Black Rock 5 and Edinburgh to North Berwick Doubler
Maybe its precisely because I've got an essay to write that I found myself signed up for the Black Rock 5 last night and somehow convinced that it was a good idea to run the Edinburgh to North Berwick Race today. It was very cold and quite overcast last night and a run down a beach and into the sea didn't seem all that good an idea. There was something going on with the trains so we decided not to chance it but to drive in a nice cosy van instead. It was a good move I think. I heard tell today some people only got home at 1am with train cancellations, having to get taxis etc. It could easily have been us. Anyway. Haven't done this race since 2006 and so had no idea what to expect time-wise etc. Always a surprisingly popular race - is there really such an appetite for running along a road onto a beach and into the sea round a black rock and back on a Friday evening and not getting your tea til after 11pm? Apparently. The numbers had swollen since last time I was there. Also they'd introduced chip timing, which seems quite bold, given the chips go in the sea - but it worked fine.
I had some notions about not pushing too hard but I probably worked as hard as I could. A lot depends on the sand. The sand had a nasty ripple pattern this year that was about 30 degrees off the direction of travel that made for a bumpy ride. There wasn't as much sea at the black rock as usual - probably down to the nearly full moon, which was a bit disappointing in a way. It was a long way back from the rock to the shore as there was a cold, nearly head-wind. I'm not good with long stretches where you can see just how far you have to go. I shut my eyes for a few seconds at a time. Peter thinks I'm mad for doing this but I find it helps a lot. It was still quite busy where I was in the race though so I had to keep it to a minimum. I quite liked the last run up the road, steep downhill and steep up to finish. I had incentive in the form of Sandra Rathjen, who hammered me at the Hunters Bog Trot. I realised she was just behind me as we came off the beach so tried to push all the way home. I sensed there was no-one behind me for a while and perhaps got complacent and then there was a roar of "Come on Sandra" from the Bog Trotters at the finish so I knew I had to pick up the pace for the last few yards. I got about 10 seconds ahead. It was a nice confidence boost that I'm recovering from the marathon.
We got home as quick as we could really - it was far too cold for hanging around and I was aware I'd need to get up reasonably early to get organised for the Edinburgh to North Berwick race if I was going to do it. I had a kind of fitful night's sleep, I think due to the adrenaline of racing late in the evening and eating just before bed. However I woke up this morning feeling like I definitely wanted to have a shot at it. The weather forecast said the wind would be behind us, although it seemed to me we had a very slight headwind. It was a bright but cold day. I ran around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what I was going to eat/drink. We had two old gels in a box so I grabbed them and went over to Scotmid and bought 2 bottles of Powerade which I split between 4 small bottles round my waist. We did have some orange Lucozade in the house but the memory of it from the Lochaber Marathon is still too fresh and I couldn't even look at it.
My next concern was whether I was actually going to get into the race as there were only about 50 places available for entry on the day, so I drove as fast as I (legally) could to the Bowling Club and legged it to registration. My legs were really quite fresh and I was ridiculously excited to be there. I think some of it might have been seeing so many people I know.
Anyway, the race. I didn't have a race plan and was just going to see how I felt. I saw Jim Ramsay take off like a bat out of hell so I thought I might slowly chase him down. I caught up with him at about 5 miles and we ran together probably to about 14 miles. He wanted to run 8.30 pace today and that sounded fine to me, I certainly didn't find myself wanting to work harder, so we settled in for a good long time and had a chat about things - something I wouldn't normally do, but it was enjoyable and we were keeping on pace. Round about Aberlady some girl went past me and this stimulated my competitive gland I think. I felt a sudden need to show her who was boss. This is a risky thing as as often as not you find out its not you. However, today it was me. It was saddening to pass the shop at Aberlady and not go in for goodies! I was feeling like a rest and maybe a coffee and a pastry or something, but it was not to be. The next few miles were getting harder although I was still alright, I was definitely slowing. Its amazing how much longer the last 2 miles are than the 1st 2 miles.
On the last wee bit I thought I might try an Ian McMillan mad man's scream and I did start it and it felt good - but I was really too embarrassed to follow through. I think you need the face paints too. So I just settled for running as fast as I could to the line and finished in 2.54ish. Not amazing but a fine training run. Training for what though? Oh who knows. I have to do this essay. I don't think I'll let myself sign up for anything until its done.
I don't have much awareness of what happened at the sharp end of the race except that according to Peter Stuart Hay is a God of running - and he won a prize. Oh and some girl came and ran it as a training run for the Comrades Double Marathon and won it and was about 6th.
I hardly touched the Powerade I had wrapped around my waist. Energy drinks are just not doing it for me. Once I start running I can't drink enough to get much energy down me. I don't know what the answer is...