Moray 10k & An Ultra Legend Wins The Marathon

Well my first 10k since 2009 has come and gone and, overall, I am happy with how things went. Ideally, I would have been looking to put some of my PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador training to use to beat my PB of 49:36. However, the past 2 weeks have seen my training schedule somewhat derailed with exceptionally tight calves and then with a numbness of the right leg that somehow manages to combine both numbness and pain during and after runs.

In the 2 days before the 10k, I found myself feeling quite nervous about the event and, in fact, I think I was equally nervous as I have been for some of the longer ultras. I know some people expect the shorter distances to be no problem but things have changed considerably for me this year.

For one, I am still getting back into the swing of things after my running went out the window following the birth of my son Harris. It always amazes me just how quickly it is possible to lose accrued race fitness.

Secondly, all this training has thrown up some problems of its own, most notably that, after all my speedwork, I have actually been finding it difficult to re-establish my ‘normal’ race pace. I have a tendency still to go out too fast, despite telling myself not to, and then flagging, only to pick it up again, flag again, repeating the cycle until end of the event.

Thirdly, with all the training and support, I feel there’s an air of expectation for me to do better than I have in the past. I’ve had nutitional support, physio support, training support, and, of course, lots of encouragement from family, friends and fellow Running Bugs. Just thinking about getting that 1/2 marathon PB in 5 weeks time makes me sweat!

Writing this now, in the aftermath of the race, it’s obvious that things aren’t quite right as far as the legs are concerned. Or, more accurately, as far as the right leg is concerned. There’s a dull throbbing numb feeling which is slightly worrying but, given the exertions of yesterday, I’m just glad that it feels no worse than it has done over the past few days.

On the positive side, I did better than I expected to. My time, of 51:46, was some way short of my 10k PB. However, putting things into perspective, it’s approximately 9 minutes faster than I was running 6.2 miles in back at the start of my PUMA PB Challenge in mid July. It’s my 4th fastest 10k ever out of a total of 15 10k races and the fastest that I have run a 10k since early 2008. I know I haven’t run a 10k since 2009 but trust me when I say I haven’t been running that fast in the interim!

(Official results 3rd September: 51:46, 120th out of 271 finishers)

There’s identifiable room for improvement, 5 weeks to do it in before the 1/2 marathon, and 5 weeks (hopefully) of further weight loss. I clearly still have work to do, but can at least identify the how/why/what/when :o)

There’s definitely hope for that all important 1/2 marathon PB. Hopefully this annoying niggle in my right leg wont get in the way of any more training and then it will be full steam ahead to the 6th October.

Some general observations from yesterday:

  • 10k is definitely a family friendly distance. I left Leanne and Harris to travel through to the start line, ran the race, and met them at the finish, all within 2 hours. Definitely more family friendly than the 8-30 hours absence that accompany my ultramarathons
  • I had forgotten just how different it is running an ultramarathon and a 10k. With the ultra, it’s definitely more relaxed (at my end of the field at least!). With the 10k it was all about continued maximal effort, albeit for a much shorter time
  • I enjoyed it, to the extent that I am looking to see when I can next run a 10k where, hopefully, I can get a PB

Ellie Greenwood

What I didn’t realise until checking Facebook later on Sunday once I returned home was that ultra legend Ellie Greenwood was competing in the Moray Marathon and won the ladies race. Ellie was born in Dundee but has been living, working and racing in Canada for years, living in Banff initially and now in Vancouver. Congratulations on the win Ellie.

Ellie Greenwood Racing Highlights

  • Western States 100 mile Endurance Run Course Record, California, USA. (2012, 16:47:19)
  • Comrades 89km 2nd place, South Africa. (2012, 6:08:24, downhill course)
  • IAU World 100km Champion, Gibraltar (2010, 7:29:05)
  • Marathon Personal Best, Vancouver, Canada (2012, 2:42:15)
  • 2011 & 2012, North American Female Ultrarunner of the Year (awarded by Ultrarunning Magazine)

Moray 10k

This coming Sunday, the 1st September, will be my first race of the year since the D33 ultramarathon back in March. I did have a number of events planned for the interim, including a second stab at the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, the 53 mile Hoka Highland Fling, the 43 mile Devil O’ The Highlands and, well, pretty much all of my ‘usual’ ultramarathons (Scottish Ultra Marathon Series). But then, in February, my son Harris was born, and it soon became all too obvious that there wasn’t going to be enough time in the day to train to the extent that I was used to AND be a great dad. That’s when I decided to retire from running ultramarathons, albeit temporarily.

In the run up to a race I am used to getting drop bags ready, spending ages pondering over kit choices, which waistpack/rucksack/race vest to wear etc. etc. etc. This time round, however, I will be lucky to have warmed up by the time I get to the starting line. Why? Because I am running a 10k, 6.2 miles.

I’ve run 15 10ks to date, starting back in May 2007 at the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k. I can’t recall if it was that very race but I do remember that I reached the 1/2 way point at one Baker Hughes 10k, in May of that year (as it always is), and thought to myself that this was now my longest run of the year! Given the thousands of miles that I have logged since, and especially the miles logged since March 2010 when my focus turned to ultramarathons, it seems funny not to have run anything longer than 3 miles by May of any year!

My PB for the 10k distance is 49:36, set way back in 2007, again at the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k. If memory serves me correctly, that was the year that the race start was delayed because of cars parked on the route and also the year where it started hailing/snowing just before the start of the race – no doubt the reason for my extra turn of speed that year!

Believe it or not, I am actually nervous about running it. I’ve never been a fast runner and, with a 10k, it’s never that long before the event is over. It’s also my first 10k since June 2009!

It would be nice to finish with a good time, especially considering all the training I have been doing and that, at my next event, the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on 6th October, I am aiming to set a new PB as part of my role as a PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador. However, I currently have a niggle with my right leg and, thus, will just have to see how the day goes.

On the plus side, even with race registration, transportation to the start line etc. etc., I should be away from the family for little more than a couple of hours rather than the 12-30 hours required for completion of some of my ultras in the past! In that area at least, it will be mission accomplished as far as my running and having realistic running goals is concerned.

All the best if you are running any of the Moray Marathon series of events this weekend. I will be the one kitted out head to toe in PUMA gear :o)