Glasgow 10k – Sub 45min (just!!)

Last weekend I flew up to Glasgow for a bit of a reunion with my Newcastle girly friends (Jen, Hayley and Eve) whom I worked with for 2 years during our first “proper” jobs in Gateshead Q.E. Hospital. Unbelievably, we hadn’t met up since my wedding day in 2013. Say whaaaa? Time to rectify this, stat!!

By coincidence, it happened to be the Glasgow Great Run series that weekend. Post Mexico, I was keen to get back into training before one week off turned into 2, and then 4… with a subsequent drop off in all the hard-earned fitness I had gained over the season. So, Jen, Hayley and myself agreed to enter the 10k as “a bit of fun”.

I hadn’t done all that many 10k races before Glasgow, and they usually followed a swim/bike, so I was a bit unsure what my legs were capable of going out “cold” and pushing hard – rather than just seeing what I have left at the end of an olympic tri 🙂 . My best ever 10k effort had been at the end of the Llanelli olympic distance triathlon in August 2015, a race I had gone to on my own to get some headspace. Arriving with no expectations, I had given it my all and finished with an 02:29:03 olympic race, 5th senior lady/4th in AG, and come away with a 10k PB of 00:47:46. I had done the Great North 10k in Gateshead in 2012 as a warm-up for the Great North Run, and got what I classed at the time as a decent result – 00:52:26. Then there was Frieth Hilly 10k in October 2014, 6 weeks after I moved up from Basingstoke with my then husband. A gruelling multi-terrain race which lives up to it’s name. I finished 42nd female in 00:58:22. Not fast, but it certainly felt like an achievement at the time.  The only other 10k I can recall is Cliveden XC 10k in January 2016; a tough, muddy 2-lap course with 120 steps at the end of each lap as well as the blistering cold to contend with. Having come off the back of a 20 hour training week in Lanzarote, my legs were definitely NOT fresh! Still, I finished 36th woman/20th in AG in 00:53:41 which I was OK with. Mexico run by all accounts was absolutely pants, and so I felt it best to ignore that result!

Anyway, back to Glasgow. Following a lovely meal out at a Scottish tapas place (yes, you read that correctly!) for some slightly off-piste carbo-loading, we retired to the sofa and watched a film before getting an early-ish night pre-race. I know what you’re thinking… we medics know how to rock and roll 😉 After a reasonable sleep, we were up and out the door in plenty of time to get the train into the city, even despite a certain someone faffing, who shall remain nameless! I had experimented with a new pre-workout breakfast (I know, I know, don’t try anything new on race day…), and my rice cakes and jam seemed to sit fairly well.

Arriving at the run village with not too much time to spare, we slung our bags on the baggage buses before making our way to the warm-up pen and finding a gignormous queue for the loos. By the time we reached the head of the queue, it was literally a case of pee and run! I will never learn…

My race tactics which had been emailed to me by Paul the day before consisted of aiming for a HR of 175-180bpm until 7.5km, and then upping to 185bpm max before “giving it the beans” with 500m to go. We had abandoned going on pace given that I was only a couple of weeks post Mexico, and therefore who knew how my legs would fare.

It was ice cold that day, and as I started I was a bit worried how my body would cope. However a few km in and I had settled into a steady pace, with 4:35/km or so on the watch. Being a reasonably flat, 100% tarmac run, I knew that if my legs allowed, I could push for a good time. Plus, the atmosphere at the Great Run events is always amazing, with locals lining the streets handing out sugary snacks and even beer, and live music on some of the corners. Always helps to keep the fighting spirit going! By half way in, I looked at my watch and was amazed to see that my pace had increased to 4:30/km. I can’t even pull that out the bag at Parkrun most weeks! The race continued with my legs and lungs feeling good, and my stomach behaving. By 8km, I was still holding well, and knew that I could try and up my game as per the plan. So, risking blowing up, I pushed harder and continued to focus on trying to pick the other runners off one by one. Having begun the day with a goal in my head of breaking 47 minutes, by the time I got to the final straight I realised that I was now running at 4:28/km average pace, and the clock above the finish gantry was still reading 44-something. 44-SOMETHING! To those who are “runners”, this might still seem pretty average, but I definitely DO NOT consider myself a runner, and this was a massive deal. I tried my absolute best to pick up my little legs and sprint for the line, managing 4:05/km for the last 500m and a solid 3:50/km for the final 100m.

My official chip time is listed as 00:45:00 on the nail (though they rounded up from 00:44:59.8, so I am definitely claiming a sub-45!), placing me 58th female, 32nd in AG and 542nd overall, with Hayley beating me by almost 3 minutes and coming an incredible 20th woman. #whippet !

A well-earned delicious brunch followed with our friend Eve, before we began to say our goodbyes and head home. My flight back down to London was delayed and so I had plenty of time to ponder my next 10k goal. Cliveden 2017 I hope to go sub 50 minutes, and fingers crossed I can get a PB at some point which starts with 43-something 😀