Last years time: 51.30
Goal Time: Sub 50 (readjusted after injury – originally I wanted 46-47)
Actual Time: 48.36
Saturday was my first race of the season. It was originally planned to be my 3rd of 4th but due to injury this was now by 2015 debut.
For those of you who don’t know, Balmoral is not an easy run. It is set in the beautiful grounds of Balmoral Castle and winds through the estates grounds and forests. It is lovely and scenic however it has a monster of a hill about 4k in. I did this race last year and HATED it. However I vowed to come back and give it a go again as I knew I could do better.
I was very apprehensive prior to the race. I was definitely less prepared than I had been the year before. March and April have had minimal miles and only in the last few weeks of april have I started to get back to my usual mileage after this bugger of an injury. I had done 1 hill training session and the rest had just been trying to get some sort of speed back after a few weeks off.
As we started the race I knew the key was to set off slow and conserve energy for the hill. I was running with my dad (who turned 60- on the day!!) and I knew he would keep me going so I wanted to stick with him as best I could.
I could tell he was eager to push on in the early stages but I held myself back. I kept it steady and felt ok. I stupidly climbed a Munroe 2 days earlier so was a little worried my legs would be knackered but they seemed ok – phew!!
As we turned the corner on to the hill I knew it was make or break time…I ran for a bit then BAM. My legs died. I knew I couldn’t run the whole thing so I just walk/run up it. I was overtaken by so many people but my legs just didn’t have the power for it. The one plus was the hill definitely seemed shorter this year, I was delighted when I heard the bagpipes and knew I could soon make the descent.
Then a lovely stitch decided to rear its head. Goodness knows why when I ran/walked up the hill?! I had a stitch in the same place last year and walked for about a minute but this year I was determined not to walk after the hill. I wanted to push on and nail the 2nd half. I reached the 1st 5k in 26 mins…things weren’t looking great however I knew if I just pushed I could try and get sub 50. (that was the main aim as soon as injury reared its head and halted training) The stitch lasted for about 2k and was a royal pain. I felt I couldn’t push as hard on the downhill as it really was a sore one. As soon as we reached a bit of flat I really excelled though. I managed to overtake a lot of folk that had pushed past me on the hill and I went for it.
The last 2k take you on to the 5k route and I knew this was when I just had to put my head down and keep going. The crowd appears again here so I was just trying to keep going. My legs felt pretty knackered at this point but I knew I couldn’t slow down. As I came round to the castle the signs for 400m to go started to appear. At this point in the Glasgow 10k I started to push however today I wasn’t sure I had the energy so waited until 200m to go…In hingsight I wish I had just pushed that bit sooner. I probably would’ve shaved a few more seconds off the time and I am sure I would’ve managed.
I finished in 48.36 – 3 minutes faster than last year and the 2nd half of the race being around 4 minutes faster than the first…. I am happy that I have improved on last year however I wish I had had a full 2 months training before it and I know I could’ve been closer to the 45/46 mark! (Maybe next year…) Dad finished just a wee bit behind me – a 2 minute improvement on last year!
I know hills are definitely a weak point of mine so I really need to work on them however it goes to show that my half mara training must still be in there somewhere if even after an injury I have managed a faster time!
I have quite a few races lined up in May – I stupidly signed up to every race under the sun when I was fully fit and loving my half training. I am not putting myself under too much pressure for PB’s however I am back to full training so hopefully I can push myself back to my best and see what I can do.