Well what can I say about the Great Scottish Run. A lot it would seem, so get comfy you have a fair read ahead of you.
I entered the Great Scottish Run 10k in 2013 however was unable to take part on the day due to an injury. I went along to spectate as my 3 cousins and uncle were taking part and I have never wanted to run an event more. The conditions were great and the buzz about the city was fantastic.
This year I held off entering until September as I did not want to jinx myself after last year. This was to be my last planned 10k of the year as I am away in Thailand in November when the last local race takes place. Originally I had just wanted to run it with no expectations however it was also a backup in case I didn’t perform so well in Buckie or Elgin. As it transpired I didn’t do as well as I hoped at either of those runs but rather than aiming for a pb in Glasgow I had a new aim…enjoy the run. I hadn’t enjoyed my past two runs and put far too much pressure on myself to get a PB. So this time I had absolutely no goal finish time and no target pace. I wanted to run with no pressure or expectation and soak up the atmosphere.
The weeks leading up to the race went pretty well and I felt good with my running but unfortunately 4 days before the race a cold decided to appear. Thursday and Friday I was sluggish, couldn’t breathe through my nose and just generally run down. This was not ideal AT ALL however I was determined to still do the race.
I dosed up on Sudafed, Lemsip and all other cold medicines I could find and made my way down to Glasgow on the Saturday night. I was staying with my cousins and we went for dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant close to the flat. Everyone was looking forward to the races the next morning – two of my cousins, James and Alex were doing the 10 alongside me and my other cousin Catherine and my uncle Kevin were doing the half marathon. As I went to bed that night I just told myself to relax and what would be would be.
I woke very early the next day and was happy that I felt better than I had done in the previous days. My nose was still blocked and my chest was a little tight but I thought I would be able to finish the race no bother. We set off to George Square just before 9 and James, Alex and I did a wee 5 minute run to warm up. I could feel that my chest was a little tighter than I would like but I could definitely put up with it. Provided it didn’t get any worse. We then said our goodbyes to the rest of the family and wished Kevin and Catherine good luck before and headed to the start pen!
James had reminded me that there were pacers last year so we had a look around to see if we could see the 45 minute one as we all hoped that as long as we kept him in our sights we would all be happy. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any pacers so we just made our way to an open position to start the mass warm up. I never normally take part in these, I usually am too focused on the run ahead however today was a day of firsts and I got fully involved jumping around like an idiot and had a good laugh. It was then that I spotted the 45 pacer way way way in front of where we were and the 50min pacer just a few rows behind us. We decided to work our way a bit closer to the front but after pushing forward a few rows we decided that everything would even out once we were on the course so it wasn’t a big deal.
As the starter klaxon went off we moved slowly forward, there is a funnel just before the start so that it does not get over crowded and this worked really well. James Alex and I set off all around the same pace and headed out into the streets of Glasgow.
The start of the race heads straight up St Vincent Street which is a fairly steep hill. I wanted the first km to be slow so the hill definitely helped that happen and as we reached the top I could hear the Glasgow Rock Choir singing some Bruno Mars. This was a really nice thing to have during a race and it was definitely good to push you to the top of the hill. After this point I decided to put on my ipod shuffle for some motivating songs. I never usually listen to music when I run however after my past few runs of mental torture I thought I would rather have something upbeat in my ears to distract me. The first song to come on was ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen – excellent.
This pretty much set the tone of the rest of the race. I eased into a comfortable pace and when we crossed the first km mark at 4.46 I felt good. It was a little slow but I was more than happy with how I felt so I just kept it going. The next few k went by with crowds dispersed along the way and a couple of bands and pipers to keep you going. At around 2-3k Alex sped off in front and James started to edge away however when we hit an incline I seemed to catch James and he fell behind.
At this point it dawned on me that I was feeling good, really good. Not at all how I expected to feel. I kept my friend Alison in my head who had been messaging in the week just praying that I enjoyed the race and went with how I felt. So I plastered a grin to my face when we went past spectators and bounded along not giving a care in the world to what my garmin said. When I looked down at the my watch when I reached km markers my watch showed 4.28, 4.29 and 4.29 – steady pacing…but maybe a little fast. Who cares I thought, just go with it!
As I got to 5k I noticed that I had completed it in roughly the same time as I had done Buckie 3 weeks ago – the difference between the two races could not have been more opposite! I felt like I was running on air in Glasgow whereas I felt ready to collapse in Buckie. A thought in my head said well this next k will be the one that will kill you. But no, I put the music a little louder and a hilariously motivational song came on and spurred me on. By the time we were at the Clyde Bridge I was absolutely buzzing. I have honestly never felt so happy on a race before. I was just really really enjoying it.
As we came along the riverside there were a lot more people around cheering all the runners on and for once in my life I was smiling back at them. I knew I was going to have to dig deep for the next 3k but I knew I could do it. There were a couple of radio people out and about and I went over and high fived one – I honestly have no idea how I was so buzzing. It just felt awesome.
As we reached 8k you cross a bridge and turn and come back over another – this bit was tricky to keep powering through but I knew the finish was so close now. When we got back to the riverside I could see the signs for the half marathon route which people would be doing later. It was showing 12 miles so I knew we had 1.1mile to go, I checked my watch and thought even if I slowed right down I would still be delighted with my time. But today was not the day for slowing down. I have been running with my dad a lot recently and I have been doing a sprint for the last km so now was the time to put that training to good use. I gradually increased the speed and pushed on.
As we came to the ‘400m to go’ marker and turned into Glasgow Green I could see the finish. I thought just go for it, what have you got to lose? I did slightly underestimate how long 400m was but I was determined to give it all I had. As I got closer to the finish the clock was showing 45.5x and I knew I wanted to get under 46 – I pushed and pushed and as I got to the line the sub45 pacer was standing shouting “Keep going, you are all sub45 runners’. I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin and then looked down to see 44.39 – I could have cried.
I was absolutely delighted. I totally forgot that as it was such a large event we set off about a minute after the starter so the time on the big clock was not what I was doing. My official time was 44.41 and Alex did a great pb of 43.46 and James did another PB of 45.34 – we were all chuffed. Both Catherine and Kevin were also delighted with their half marathon times – 1.35 and 1.48 respectively. One of my best friends Heidi was also doing her second half marathon and she managed a huge PB too!! PB’s all round!!
I don’t know what it was that changed in that race in comparison to the two I had earlier in September but I am so glad I can end the season on a high. The race felt just like Baker Hughes all over again – I felt light as air and running felt easy. My legs did tier around 7-8k but nothing drastic and not enough to slow me down, it just kept me pushing harder. I think having absolutely no expectations or pressure ahead of the race helped massively. I run based on how I felt and only looked at my Garmin every now and then.
It is such a great feeling to get a PB, especially when it is unexpected. Hopefully with some solid training over the winter months 2015 will be a year of many more.
Do you find music motivational on the run?
When do you run best?