I entered the Dundee Roadrunners Templeton 10 mile road race back in September while I was still in the euphoria of training for the Aviemore Half Marathon. I wanted to do another non-10km distance race that was close-ish to home, and this fit the bill. I maintained my long runs during my half marathon recovery period and the week leading up to the race so that 10 miles wouldn’t feel so bad, and religiously wore my compression tights at home to help get rid of that heavy-leg feeling that comes with recovery and training.
My blog world seemed to be very quiet this past Halloween, it seems no one posted their fabulous costumes for all to see. Pat and I went to his sister’s house the night before the race for a family Halloween party, where I went dressed as Bridezilla.
I wore my wedding outfit and drew scales on my face with eye shadow pencils. Combine that with thick black eyebrows and red lipstick, and you have one dramatic look for a high maintenance bride-turned-lizard.
And yes, it took a while to get all that makeup off.
Race day came, and I woke up to some very strong winds pounding the front of our house. I had my usual pre-race smoothie, coffee and pint of water, and proceeded to check the weather report for Dundee. The temperature was due to be pleasant, but the wind would be as strong in Dundee as the 20 mph gusts hitting my house. I knew the route would be a loop, and hoped that we would only have to run with the headwind for a short distance. I had flashbacks of the Forfar 10km and the horrible, but at least warm, headwind that came with it.
I picked up Wendy and we cruised down the A90 to what is supposed to be Scotland’s sunniest city, as Dundee is south-facing. I find this nickname ironic because whenever I’ve been there, the weather’s always less than stellar. Both Wendy and I hadn’t memorised the race information, so we had a bit of a stressful moment driving the back roads of Dundee in search of the Clatto Reservoir, and the location of the race registration. After stopping to ask directions from a group of people that turned out to be race marshals, we managed to get an incredible parking spot and picked up our race bibs. After our usual performance-enhancing toilet break, where I said a quick hello to Rachel, we jogged a very cold mile to the start. The downhill start that would also be part of an uphill finish.
|Can you tell we were cold?
I was told / warned of the hills in the race, but felt confident in my ability to run up every single one based on my half marathon training and where I run: you can’t escape hills where I live, it’s a part of every single run. The race starts with a pleasant downhill section into the countryside behind Templeton Woods, then does a clockwise loop past houses, farm buildings, hamlets and converted steadings before heading back uphill through Templeton Woods to the finish at the Clatto Nature Reserve. The race started and we easily ran down the hill at a decent pace. Initially, my plan was to try to beat my half marathon 10 mile split time of 1:40:xx, but once I saw the weather conditions and learnt of an uphill finish, I concentrated on just running strong. I also was going to use some fuel for the race, having just purchased a selection of gels, chews, bars and jellybeans to sample.
|Cliff Shot Bloks in Mountain Berry would be my fuel of the day|
The first mile of the race was uneventful, but that quickly disappeared once we encountered hill #1 of the race. The next 4 miles consisted of a series of medium-sized steep hills that ended in a flat rest section; this was repeated 3 times altogether. Each hill presented a very breathless challenge at times, but Wendy and I powered up each one, passing walking runners and others running along the way.
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 10:19
Mile 3: 11:01
Mile 4: 10:45
Mile 5: 9:29
As you can see by my splits above and the Garmin elevation chart below, the hills were tough!
|Most uncomplimentary, am I really that big in real life?|
What goes up must come down, and down we ran! Once we passed the half way point water station, we settled into a nice, downhill pace for the next 3 miles, again passing more people. Although we felt a crosswind at certain points during the race, the wind didn’t actually affect us at all. Yet.
Mile 6: 8:52
Mile 7: 9:16
Mile 8: 10:05
We then reached the town of Bridgeport (?), where the course took a right turn, and the wind smacked us in the face. We avoided the wind for so long, but it was now time to literally face it, and grin and bear it. Our comfortable cruising speed turned into what felt like running in slow motion. Needless to say, this mile was a slow one.
Mile 9: 11:12
I was anticipating and actually looking forward to the ascending finish because this meant the headwind would end. Passing more weary, slow-motion runners, we made that left turn and headed uphill and out of the wind. Who’s idea was it to end a race with a hill?! I thought the ascent was just to the woods, and then the route would level out again, but alas, I was wrong. The climb continued through muddy trails, and I seriously thought about stopping to walk. This was my last push, but I didn’t feel like I had anything behind it. The route finally levelled off with less than a half mile to go, and I was able to recover enough to get my breath back so I could finish strong. Like Aviemore, we passed a race marshal who shouted ‘It’s all downhill from here!’ so we picked up the pace and tried our best to sprint to the finish.
Mile 10: 10:30
We collected our race goodie bag, and we very happy and surprised to find a tshirt in it! The best race treats are the ones you didn’t know were coming!
|Much more complimentary|