East Lothian sometimes feels timeless. Some days you just know that for thousands of years humans have stood and peered through the primeval soup that the air becomes, wondering if it's set in for the day. The ancient eroded volcano tops disappearing into the murky skies kind of take me that way. Sunday was one of those days.
On the way in, fellow Tweep Don was posting horrendous photos from a grey and gloomy Edinburgh. That put paid to any forlorn hopes that it might be bright and sunny over there. Ali dropped Carol and me off at VirginActive Omni. The staff wished us well on our run and we had some great running chat before heading off down to Holyrood Park.
I get sooo excited heading down to the gathering. I always have, whether it's a march or a demo or a concert. It's like there's a giant magnet pulling everyone in. As you get closer you have to go faster, you have to get there quick, it's happening, get there now! That lovely feeling that you're going to join your tribe, your ain folk. That and the wonderful chattering noise reminds me of the way that thousands of geese flock round Aberlady. It can be dark o'clock, but at this time of year you can hear the geese flying over, heading to join their chums, chattering away.
We tweepies found each other and took photos and chatted til we headed off to warm up (great warm up, really uplifting) and then run. As we started, the rain stopped. It was a lovely route. Johnny flashed by me on the long incline heading out of the park. I was so pleased to see him running so smoothly given his hamstring but there was something about being passed by a clown with a gammy leg that made me pick up my pace a bit.
I kept a steady pace as we headed down the Pleasance and into the Cowgate. The Cowgate is another timeless primeval sort of space. Reminds me of Blackadder, it's the kind of place that Baldrick might have been reared. It reminds you that there are tunnels and streets under Edinburgh, that there is a deep and hidden history here. It got a bit crowded at points, but I've learnt to run my race and not let others push me about, and that stood me in good stead. At 5' 2", attitude has to count!
Then into the Grassmarket where we got some waves and the smell of bacon rolls nearly, nearly got me. Next, two hills that I found a bit tiring even though North Berwick is much hillier, maybe because I was running quicker than usual. As we ran across the Meadows, we were really cheered by the folk on the Sick Kids bus. They were great, lively, smiling faces, waving us on - thank you Sick Kids!
After we'd gone past the university I realised it was more or less downhill all the way home. I've learnt from reading other runners' blogs to go for it when running down hill, and I did. That and advice in Women's Running mag to try a longer stride got me down the Mound, and down the Canongate lickety spit. It was amazing pelting down that ancient street and past the Scottish Parliament. As I hit the final turn, I sprinted. I fired my arms amd fired my legs and I just blootered it. I felt amazing. You can see from the photo how much I went for that finishing line!
I crossed the line, at speed, at 55.32, 1.02 on the big clock. I felt good, if a bit out of breath! So even though it wasn't a PB, (I did 52.something for the Race for Life 10k earlier this year) I was dead chuffed to be in under an hour. It made that first 10k feel like less of a fluke!
I picked up the goody bag, a pretty good one I must say, and the water and wandered off to find Carol and the tweeps. Everyone got round in one piece and seemed happy with their runs. We chatted, and wondered how the other tweeps, including Rhona and Jo, were getting on at the Loch Ness Marathon. Hasd the rain stopped for them? Were they getting on okay? We'd find out later...
Eventually we began to get cold so hugs all round and then we headed off. Carol and I went back to VirginActive for a shower and a bit of R&R before meeting Ali for lunch. A very nice reward!
A great day, and it was fab to meet up before and after with my tweepy chums. I can run alone and get the pre and post race banter, Bliss! Though I was sad I missed Karen and Grieg who were also running and also Colin who was right up there near the front. Next time maybe.
So, that's me done my second 10K and my fourth race. I quite like 10ks, they're a reasonable run but you can also get a bit of speed in without totally knackering yourself. I liked my half marathon too. But something shifted on that 10K.
It was my first run since I signed up for the marathon. This 10k wasn't about just getting round, this was the beginning of a new phase. A new mindset, a new attitude. I am already taking a more scientific approach. I am going to have to get disciplined and serious. I am going to have to think about strategy and pacing, hydration and energy. I am going to use races and racing to improve my running, not just because it's a great day out. Of course me being me, these thoughts all came to me whilst I was running, but it was an important mental shift and I'd already changed.
Another step on my running journey. I am hungry to learn, as hungry as I was last Sunday for that finish line. Grrrrr!