I’m back with more adventures as I try to catch up after a fair bit of travelling over the summer so far.  So without further ado…

Route description
An out-and-back course.  Slightly unusual in that it goes half out-and-back first.

Course profile
Flat. Really, really flat.

Paved all the way, with occasional sand.

Road shoes all the way.

1/6.  Only thing slowing it down compared in Edinburgh – another prom-based run – is the presence of three 180 degree turns.

Screenshot 2018-08-01 21.45.17 - Copy
Train station next to the n in Troon. That’s the famous golf course at the turn at the bottom, too.

By this point I was on a self-imposed challenge to achieve silver medal status in the Scottish parkrun 10 for 10 challenge.  This meant 10 different events in a 15 week spell, and at this stage I needed two in three weekends.  And I knew I couldn’t run the middle one.  Cutting it fine, or what.

I’ve blabbed about this here, and there’s a facebook group (the challenge is open to all!) here.

Having been up to the Highlands, Fife, Glasgow and of course the Edinburgh events, I felt duty-bound to get to Ayrshire to give a decent spread for my ’10 for 10′ events.  This, reluctantly, meant a very early start by my standards, to get me to Haymarket for the 7:20 train.  Managed to grab a coffee before I boarded, and all was well with the world.

It was also a remarkably nice day.  We’ve been trialling this summer thing that’s all the rage in Europe at the moment, and it’s gone down pretty well.  Still a few complaints of course, not least from us runners.

The changeover from Glasgow’s Queen Street to Central stations – a well worn route – was zig-zagged without difficulty, and arrived into Troon with half an hour to dawdle over to the start.  I guessed somewhere like 80-100 folk had done likewise.

The brief before we got underway was a little different than normal; we were informed a cone-related mishap meant the first turning point was around a borrowed bin!

It was very effective.

Off we went then, and as is typical, I went for the tried and tested gun it and hope the the best tactic.  I’ve given up on reigning it in like a sensible person, and after being close to sub-20 at Springburn last week, I was giving it a go.

The field strung out really quickly, even before the Bin Turn around 600m or so in.  It’s a quirk to have people passing you at three different points on the course, and does lots for your confidence as you notice just how far behind you really are!

Also felt a bit guilty passing the tail runner on my way back out before she/they’d got to the first turn, but they were in good spirits!

Two observations:

  1. The walkers were all very obliging – there’s a narrow section where, with runners coming both ways, it could get very chaotic.  They’d be absolutely within their right to motor on their merry way, but there were smiles for everyone as they hopped to the side to give us priority
  2. It was really stuffy, and that second turning point took a long time to arrive after the leader passed me!

I counted myself down from around 10th near the start and wound up in sixth by the end.  I’m not sure whether this means other people are better or worse at the all or bust strategy than me.  Do I have a higher threshold for pain‽

I’m well aware it’s not a race, but this focus on the next person in front (or sometimes, admittedly, the footsteps behind!) is a handy motivator when there’s a voice urging me to back off.

Screenshot 2018-08-01 21.45.17At just 9 seconds quicker than at Springburn, I again, gradually slowed and picked it up for the finish.  I’m going to call that excellent pacing.

I was a knackered, sweaty mess by the end and had a nice sit down on the grass watching the other runners finish.  Normally I’d insert some photos, but my strava has a few that will have to do this time round.

A coffee and cake later in a nice cafe on Portland Street – opposite Greggs, no less – that I can’t remember the name of  (and Google maps is out of date), and I headed back to the Central belt.

I’m glad I made the trip down.  Not the most inspiring course (sorry guys!) but one of the quickest in the country.  And on a nice day, with the lovely beach a hop over the wall away, a great spot for a summer’s day.