So last weekend we were running with Nick W and remembered that it was the Dunbar 10K this weekend. I had originally wanted to do it and then saw it was a Porty championship race, which had taken the shine off. 10K = fast = me not fast = not good. Porty championship race = too many witnesses. And then I'd been thinking that since I needed to do weekend long runs for marathon training that I didn't know how to fit in a Sunday 10K. But then I felt so shabby on the long run that I thought well maybe it's a good idea not to run long and do a wee sharpener instead, painful to both pride and body as that would be.
So on Monday I was thinking, yeah okay, Dunbar 10K it is.
I went quite quickly from thinking I wanted to run a 10K at the weekend to remembering nostalgically how only that morning I had walked down the corridor, standing up straight, and not appreciating how good it is to move easy and free. It was all a total bollocks and there was no point in thinking about the future.
The great thing about an injury is you don't get to sleep either because it's sore in bed. Every turn was a major operation of trying to ease myself over and not wake up the monster in my back. Every time this failed and I'd get shooting spasms of pain.
The next day I had two commitments. In the morning I thought I'd make them somehow. I'm not used to cancelling things and it feels all wrong. Mid-morning I cancelled thing number 1 and then by midday I realised I had to cancel thing number 2. Walking around the flat was a major challenge. Once everything was cancelled I settled down and read a book and slept and woke up and mooched about and I felt much happier.
The next day I seemed a bit better so I went out a wee tentative 4 miler. I was disheartened to see that sub 10 minute pace seemed unattainable, at least for the first three. Mile 4 was up hill and that felt better. My back was uncomfortable, but not terrible, for the whole run. I thought it was a mistake but probably not a disaster. It stayed uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
Friday I was back at work and had no time to run. As the entry for the 10K had closed on entry central the night before, I thought that was definitely off the table.
I did some very careful yoga in the evening when I got home and something melted in my lower back as I was doing a forward bend with wide legs. (Whatever that's called.) It was a lovely feeling and afterwards I was walking tall again. I couldn't do a right side bend, but you don't need that to run.
Saturday I was feeling much more normal - which was tired and stiff but fairly robust. Nick W pointed out that there was entry on the day. Peter was getting increasingly keen to do Dunbar. I won't say it was because he'd realised that Willie was doing the Tom Scott 10 miler so 10 championship points were up for grabs - but that was actually the reason.
We went for the standard Gullane sea, sand, sky and wildlife 6 miler and my thoughts were if I was okay at the end of 6 bumpy miles I was good to risk a 10k.
It is always lovely to get outdoors and out the city and even though I was stiff and slow, I enjoyed it, and was no worse at the end than when I set out.
Sooooooooo.....we decided to do the 10K.
Are you flagging? I know I am. I'll keep this snappy, I promise.
Championship-wise I have one main rival. Fen Parry. She was a Porty about a decade ago and disappeared with a sore foot and has recently re-emerged. She beat me at the Prom 4 miler, and I beat her at the Portobello Park run in February. If you'd asked me if I could beat Fen at 10K about a month ago I'd have said I had a good chance. But she's been doing marathon training and I've been...yeah I don't know. I've been doing no speed training and hating long running and then I hurt my back. And I notice that I have thickened through the middle a bit. It's nasty what you find out when the sun returns and you take your thicker layers off...
I thought it likely that if I had any chance of beating Fen today, it would be thus. Hammer the uphill mile and try to create enough distance so she doesn't know where I am...then try to keep going.
So that's what I set out to do. Mile one was nasty. Into mile 2 I could hear Fen behind me. She has distinctive breathing. She passed me. I passed her. Going up the hill I raised the pace. She matched it. I raised it. She matched it. I didn't have any more and I knew it. All my sirens were going off, I was wheezing and I had nothing left to give. She had me by the top of the hill.
It took a while to regain my composure at the top of the hill, by which time the Porty ladies (Julie and Aileen had been on the hill too, but they had not been targets.) had disappeared off forwards as I had planned to. Meanwhile Eric Foster caught me up.
Now I'm not one for talking in a race. And I'm not one for running with others. And I'm not one for people 'pacing' me. I like a bit of space. But Eric is a lovely human being. And he had clearly decided that I needed a bit of help, so he was going to run with me, chat for a while, maybe even 'pace' me. Two, three times I tried to persuade him that he should save himself and leave me to my fate, but he was determined. So I gave in. Every time I slowed down, Eric wasn't for it and harried me into picking it up. He used an impressive coaching salad of carrot and stick, telling me to relax, keep trying, head up, that I was going really well. I handed my brain over to him.
As I crossed the line and slowed I could feel an impressively insistent pulse in the artery going into the base of my skull and wondered if I was going to have a stroke and then take a year off work learning how to talk again. Nothing like that happened, although there's still time.
There was an embarrassment of Porties and they won a sea of prizes. It was good to see Aileen Ross back out running again. Dunbar RC did a bang up smooth job of organising the whole thing and the results were up before you could say 'maybe it was a hard day out there and everyone ran slowly'. Actually it seems there was a course record...