As you'll probably know from last post, I ran in the Baxter's River Ness 10k over the weekend. I managed to finish it in just over an hour (01:00:10, to be exact).
Before I talk about the race, I'd like to go on about the Highlands for a bit. This was my first time there. On the way up and the way back, we were all amazed by the beauty of the place. Cairngorms National Park was especially stunning. I described it is as a combination of Rocky Mountain National Park in the States and Dartmoor National Park in England, but this really doesn't do it justice, as it has its own unique beauty.
Rolling hills rusted over with heather give way to snow-capped peaks in the distance. The weekend was fairly wet, so the hills were threaded with hundreds of gossamer streams. The rivers were everything I love about mountain rivers -- clear, quick and wide.
At some point, we'd really like to return and spend a week or two walking and exploring the Highlands. I we did, I'm sure we'd be able to fit in a whisky tour (or two).
The race went fairly well. As this was my first 10k, my goal was simply to finish it, running the whole way.
To my knowledge, I've only run 10k non-stop once before: about a week before the race on the treadmill. I really shouldn't have been running that far just a week before the race, but I needed to know that I had it me. My time on the treadmill was 1:10:47. I really wanted to run the race in the time it took me to run 10k on the treadmill, but I wasn't sure if I could do it.
Before the run started, I was really nervous. I was there around 45 minutes early. I think I warmed about three separate times because I couldn't stand just standing around. The race was slow to start. My times indicate that it took me about two and a half minutes to get to the starting gate, but it felt more like five.
The first two kilometers went well. Sometime after the second kilometer, I had the beginnings of a side stitch. I focused on my breathing, and it was more or less gone by the time I hit kilometer three.
After five kilometers, I started to psych myself out a bit. I still felt pretty good, but I found myself wondering if I had another 5k in me. Fortunately, I soon saw Joanne, David and Lindsey cheering me on from the side of the road. It was exactly what I needed.
At 7k, just as the run met the River Ness (one of those lovely mountain rivers I was going on about), I started to feel like I was losing energy. Fortunately, David had given me one of those gel packets just before the race. It seemed to do the trick.
From that point, I knew the route. We'd walked most of it the day before to register for the race. In my mind it was pass a bridge, cross a bridge, pass the first bridge again, then finish.
The distance from the last bridge to the finish felt a bit longer than I'd anticipated, but I had enough energy left to pick up the pace a bit over the last kilometer. When I came to the finish line and saw 1 hour two minutes on the clock, I just smiled. I'd finished the race faster than I'd run 10k on the treadmill. Even better than I'd hoped for.
When we got back to David and Lindsey's flat in Glasgow, I got the time from the chip: 01:00:10. Just over an hour. Needless to say, I'm pretty pleased with that.