This is short, don’t worry! Much like the race.
Last week a colleague casually sent me a calendar invite to this race. It’s a £2 pay-on-the-day 2-mile, 2-lapped race round the Meadows, mere minutes from our work.
That’s as much alliteration and backstory as I could cram into a short paragraph. What I also could have said is that this is just one of a series of short races set in the park (in Edinburgh) using the same anti-clockwise one mile loop. There’s a one mile, 5k and a 1-mile relay still to come, each for less than the price of a coffee. Or a beer.
The races all take part on midweek evenings, this one at 7pm. You rock up, hand over your money, name and club (if you have one), and in exchange you get a bib number. Easy.
It was also a really sunny day, and that meant the park was busy.
A gentle reverse warm-up lap to test my ankle – I’m fairly sure I’ve a minor sprain, but I’m prone to hypochondriacitis – and get a tour of the course did its job, and it was time to get going. A short race brief was shouted at the 98-strong field, mainly cautioning us against bowling over unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists, and we were off!
The charging hoards immediately proceeded to scare the bejesus out of everyone along the path below. Zipping along the cycle lane with complete disregard to the highway code, there was still the need to take drastic action at times in the pursuit of progress on this opening straight!
I found myself taking to the far right and onto the grass to pass non-runners, and no doubt wasting a heap of energy at the same time!
About 500m down, we take a sharp 120 degree left to head back up Coronation Walk. It’s looking pretty nice at this time of year:
Despite being about a quarter of the way into the race, but the time we were at the end of this path and sweeping left (always left) the field was settled. Must be what happens when just about everyone is just giving it the Full Welly.
I passed two people and was passed by three, one of them being someone I’d passed scarcely 1km before.
I was struggling before the end of the first lap. My legs felt okay and my ankle wasn’t any trouble, but I just couldn’t catch my breath!
One thing about a stable field when you’re toiling is it drums home how little headway you’re making. It felt like I was going so slooowlly. I’d intentionally not looked at my watch once, and ignoring the vibrations that indicated the 1km ‘lap’ times I’ve set up and resisting the urge to glance at it. What was the point?! I was giving all I could give.
I managed a few ‘thank yous’ and gestures to those who’d kindly halted their journeys to let us by. And mercifully, the finish line did come.
Time – 12:01
It’s a PB! Of course, I’ve never run the distance as an out-and-out effort like that before.
I was 33rd of 98.
Overall, I’m pleased with that. First mile quicker than the second as expected, but what I liked most was that I think there’s more there when my lungs behave themselves. All I need to do is put these pesky niggles to one side and there’s some decent pace to be got at!
More of these to come over the summer, I’m sure.