Slotting in a 5k race only a couple of weeks before a half marathon is not perhaps generally recommended, but I’ve not ever raced this distance, and wanted to see how I faired. Plus it was a chance to check out one of the local running clubs, the Bellahouston Road Runners, who are the organisers.
Update 06/Nov/07: Club website is here: fwiw, I’ve since joined the club and am going along most training nights.
As far as the weather was concerned the outlook was not good, certainly yesterday when the rain simply didn’t stop all day. But this morning dawned much brighter, and certainly the rain held off, which was a huge relief. Of course, it did mean that there were some large muddy puddles to navigate along the course, but they didn’t pose much of a problem, for me at least.
It was a bit of a hike up to the start line from the registration. For reasons outside of the control of the organisers, they had to shift the registration to the local bowling club. I think there may have been a few puzzled bowling regulars puzzling at all the activity by people in shorts that morning…
The start was at the cycling-circuit, and managed to get a good warmup completed around the track ready to do the milling about at the start. Couldn’t quite hear the loud-speaker announcement at the start, but the start horn wasn’t hard to miss, and off we went. I was aiming to get an ‘official’ 25 minute 5k time to match what I’d managed to achieve in Pollok Park during my own training.
Despite getting a bit stuck behind a slower few folk who on the cycle circuit, things settled out reasonably by pace after a short distance. I was surprised to find the 1km passed at 04:20. A classic mistake by a racing newbie: I started off far too quickly: I’d been aiming for about 04:50. Certainly a useful bank of time, but it came right back to bite me, especially as the middle section of the course, through the centre of the park, is a little more undulating. Not hilly by any stretch, but longer inclines didn’t help my cause.
I was being supported by Frances, who was clutching all the bags and an umbrella, and spotted her at a couple of points along the way. I was also quite pleased to see Frances’ sister-in-law Emma, son Nathan, and her mum, who had been out for a walk and stumbled on the event. That I then charged past may have been a bit of a surprise, but it was a great boost at the 4km mark.
As the last stretch opened up, it all suddenly started to feel manageable, and I managed to cross the line in
23:42 23:41! – My first 5k result, but even taking my training run as a rough indicator, I’m very pleased to have taken over a minute off my time. Splits were 04:20, 04:41, 04:55, 04:57, 04:45. I should stress that the times are my own, not official, but my watch matched the official time. One second better on the official time 🙂
Of course, this was but a diversion from the half marathon, now only two weeks away. I still need to get a bit more training done this week, before taking it easier in the week or so ahead of the marathon. I certainly want to squeeze in at least one more long run in the next few days. But I’m certainly starting to feel more optimistic about beating the 2hr time I’ve set myself. There’s certainly some sponsorship resting on that too 🙂