I hadn’t had my best week yet again in preparing for this. Did the speed session at the club on the Tuesday night and the combination of my unrelenting niggles, and tired legs from Sunday saw me way off the pace and toiling on the 8 x 3 minutes session. I was very disillusioned after this one and more than a wee bit down. Thursday I went for the smaller of the club runs, doing about 5 1/2 miles or so. Again not feeling great. I arranged to see another physio on Friday. I’m no expert but knew that over the last month or so I had been getting worse. His initial reckoning whilst not identifying the root cause was that the previous stretches I had been given were inflaming my back in particular and making things worse. I have to rip up my exercises, do a week of basic back stretching and we will take it from there. Running peeps, I shall keep you up top date.
So onto Sunday and the Tom Scott Memorial 10 mile race, incorporating the Scottish 10 mile championships, to be held at Strathclyde Park. I probably shouldn’t have considered doing it but 1. it’s local 2. the Tom Scott facebook page has been very supportive of my comeback trail 3. it’s race no. 2 in in the very catchily titled (keep that drum roll going ladies and gentlemen) 2015 Motherwell Athletics Club Road Racers Championship and Leagues. I don’t have the miles in my legs to compete at this with the best of the runners in my division, so I knew there was to be no repeat of my first place from the 5k. When I was running at my best last year and did my half marathon PB, my 10 mile split was just over 1 hr 10 so at the start of the season beating 1 hr 10 was my aim. With my current woes I was being more realistic and wanting to beat 1 hr 15, with a top marker of 1 hr 12 if I got myself moving. Had a wee natter with Cambuslang’s Stevie Wylie who is running really well after a long spell out injured. I ran with Stevie for both Hamilton and Cambuslang and used to beat him regularly until youth/ Junior man level. Since then he’s been different class and has won this race on two seperate occasions. I had a couple of k jog with Tommy and felt every step but that’s the way it has been. Just had to hope it would settle down. No intention of racing hard today, or going out hard, today was going to be all about getting a rhythm and keeping it, so I settled back mid pack for the start and off we went.
After the usual first half k melee I settled into my rhythm. Four of my rivals in my league division quickly went past me, Paulo, Ross, Jim White and Scott. None of this worried me as today was all about my race and my pace to try and get round. Ross was flying in training and I expected him to be sub 1.05, and Jim was rapidly improving and I could see him pushing Ross. The first section was anti clockwise round the loch until just after the beach section at 3 miles where we take a sharp turn and start heading uphill. Elaine got a few pictures of me here from across the loch as she recognised my running style ( I’m not sure if that is good or bad). I was still within reach of Paulo who was about 50 or so metres ahead. Robert wasn’t far behind and I could see Jim and Scott battling ahead in the distance. My splits were pretty consistent at under 4.20 per k which was what I needed to trouble 1 hr 10. I was feeling fairly comfortable. Back was niggly but like last week it was runnable.
With the sight of Robert behind me I started to work a bit harder up the uphill section through the woods and onto the main road. I was getting closer to Paulo, Scott and Jim at this stage. To be honest Scott looked like he was toiling. I know he has had knee troubles. At about the 4 mile point Jim was striding well away but I passed Paulo and Scott in quick succession. Scott stuck behind me. I will start to talk about other non Motherwell runners as if I know them now, but I only actually know them from the results. Clydesdale’s Pamela McCrossan was setting a good pace so I tried to nip in behind her as Scott came back upon my shoulder. And he started talking to me about playing on the swings. Now don’t get me wrong I like Scott. And I like chatting when I am out training. But on a race? Shut it! I have to confess that I upped the pace here to try and get rid of him, not for tactical racing purposes but because he was melting my napper. And I did. Sorry Scott 🙂 Miles 5 – 6 were a long run alongside the loch basically the reverse of the start until we crossed where the start was and where many people were there to cheer us on.
I admit that I was feeling it a bit here, but the sight of my wee boys and Elaine gave me a new lease of life. The rest of the race now was basically once round the loch which I know like the back of my hand. I knew Paulo and Scott wouldn’t be far behind me, and knew that Robert and Marcus wouldn’t be far away either so I had to be strong. My pace was very consistent. With the exception of the first k and then the uphill section and the “burn off Scott” section I was hitting 4.16 -4.19 for every kilometre. Run going 100% to plan. I was having a good battle with the aforementioned Clydesdale runner whilst still seeing Jim in the distance. I’d get him another day. I made my move to get by Pamela on the zig zag hilly section at about 7 1/2 miles and started thinking about trying to reign in some of the people ahead of me. Just as I done this a Kirky runner went past me at speed. Keep the heid Marko. There were runners ahead. I could see a Hamilton top. I wanted to beat the Hamilton top. It’s a Lanarkshire thing. The bend at the top of the loch and it’s a mile and half to go. 2 targets. Hamilton top. 1 hr 10. I was on target for that PB and Neal Gibson of Giffnock North and Richard Murciano of Hamilton were going to get me there.
I got alongside Neal who gave me words of encouragement as I went past, and was just behind Richard then the wheels came off. My legs seemed to turn to jelly with 1 mile to go as the warm warm sun attacked my baldy napper. Pamela from Clydesdale was back again. And Robert Kingdom and Bella’s Louise Ross went past me at pace. I was starting to panic that the legs were gone and I would miss my target and be swallowed up by the pack including Paulo but I found something inside and kicked for that line. The next sequence of photos shows it better than I could explain.
I kicked off away from Pamela, Neal and Richard. I caught Robert, Louise was just too far away but I managed to outsprint Kirky’s Robert Rogerson, in Clare Barr’s words “a handy runner”. I actually sprinted! and it felt good 🙂 Sorry Robert. I think it is fair to say that if looks could kill I wouldn’t be with you today….
My official time was 1 hr 7 minutes and 53 seconds which was way better than I expected. Despite being gubbed by Ross and Jim I was delighted with my day. My performance had by far outstripped any expectation and you know, I can do better than that with proper mileage training. Third in my division when I expected to be maybe 5th or 6th. The next few days will let me know any further injury woes but I have to say that I’m quite positive after this run. Despite my interrupted training and caution I appear to be running as well as I was when I was at my best last year. Let’s see what happens physio wise, and let’s try and work harder. I am not writing off this season just yet.
It was nice to meet Bobby from the Tom Scott organisers after the race, you all did a magic job, thank you.
Thanks to Elaine Gallacher, Kenny Phillips, Claire Thompson, Bobby Gavin and Cameron Newell (Law & District) for the photos.