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A lovely Friday evening, almost perfect racing conditions and a wee trip down to Silverknowes Beach in Edinburgh for the Run and Become Self Transcendence 5k Scottish Championships 2016.
I went into this race on the back of what had been a rollercoaster of a week physically, mentally, and emotionally. Physically I had felt more than a few niggles during the week and was in two minds whether or not to run. Warning signs – back pain, hip pain, foot pain, ankle pain. Not to the winter’s level but enough to make me worry. Happy or sad about this race? Couldn’t decide.
Mentally my work is currently the busiest and most stressful it has been in the 8 years I have been there with no sign of respite, more like the opposite. Emotionally, my son Louis is on the autistic spectrum and had a 4 day outward bound trip with the rest of the P7s in his school planned for this week. He has never been able to do anything like this before, not even a day trip, and wanted to give it a go but as we got to the day there were tears, doubts, emotional turmoil for him and for us but Elaine working her magic managed to persuade him on to that bus and away he went for the first time. A few days on a knife’s edge we had, but we got him home safe and sound Friday afternoon and barring a few “wobbles” he had had a great time, trying out different things and gaining that bit of independence. Words, the things I base this blog on funnily enough, cannot do justice for the pride I feel for Louis. I wish I could get inside his head at times, I really do, but I know how hard it was for him to move out with his comfort zone, to face the unknown, deal with the fear, and he did it. How dare I be nervous about a race when the wee fella gets himself through things like this? He inspires me.
With my Louis home, and happy, I could start to think about the race. The Legend in Lycra’s PB-mobile was again doing the honours picking up myself, Delboy Durnian and the Chairman for the jaunt through to Edinburgh. Last year this had been my first sub 19 5k (https://markgallmac.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/the-scottish-5k-three-is-a-magic-number/) and my hope was to beat my time from last year, and if my injuries stayed away to get as close to my PB of 18.23 as possible. Felt no pressure. Didn’t feel great in the warm up, but wasn’t bothered. Now that is a bit of progress. Met up with the rest of the MAC contingent and had a wee jog. Had a wee chat with Hamilton’s Stephen Duffy who is in excellent form just now, and a load of hellos with others. Tom Scott’s Bobby Hill was back running again and looking in PB shape. Sub 20? On the cards. The course was to be reversed this year, which made total sense as the start was a bit tight last year going onto the narrow path, so using the wide path for the first k or so was wise. I wasn’t sure where to stand as I remembered last year I was sub 19 and in the middle of the field. And we were off. Wee simple aim, try and keep as close to 3.40 per k where possible for as long as possible and that would see me roundabout my PB. The first k went to plan and I was through in about 3.36. The Chairman was alongside me which was fine. He had beaten me by a good 50 seconds or so at the Cambuslang 10k and despite having had a bit of hamstring problems since I knew he was in good form. It was strange to see the pace that would normally have me top 10 in a parkrun so far behind already. The in depth standard of the field was breathtaking and the field was stretching out already. I could just see the maroon vests in the distance of Cammy, Craig, Mark P and Chris, all battling for first MAC honours. Second K and through in 3.40. And feeling fine. Going to plan.
Third 3.39, 4th 3.39. Running steadily fast for me. And feeling OK. 1 k to go, coming up to the tight turn then it’s 850 metres or so against the wind to the finish. I felt fine. Strangely fine and calm and upped the pace slightly. Unless I died badly here the PB was in the bag. Then the ultimate dream sprung into my head. Project sub 18. Was it possible? Could I do it? I gave it my all, I really did and could see the finish, it’s just round the bend. The legs won’t go any faster but I’m going well. Get round the bend and realise there is still another slight bend and the finish was further away than I thought. It’s not going to be today. I can see the clock at the finish as 18 passes. Close.
A new PB by 16 seconds. Delighted. Disappointed. The dream that close. Could I have gone harder?
Oh shut up you numpty!!!!
Smashed the PB!!!!! The girl who has finished just ahead of me thanks me for pacing her last couple of k as she has taken over a minute off her best. Oooft. All around it’s PB talk. The Chairman in in about 18.40, the Legend in 19.11, Delboy in under 21 for the first time. Robert getting his first sub 20, Tom Scott Bobby smashing the 20. Up ahead Cammy in 16.40ish, Craig a few ahead of him, Chris just ahead of him. Magic stuff. Mark P and Stephen Duffy in the 17s. Jimmy P back and running well in the MAC vest and good outings as well from our Perth branch of Nigel and Angela. Magic racing. What a night. 50 seconds faster than last year and destroyed a PB I thought I wouldn’t get close to.
The sort of night that racing is all about. In with a lot of good runners. Not caring about positions and getting pulled round to the best of your ability. And a wee bit of bling to go home with. Brilliant.
Back into the PB mobile after a wee warm down and since we all had our PBs we could all get a lift home. Delboy won the Pickle challenge for guessing nearest to all four of our times and after failing to find a chippy in Edinburgh it was off to West calder for a well deserved fried food extravaganza whilst scaring the staff who we asked to take pictures.
A cracking night and event, enter it next year. Represent your club in a national championship and get a PB and medal? For about 6 quid? That will do nicely. Polaroid 10k series starting next week. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going after my best of 38.59 by the end of this series. After my 5k, 10 mile and half mara PBs so far this year it would be the clean sweep of PBs. If I fail then it doesn’t matter. But I am not going to be scared to give it a go, my wee boy Louis has made sure of that 🙂 Later blogpeeps.
Edit: disappointingly the official results are showing a time of 18.10, and everyone I know is out by a few seconds. I especially feel for EKs David Thomson who got his first sub 18 in front of me and has been given 18.01. Too much of a discrepancy for too many people for a national event.
“Take 5” was a 1991 single by the oft discredited Manchester band Northside. It’s a cracker. Give it a wee listen 🙂
Thanks to Bobby Gavin, Gordon Donnachie, Ewen Cameron and Me for the pics.