Arbroath Smokies Ladies 10 Mile Race

Well this was the first race of the year for me.  I haven’t really managed to train as much as I wanted to, so my tactics were very much “let’s just try to get around in one piece”.  I’d been pretty nervous and unable to eat anything which wasn’t ideal, but I did eventually manage to eat a banana before the race.

First of all I would like to thank Elaine for driving and Shona for the company 🙂

The weather looked lovely as we headed south, however the forecast was for strong winds (disclaimer:  this has nothing to do with the beans I ate yesterday!).  Indeed when we arrived at Arbroath Sports Centre, it was indeed windy and pretty cold.

There followed registration and the obligatory trips to the toilet, although it was more a case of just to make sure.  Then we went for a group photo of all the Hazlehead jogscotties before the off.  Mainly because this was the best we were going to look all day given the fact that there was quite a breeze outside!

Smokies Jogscotties

After some more trips to the ladies, it was time to head out and wander up to the start.  This was the first year with chipped timing, although there was no mat at the start, it would certainly make their lives easier at the end.

The sounding of a horn signified that we were off.  I’d planned to follow a 4 minute run, 1 minute walk schedule as I knew this would get me round.  Not long after the start you turn left and this is when we headed into the wind.

By the end of the first mile it was very apparent that I was going to be last.  All the other runners were moving off into the distance, so I prepared myself for another lonely race.  Managed to the water stop around 2 miles and then started up the hill (thanks to Annie, Diane and Erin for your encouragement).  This is when the swearing started.

It is probably good that I was on my own.  I was cursing big style.  It is funny how you forget how tough a course is and yup, I’d forgotten that this was not an easy run.  The route climbs from mile 2 to around mile 5 and just to make matters worse, all of this would have to be done with a headwind.  Just when i thought it couldn’t get any worse, it started to rain!  I was not a happy bunny at all.

I just plodded on though and mostly managed to keep to my schedule.  Eventually I came to mile 5 and turned away from the wind for the first time.  It was pure bliss.  I reached some marshals and then the water station with the St Andrew’s Ambulance gentleman that does this every year.  I knew I would feel better now, and I had another bit of encouragement from Annie, Diane and Erin (although I would have happily taken a lift by that time) but I trotted on.

Then the downhill started 🙂  More bliss.  I felt like I was flying.  I knew I was tired, but I felt great.  No more swearing, I just tried to get into my groove and get to the end as quickly as possible.

Got to mile 7 without too much trouble, but then the rain started again.  More swearing followed but at least the rain was behind me.  I knew I had a hill to get up around mile 8 then a few more undulations and it would all be over.

My St Andrew’s Ambulance friend was keeping a good eye on me checking I was okay, but I just plodded on.  I made sure to thank marshals when I saw them, as it was a pretty rotten day to be out.  I think I even apologised to several that I had taken so long!

The last couple of miles were pretty difficult, but I pushed on.  When I turned on to the main road with about half a mile to go, the cycle sweeper (I’d seen him earlier around mile 4) cycled up again.  I’d made good time and he was surprised to see me so close to the finish.  I was very pleased to be so close to the finish, but didn’t relish the fact that I was back into the wind again.

Before too long I was coming round the corner into the sports centre.  The finish is on grass round the back.  I found it really hard to run by this time as my legs didn’t want to move and the grass was a bit uneven and rutted.  I managed to do some sort of weird run over the finish line (arms and legs everywhere) and stopped my watch at 2:27:01.  Not a PB, but over 6 minutes faster than last year, so I was well chuffed.

Goody bag was collected and I was most pleased to find out that it contained wine and a technical t-shirt:

Smokies Swag

Despite the wonderful spread of food I just couldn’t eat anything, so I settled for a cup of tea (which Elaine had to get for me) and then there was the prize giving.  To my surprise this year I won a spot prize:

Smokies spot prize

After all the prizes had been awarded it was time to head home.  Thankfully in the car I finally managed to eat something.

Need to work our fueling for next Sunday’s Inverness Half Marathon!

If you are at all interested my splits look like this:

1) 1m – 14:08(14:08/m) 83cal 1.9/2.36/hr
2) 1m – 14:35(14:35/m) 82cal 1.84/2.25/hr
3) 1m – 17:18(17:18/m) 82cal 1.55/2.2/hr
4) 1m – 15:13(15:13/m) 87cal 1.76/2.62/hr
5) 1m – 15:36(15:36/m) 97cal 1.72/2.63/hr
6) 1m – 12:54(12:54/m) 107cal 2.08/2.49/hr
7) 1m – 13:36(13:36/m) 101cal 1.97/2.49/hr
8) 1m – 15:07(15:07/m) 86cal 1.78/2.44/hr
9) 1m – 13:41(13:41/m) 101cal 1.96/2.55/hr
10) 1m – 14:06(14:06/m) 90cal 1.9/2.42/hr
11) 0.07m – 47(11:53/m) 6cal 2.26/2.42/hr

I’d just like to thank all my run chums and friends for your unwavering support as usual.  Couldn’t do it without you all.

Next week, Inverness and hopefully a shiny new PB.

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