her fleece, we headed home.  After all both of us still had some more miles to do.

I grabbed some mini Soreen loaves and had a drink and then we headed out for another few miles.  I needed 5.8 to reach my target long run mileage so we had a bit of fun, ran around places we had not been before and generally larked about.  It also included a couple of stops to play on the swings.  Not exactly fast or all that serious, but it was a beautiful day and we were just enjoying being out in the sun and fresh air running and laughing.

That is what running is about.  Being out and feeling truly alive.  I may not be a great runner and I may never win any prizes, but the feeling of freedom and how alive running makes me feel is reward enough.  I think looking back at what has been a great day, the run this afternoon was my favourite.  Good company and good laughs.  What more can a girl want?

So you don’t think I was hallucinating, here is the Tiger:

Baker Hughes Tiger

Photo courtesy of Tony Jones

Well, that’s all for today folks.  In the immortal words of Bill & Ted, be excellent to each other 🙂

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