Race report: Kirkintilloch 10k

Kirky canal  (c) http://web.undiscoveredscotland.com
Kirky canal
(c) http://web.undiscoveredscotland.com

Kirkintilloch 10k, 20th June 2013
Position: 28th of 290
Time: 38:32

Is there a race more taxing than a 10K?

I do my mile test (most months) and it crushes me. A 5k is a killer and speedwork is awfully brilliant. But the 10k is my love/hate race. Not run, I can run multiple 10ks in a row, every day, every week. But doing a 10k at or near threshold is a killer. And perversely, I really enjoy it!

With this in mind I toed the line at the Kirkintilloch 10k on Thursday night (20th June). I love midweek races, they are a great way of shoehorning excellent training in and getting a reward for it. My training has been patchy since the Lochaber Marathon. I have had almost 3 separate weeks off; 2 with a knee niggle and one with illness. I felt as if I had regressed a wee bit and as such I went into this race not really knowing what to expect. On the positive side I had a really encouraging 3k a few weeks back; on the negative, a week of the lost training had happened since then.

Oh, and I had been in New York eating pizza and drinking beer in between. I went for a road test on Tuesday and did a 19:38 5k. Not full tilt but not far off. This led me to believe I would get under 40 mins. My PB for 10k is 38:28, set at Cumbernauld in 2012. Now, Cumbernauld is a PB runner’s dream as it is an easy course and it is about 1/10th of a mile short – which is 30-40s at my pace.

So, what would Kirkintilloch bring?

I decided to line up close to the front as last year I made the mistake of being at the back. In the 2012 race I clocked 41:27, a PB at the time. The course starts in a residential street near Lairdlands School and the after about 500m of road hits two sharp rights on to the canal tow path (see picture). From here it is quite simple. 5.5k to Cawder, then up a steep hill, hit a left and run back down the road from Bishopbriggs retail estate towards Torrance and then back onto the canal for the final 3k.


I raced out the traps and after the 1st mile I found I was on 5:29 pace. Far too quick when my mile PB is 5:22! Mile 2 was 5:59 and I knew I had majorly cocked up. I really concentrated on slowing and went to 6:17 for mile three and hit 5k in under 19 mins, which is a new 5k PB. Knowing the hill was coming up I took it really easy mile 3-4 and slowed dramatically to 6:34 for the mile but was still on for sub 39 mins overall, which would have been brilliant.

Once I got back on the canal I was really toiling. Although miles 4-5 and 5-6 were 6:15 and 6:18 respectively they said nothing of how I felt. For the first time in a race I was close to a spew. However, the finish line came into sight and I managed to run the last section at 6:01 m/m pace.

Now the savvy amongst you will already have worked out that this is a new PB. However, the course measured 10.08 km on my watch and my time was 38:28. Exactly my old PB!!!!! There are not enough exclamation marks in the world for this.

That said, the provisional results said 38:32 for me. I am not actually that bothered. I had a great run. Better than expected. I would have battered my PB with a better period of training behind and most importantly, I absolutely dug in deeper than I have ever had too. Only on 10ks have I ever felt this kind of pain. This is because you run at as close to threshold as you can for a bit longer than you normally would. Even 10-20s per mile off this pace is a relative stroll by comparison. I hated it at mile 5 but loved it at the end.

As it was I finished 28th out of 290. So inside my top 10% target, which is always the aim. I will have tilt at the Cumbernauld 10k in September and I hope to see 37:xx on my clock then!

Lastly, it was good to see a whole heap of familiar faces at the race. You know who you were and you all done great. And thanks to Kirkintilloch Olympians for another brilliantly organised race and for the Fraoch which will be sunk over the weekend.

Things I learned in this race

–        Guts go a long way
–        Keep your starting pace under control, or you will pay for it
–        I need new compression shorts

Garmin record for the race.


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