Sunday, 17 April 2011

Another one bites the dust

But fortunately it wasn't me. Although I did feel like it at various points during this morning's Balfron 10k race.

Actually, to be truthful, I did bite the dust at the end. I managed to stumble my way across the finish line, with a good spurt of speed for the last few metres, without disgracing myself and then promptly missed the bench I was aiming to sit on and fell to the ground in an unexceptionally ungainly manner. Just my luck that my first sports injury is a bruised behind, sustained after the sporting event itself!!

But the race was fun. Hang on, wait a minute, did I really just write that? It wasn't fun at all. It was 10km (6 miles) of torture. A bright sunny day and a start time of 11 am meant it was warmer than I'm used to running in and I was struggling with the heat and dehydration from quite early on. It was really noticeable when I got doused with a garden hose on the return leg and felt the immediate benefit of it. [Note to self to train when it's hot and hydrate well before my next race]. The beautiful rolling countryside around the Stirlingshire village of Balfron meant - sadly - hills. And lots of them.

It was a 'there and back' race, which with the hilly terrain was a torture. You know that the down hill you were enjoying on the way out would transform itself into an uphill for the return leg, and all you could do was slog up it.

But it truly was a beautiful location and the challenge of the hills did make it a 10k above the ordinary. And apparently I'm not the only one to think that. If you want to see footage of this year's race, try catching Sport Nation on BBC2 this week. I think I managed to avoid all the cameras but you never know. I'll be the one with the purple t-shirt and the tomato red face!

It has really brought home to me how much training I still need to do to be race fit. While my running pace is ok, my stamina and endurance need some work. If I'd been able to run all of the race, rather than walk sections, I would probably have got below my 60 minute target. As it was I managed a fairly respectable time of 1.01.26 and at the time I was pleased just to finish.

Regular readers will know that I only took up running last year and that this was only my second ever organised race. My first outing was at the Stirling 10k where I managed a time of just over 54 minutes. Lest you think I'm regressing, the Stirling 10k route is much flatter - and I think I probably had got my training more right for that one than this morning's attempt. But not one to be put off by challenges, regular readers will also know that I've signed up to do a marathon in October with the awesome Just Frances. This race was part of my training, as will be my next race in 4 weeks when I attempt my first ever half marathon. So far the furtherest I've run is 9 miles so I've got a bit of distance to build up yet.

And now for the shameless plug, I am of course not running the marathon solely for the pleasure of it. While the motivation was to keep Frances company, I've decided to use it as an opportunity to blackmail cash out of my friends, family and acquaintances for a good cause. You'll find the details on my JustGiving page - it really is as easy as point, click, open your wallet, repeat after me 'Help yourself'!. Go on, give it a try - you know you want to!!

Posted to The 52 Week Project on Flickr

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