Conditions probably couldn't have been much better for the Stirling 10K today; cool, just a wee smirr of rain on the wind and only the slightest of breezes. There were a handful of other Porties but no females with whom to compare myself which was actually quite restful mentally. I felt quite anonymous in the crowd.
There was a lot of chatting at the start (all those west coasters!) and I never did hear the gun. I just figured we were under way because the crowd was "surging" (walking slowly) for the start. I had 16 seconds on my Garmin by the time I went over the chip mat and from my final time it looks like the gun had gone off 8 seconds before I put my Garmin on.
A surprising amount of people had been between me and the purple start/finish arch. It hadn't looked like that from where I'd lined up. The first couple of K was all about passing people - not that I'm complaining because its a very encouraging feeling and there was generally space to pass.
I'd absolutely promised myself I'd go out reasonably and not make the race into a nightmare for myself - it was steady, steady, steady for the 1st 7K or so and then I started to take some chances. The whole thing passed suprisingly quickly. There were some very fast people out front heading for 30 minute races. I do like a race where you get to encounter the leaders coming back at you. It should be demoralising but its not - its exciting.
My goal was to get a season's best which I thought was about 46.20. My Garmin showed 46.19 as I finished so I thought I had it cracked - my chip time being about 46.03. So I was a bit saddened when I saw I had a gun time of 46.26...until I had a look at what my Haddington time was - which was 46.27...so its all good.
God these bloody road races and the agony you can give yourself over tiny increments of time.
There was a bevy of Helensburgh's there, including the super fast super vet Paul Thompson and Julia Henderson setting a new pb of 37.10. (2nd FV35-44 prize), and Willie Jarvie took 3rd MV50 prize. The Buchanan was forlorn having not only not set a new pb but being 30 seconds off his old one. He is shaking it off now but its taken some time and some bacon and cheese toasties...
Stirling is a pretty well organised and genuinely fast and flat 10K and being so far inland it doesn't seem to suffer so much from the strong Scottish Breezes (although nearby Alloa seems to get its fair share of wind on half marathon day, so maybe its a seasonal thing). We all got a t-shirt and goody bags with biscuits and lucozade and water and a banana. My only grumble would be not hearing the gun - although looking at my Garmin data I see we set off at 10.14 - so maybe there wasn't a gun? Maybe we all just started moving?
Peter says the K markers were off but I wasn't really paying any attention to them so never noticed.
Next up - the 2 Breweries on Saturday. Time to start puzzling over the route again.