I’m a bit of a stickler for allowing plenty of time to ‘get ready’ prior to a race. Just the usual activities – up early, breakfast, drink, leave early to ensure plenty time to factor in unforeseen events, get parked, warm up etc etc. So it was a bit of jolt to realise we had seemingly ‘lost’ an hour from our morning’s prep. None of us seemed to know where this ‘hour’ went, none of us could find it (or were willing to take the blame for it) so we stopped looking and just got out the door PDQ……a steady 90 MPH ‘cruise’, fueled by blue Powerade (bogging when undiluted), got us to Stirling by 9.45 for the 10.15 start, so not so bad.
A fair gaggle of runners had assembled by the time we had arrived, the PB potential of this course had obviously drawn out a fair number of ‘serious’ club runners. Having got excruciatingly close to sub 40 at Paisley a few weeks ago, I guess that Stirling offered me another chance to go for it. Scenically, this course has little merit; I was here on pretty business-like terms – to go under 40. T said just try and enjoy it – to hell with that.
At the start line a few ‘joggers’ were fairly far up towards the line. Like Paisley, the gun seemed to go off unexepectedly, and as usual, my first mile would turn out to be the fastest split of the race. Dodging around the joggers and clipping their heels and generally jostling for position is a real pain in the arse. Managed to get my own space and by miles2-3, I seemed to have settled down to a reasonably steady pace, though disconcertingly I noticed I had reached the 5K marker at around 18:50 WTF?? The markers then seemed to correct themselves, and allayed my fears that the course was measured short.
Nothing much to report course-wise really, it is mostly very flat, with the only small incline in the last mile. The turning point on the route is about 5.5 K or therebouts and this means you get a good look at the front of the field heading back – always good to see. T was plugging on, heading for that ‘5K’ marker as I passed her, still suffering a bit from a cold which was holding her back a bit.
By the last 3/4 mile, the stadium was visible, and by then I seemed to think I might be in with a realistic chance of sub 40 – my pace then crept up almost imperceptibly, and I managed to pass a few a few more runners on the final approach. Clocking in at 39:48, I was chuffed to have finally dipped below the big 4-0, shaving about 15 seconds off my Paisley PB a few weeks before.