Forfar 10km race recap

Race #6 of the year and another local race to check off the list! My half-marathon training programme called for a 60 minute easy run OR 10km race. It seems, although I entered the race a few months ago, I subconsciously chose to do the 10km. Amy and Wendy also entered, and the three of us had this race in our sights since returning from our wee running holidays in early July.

I had mentioned in my last post that my game plan for this race, based on information from my colleague and unofficial running coach George that it’s a downhill start with an uphill finish, was to run hard the first half, then run at an easy pace for the second half, hopefully resulting in a PR? It seems as though, depending on who you ask, this race has various routes and elevations: if you check the race website, it states that it’s ‘a fast, flat 10km taking you out of Forfar….;’ my colleague Pauline also said that it was flat, while Wendy, who ran it last year, said it was hilly throughout and at one point in last year’s race, swore out loud at the fact that she was approaching yet another hill during. I guess the only way to find out what the route was like was to run it and live to tell the story.

My alarm went off at 7:15 this morning, and I was up to let our current house guests out for a pee:

My favourite dogs

My pre-race fuel consisted of a smoothie of fruit, Greek yogurt, muesli and Kale, and my most delicious vanilla latte. After some getting ready and a poo walk with the dogs, it was off to Wendy’s house to meet up and head down the road to Forfar. We arrived at about 10:15 am to big crowds as the race was completely full with 360 entrants. We had 45 minutes to register, have a performance-enhancing pee and ditch our stuff in our cars. We also had time for a quick girls photo:

My lovely running friends

After a quick warm up run and stretch, it was time to line up for the start! This time, there was a clear start line, and I was able to start my Garmin as I crossed it. The first two miles of the race took us out of Forfar east, onto country roads. It’s a gradual downhill start, with a few small uphill bits. I had read this article on how to improve on hills, and used its advice of shortening your stride and leaning forward to run the hills more economically. This was very helpful and successful: I was able to run uphill quickly and carry on without feeling I needed to recover.

As usual, I started out really fast, and ran two quick miles as a result. We also had the wind to our backs on the way out, which made things much easier.

Mile 1: 8:43

Mile 2: 8:58

Mile 3: 9:02

We then turned left and began to make our way back to town. I expected the water station at this point, and even exclaimed out loud ‘Where’s the water?’ to absolutely no one. At 3.5 miles it appeared, and I grabbed a cup of water and walked through the water station. This felt like a nice wee break before what was to be hill after hill after hill to get back into town.
 Mile 4: 10:04

At 4.5 miles, the route turned left and we hit a very strong headwind; I felt like I was running in slow motion. It is unbelievable how much the wind can slow your pace, because the moment I ran through a sheltered bit, I actually felt fast again and like I could speed up. There were a bunch of hills here too, with a few being a bit steeper and longer than the others.

Mile 5: 10:12

A butterfly formation

We then headed back into town and to the finish, and I began to pick up the pace. I passed three women who were walking and gave them a boost of ‘C’mon guys! Only half a mile left!’ because that’s what my Garmin said. I expected the finish line quite quickly as the 10km (or 6.2 mile) mark was upon us, but 6.2 came and went and there was still more running to be done! I thought a race marshall should know this, so I exclaimed ‘My watch already says 10km!’ as I ran past towards the uphill finish. I turned right and was yards away from the finish. I burst into a sprint, passing one woman and hearing the cheers of ‘Go Danielle!!!!’ from some of my Scottish family before happily crossing the finish line.

Mile 6: 9:59

My Garmin time was 1:00:03, with an average pace of 9:28. No where near my unofficial 10km PR of 56:04 from the Montrose 10km, and also not 10km distance. My watch read 6.34 miles, while some friends’ phone apps said we ran 6.5 miles. This would explain why all of us ran slower-than-normal 10km times. I’d also attribute the slower times to the undulating course:

I agree with race organisers that yes, this appears to be a relative flat course, with a total elevation gain and loss of 120 feet, however it sure didn’t feel flat running it. Lesson to be learned here: never expect a 10km PR in this race.

I picked up my race swag and walked around the field at the finish to cool down.

My first race buff!
I met up with my family and got some congratulatory hugs from them, then touched-base with Wendy and Amy. We reflected upon the race, talking about doing another programme this winter to help improve our fitness. I then headed to my Scottish Aunt Olive and Uncle Alan’s house for a shower and some lunch! 

Kinda like chicken fajitas in a sandwich, but with paprika instead
I visited with them and my Scottish Aunt Caroline and Uncle Fergus who were up for a visit. It was then home time for some much needed rest. I dozed for a while on the couch before making a most delicious meal of chicken and brown rice enchiladas:
It’s so interesting how race conditions can change how your body feels after a 6 mile run. If we had done this on a weeknight, we would’ve felt a bit tired, but nothing out of the ordinary. Adding adrenaline to this makes for some tired legs and a definite nap.
Dessert was a slice of Victoria Sponge cake with whipped cream and fresh berries grown close by. Yum!

I have mixed feelings over this race: I’m disappointed with my time, but after looking over splits from Montrose compared to today’s splits, I ran a very fast first half, with two sub-9:00 miles. This is excellent progress, thank you half marathon training! I was also able to recover immediately after running up the hills, and even sprinted up the last one to the finish. Again, more changes to my overall fitness. I’m also happy I ran the race because it was a good experience. I need to pick out the positives, right?
Unfortunately, I didn’t spend any time mentally preparing for this race before hand, and actually had a very busy day yesterday, which totally preoccupied my mind and was actually tiring. I’ve been quite stressed with work lately with changing subjects, and a complete overhaul of the Scottish secondary education system, which means new plans and work for the kids, hasn’t made things easy. It seems everything needs to be done immediately but priorities keep shifting. This stress, combined with being tired and wanting the term to be over, makes me more vulnerable to letting every little thing get to me. Which I have been and it’s winding me up! I’m in need of some major balance right now, and in the weeks to come, will examine this topic more closely here, with the help of some blogger friends. It’s now time for some much needed sleep.
See you tomorrow for some Half Mary Musings!
Did you race this weekend?

What’s the best race swag you’ve ever had?

What do you do to mentally prepare for a race?

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6 thoughts on “Forfar 10km race recap

  1. Nice to see the training plan is making the post-hill recovery time shorter. I think that has more impact on the total race time than the actual time spent running up the hill.

  2. Wind can be amazing if it is blowing in the right direction, but so miserable if it isn't! Hopefully those three women don't have a curse out on you for lying to them about how close they were to the finish! Courses that run long are the worst because I feel like I leave just enough push to get me to that distance, so if I have to go longer, I get very angry.

    Great job on those first few splits! These smaller races are fantastic for practicing!

  3. I did feel guilty for telling them 'only half a mile' and then seeing that distance pass us by. I'm pretty sure none of them were wearing any type of GPS device, so I should be okay 😉

    The longer distance did play with me in the sense that I was ready to go all out, but not sure how far away to begin that all out run because I was unfamiliar with the route and how much longer I still had to go. Now I know for next year!

    Thanks for your kinds words 🙂

  4. I love the Ragnar medals that double as beer openers 🙂

    I'm super impressed by your first half splits!

    And all of that food looks pretty delicious. I love sponge cake!

  5. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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