The very short version of my EMF 10k race recap is that this race well and truly kicked my arse.
The long version involves excuses in the form of hills and heat. More specifically, a pale Scottish lass unaccustomed to running in the heat!
Let’s start at the beginning: I was hoping to get round in under 48 minutes – a good 2.5 minutes faster than my PB. The course is hilly – a big hill as you run round Arthur’s Seat, followed by an undulating route with one more reasonably sized hill near the end. I’d factored all of this in and (perhaps naively!) still thought 48 was doable.
As race day approached it became clear there would be an unfamiliar obstacle to deal with: the sun! Thursday and Friday were absolutely glorious – bright sunshine and temperatures in the high 20s. Perfect for a barbeque, not so perfect for a 10k!
Anyway, I lined up on Saturday morning still planning to go for 48 but well aware that I may need to readjust my expectations. The first couple of miles went in OK – a fair bit slower than the 7:40 pace I’d need to average overall but that was expected given the hill. “I’ll make it up on the downhill”, I told myself.
I did manage to make up some time flying down the hill, but the heat was starting to take it’s toll. The 5k sign caught my eye at just over 25 minutes and I duly adjusted my expectations. I reckoned I could definitely break 50, so that became the new goal.
Mile 1-3 splits: 8:06, 9:05, 7:11
At the water station I took a few swigs and poured the rest over my head. I’ve never done this in a race before and it felt amazing… for about 3 minutes after which time I was already dry and hot once again 😅
The wheels started to fall off a bit around this point. It was SO hot, there was hardly any shade and I was struggling. OK, sub 50 is out – a simple 10k PB will do. Surely that’s achievable!?
Mile 5, and the final hill loomed ahead. Honestly, on any other day I don’t think it’d be that bad but I was totally gubbed by this point. Mentally, I’d given up and was now firmly in the ‘just get to the finish’ headspace. I ploughed on up the hill, round the wee roundabout and onto the final stretch. There was loads of support here and, crucially, a downhill!
I managed to pick up the pace down the final hill, although as it levelled out it seemed to stretch on forever. I definitely need to work on the timing of my final kick. About 50m from the finish I was done, and preeetty sure I was about to throw up. So that was fun.
Mile 4-6.2 splits: 7:37, 8:22, 8:17, 1:43
Thankfully I did manage to make it over the line (without being sick!), clocking 50:21. If you’re wondering, that’s a 4 second PB. Hmm.
To not even manage a sub 50 was a bit disappointing if I’m honest. But, I have a new PB (just!) on a much tougher course than the pancake flat Stirling where I ran 50:25. So, that’s something!
Now it’s time to figure out where I can improve (early thoughts: more sleep, less chocolate, and more hill training!) and get back to some more structured training.