Polaroid 10k series – race 1 – Helensburgh

My back and groin issues were a lot better. The sun was shining. Elaine and the boys were coming to watch. The omens were good for a decent run. I managed to blag a half day from work and we got down to Helensburgh early, stopping off at McDonalds in Dumbarton for every else to eat apart from me. Arrived at Helensburgh at the same time as Chairman Ewen who was doing his first 10k in a year after a tough year of injuries. Great to see him back. He guided me around the start and finish sections of the course. Said a hello to legendary blogger Ian Goudie in the toilets (if a blogger blogs about a blogger in the bogs does the world explode? Let’s find out…). Time flew in and it was time to start. I really felt nervous before this one. Was worried that I’d mucked up the chance of a good run with that hill session on Tuesday. Worried that I had taken off my shades and then the sun came back out. I cannot help this mad panic in the run up to a race. Bang, we are off.

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It was a tight start with narrow road, many people and twists and turns. The first k had a wee climb as well but I was happy to get the first K out of the way without any bumps or ill effects in a time of 3.56. I was feeling pretty good, so decided to crack on in kilometer 2. In the back of my mind I thought today was the day I broke 41 mins. Second K in 3.50, but felt good. The next 3k I averaged just under 4 mins per k and that included another wee climb that I accelerated up on, and then narrowly avoided being hit by a car determined to turn into a driveway. I did shout an obscenity at the driver and that felt good. So at the 5 k mark I was under 20 minutes, totally unknown territory for me. I know that traditionally the 7th and 8th ks are my nemesis, that was still to come, but my mind starting to think maybe I could not only beat 41 minutes but I could get near my holy grail of 40 minutes. The 6th kilometre came in 4.02 which is perfect. Kilometres 7-9 are along a straight road and I don’t know if it was my subconscious or what but as soon as I got onto that road I felt the wind. Against me. It affected my form, it affected my head. 7th k was in 4.10, 8th in 4.08. I was blowing it and struggling. Was fighting really hard to try and pick the pace back up and knew that the sub 40 was slipping away. I was still going to smash my best though, no doubt. 9th k in 4.03 so was picking up then we were heading down toward the finish. I knew that even a 4 minute last k would have me outside 40 so I went for it, if I blew up then I was still going to get a new PB. My legs were burning, I was hurting, round the final corner up to the school and I was flat out sprinting. I got over the line and checked my watch.

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My final k was in 3.37 and I had a new PB …. wait for it….. 39 mins and 40 seconds. 1  minute and 34 seconds faster than I had ran before. OOOOFT!

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I jumped about like an eejit, people must have thought I was mad. Gary Lines, who had had a fine race ahead of me, was first to congratulate me, he knew what it meant to me. Graham and Ewen not far behind me, again Ewen desperate to know my time. What a return from him running 41 mins after the year he has had.

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Peter came in after another fine run, Chris followed shortly behind followed by Gary Woods (who had missed the start by 3 minutes and played catch up!) and Sean. All of us happy with our runs and rightly so.

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Off the lads went for their chippy. To be honest I felt too sick to eat, I waited until I got home and had these, although not quite the same….

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This 40 barrier was a big thing for me and I didn’t expect to make it. I have had so much support at the club and although I don’t like singling out, I am going to. Thanks to Nick Hughes, Jim White and Ewen Cameron for making me believe in myself and leaving my reservations at the starting line. Pressure off for the series and for the season. Let’s go and enjoy 🙂

A big thanks to all at Helensburgh AC and polaroid for a fantastically organised race.

Thanks to Elaine Gallacher and Andrea Cameron for the pics.

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