I hadn’t intended to run two races today. In fact, I hadn’t intended running either of the races I ran today. I had intended to run the Alloa Half Marathon today in the first race in the Perth Road Runners Championship but left it too late to enter so decided to run the Errol 6K Race instead. My wife wanted to run the Resolution Run 5K Fun Run in Dundee so the plan was to support her in her first race of the year then head to Errol on the way back and she would return the favour. It’s amazing what can happen when you follow a different plan.
It was pouring down when we arrived at Camperdown Park and walked to find the toilets. We had arrived in plenty time and seeing everyone else turn up, I decided to enter and use it to ‘warm up’ for the race later. The trouble is, I’m not good at taking it easy in these kind of events and my body decided it wanted to race it instead. We headed out on the ‘undulating’ course, which was rather muddy and a great deal more challenging by now. I was aware of one guy behind me but as we got to the top of one of the hills, I noticed I was now out on my own. The hill work and cross country races I’ve done over the last few months certainly paid off. I was now in a position I’ve never been in before, in the lead. The last 2k was mostly downhill and flat, with an uphill section in the last 200m or so but all along muddy paths. I ran uphill and pushed for the sprint to the finish to dip under 22mins. It may have been a charity fun run but I was absolutely delighted to win my first ever race.
After waiting around for a bit after the finish, we made our way to Errol in time to sign up for the 6K. We had over an hour before the start of the race and I wasn’t too sure how this was going to play out as I was beginning to stiffen up and needing energy. I bought some energy shots at the little desk Sweatshop had set up and with a drink of water, I was ready to run. I tried not to jog too much to warm up as I knew it would impact on my performance in the race.
I thought the course might be a bit easier with less mud bit how wrong I was. There was a stretch of the route, between 2 and 3k, next to the river and due to the heavy downpour overnight and before the race, was now very much churned up and worse than anything Dundee offered! Staying upright was the biggest challenge here and pace went right out the window. I’ve never been so glad to see tarmac! We followed a section which was mostly uphill but curiously, I felt I ran at my best out of both races. I felt relaxed and seemed to glide up the hill and past the 3 or 4 runners who were ahead of me. It wasn’t long before we were back onto muddy paths again and with a heavy downpour to contend with, I started to feel the pace a bit in the last 1.5km.
I normally run my strongest towards the end of race but this was about just getting to the finish. There were a couple of guys ahead of me that I would normally have closed the gap and probably beaten but my legs were having none of it. I decided before the race that I would be happy to finish in under 30mins but I was delighted to see the clock and dug a little deeper to find a sprint to finish in under 27mins.
I am delighted that I won a race today but I’m more pleased that I was able to maintain the same pace over the two races. For me, this is a bigger step forward even though I still don’t feel anywhere near where I want to be but I am a lot closer than I was yesterday.