The Word I was Looking For – Blast 5k 30/5/2021

Ach I know, don’t judge me, I am supposed to be finished with all this blogging rubbish and here I am, two in just over a week. Racing is back though, though thankfully for me the real speedsters in the M50 category don’t seem to know that yet, so lets all shhhhhh and not wake them up. Tip toe away quietly, this will all make sense later, I promise you. I’m trying to think of the word that sums it all up as well, hopefully that’ll come too.

There’s a race that take place at Gypsy Brae in Edinburgh every Sunday morning called the Blast 5k. If you have ever done Edinburgh parkrun or the Scottish 5k you will be familiar with the course, flat out and back down at Cramond. I was going to do it a month or so back but after my calf and back injuries I had to withdraw. Cat at Blast was good enough to let me defer my entry to another time which I really appreciated and thought it would be good to do it this week ahead of next weeks 3000m on the track. Now I haven’t raced an actual 5k since May 2019 when I ran 17.00 at Drumpellier. After that I did a few parkruns and was lucky enough to go sub 17 at Victoria Park but the naysayers were quick to jump in and tell me that was short so having now hit the M50 age group I realistically thought my chance of a sub 17 was well gone. Sub 18 would probably be a push just now to be fair, especially when I saw how my mile time had fared, however last week at training something clicked. The track speed training under Sensei Forbes and the Cambuslang Speed endurance I had rejoined eventually became friends and I could feel their connection. Tuesday I felt effortless going up the hills, and in the efforts on Thursday something just felt easier.

So aye, my head got daft. I decided to run this and having seen that the weather forecast looked kind I thought I had a chance, with all going well, of getting towards 17.30 with a real bit of luck. There was nothing to lose, treating as time trial to see what was in the legs. If I could get towards that 17.30 then I would be delighted. It’s low key, nothing could go wrong. Now another of Sensei Forbes’ proteges, Paul the statto, pointed out to me that the M50 course record had been set just a couple of weeks before, 17.09 by a fantastic runner from Perth. Duncan gubs me at everything, in 2020 he showed me his back over 3000m and half marathon so I don’t even know what he looks like from the front. “No worries” said Statto, “just hang onto him for 4k if he’s there”. Aye very good.

Left Motherwell in the glorious sunshine and arrived in thick fog in Edinburgh, bizarre, but this kept it cool and although there was a slight wind, for Cramond it was nothing. The conditions were almost perfect to be honest. I had no excuses not to see what was in my legs apart from what was in my head and in my heart, but today I was beating both of them. Still can’t think of that word, something was different. A full quota of 50 ready to go, a few GB triathlon trackies on show, Forbesy there telling me to go for it and we were off. No Perth vest but quickly a lead group was away. I was in the middle of a group of 10 as the pace was taken on. It was too fast, I knew it was, I eased it off a little and went to the back of the group but already a gap was forming behind. Here I made the decision, and I didn’t yet know if it was wise, to hang onto the group as long as I could. 17.30 needed ks in 3.30, the first k was done in 3.20.

Ooops.

Commit.

If you think you are beaten you are, if you think you dare not you don’t.

Second k also 3.20. This 16.40 pace, behave.

Up to the turn and in danger of getting dropped off the back of the rapidly spreading group of 10 but see there is a massive gap behind. If I drop I’ll slow too much. I am now holding onto Laura from Fife and Phillip the triathlete for dear life. It’s tough, the legs are feeling it, but again I am feeling relatively in control. I can’t find the word to explain it. 3rd k dropped slightly to 3.23 and I start to think that unless I have a total collapse then sub 17.30 in the bag. I could challenge that 17.09 course best. 4th one drops slightly again to 3.24 but I am not only still on M50 course record pace but sub 17 is a huge possibility. Now I have run Cramond before and due to it being so wide and not knowing the best racing line it has always come in long for me. I need to be prepared for a good 5 to 10 seconds the other side of 5k on my watch so I can’t get excited yet. I am hurting. Burning. Knackered. But I am in the zone. I want this sub 17, I may never get another chance. Somehow I up the pace. We hit the loop at Gypsy Brae and there is about 400m to the finish.

Pain.

Jelly legs.

But focus. Keep it going.

Down the straight knowing one bend to go.

The watch beeps for 5k though I still have a good 50 metres to go, it’s going to be close.

Launch for line. Stop watch. Hit my knees. Check watch.

16.48.

16 BLOODY 48.

Cat from blast tells me the chip time is 16.47.

Utterly gobsmacked, I don’t know where this has come from. At this stage not sure if any M50s in front of me so not sure if I have the record but smashed my PB beyond recognition.

I watch Forbesy come in, well under 19 mins, he’s annihilated his own M60 course record. What a morning!!

I do my cool down and I am in a daze. Drive home and still haven’t taken it in. I look at my Strava as if it is someone elses. The comments there and on social media. Is this really me? Did I manage that, a time that for me is way beyond any realistic hope I had for myself? Confirmation came through that I had indeed broken the course record. Now I know there are a lot of M50 runners head and shoulders better than me, but let me have this one even if it is only for a week. My first record since I was at school, I don’t have to tell you that was a long time ago and that it was in black and white. As I say, the big guns of the M50 age group haven’t even started warming up yet let alone racing but for this one week I hold a course record and am top of the Scottish M50 rankings for 1500, mile and 5k.

The word I was looking for? Quite simply “surreal”. I’ll bottle this one up and remember it as in a daze it’s all a bit bonkers. So here is why I am blogging it again, this is why I am writing this. This is utterly surreal and I can’t see how I can replicate this multitude of emotions again. Sometimes on the day it all comes together, and see when it does? It’s quite surreal how it all feels. Like an out of body trip 🙂

Anyway, I am not precious. M50s go take my record, I am happy to have it for even one week. This is a great event, pop along some Sunday and give it a go. Thanks to Cat and her team for a marvellous event.

Another song for the playlist, “The word I was looking for” by the marvellous Jazz Butcher.

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