Sub-34, that was the resolution for 2013. Took me about 6 months to pull the finger out, get a race in my sights and work out how to go about getting it done. The Jimmy Irvine; flatish, local and one I’d done before – perfect.

Going in to the race my confidence levels were not what I wanted. I was fit enough for sure, but I wasn’t feeling the best. My 20 min jog on Wednesday had resulted in an alarming knot on my IT band (n. – rare body part found only amongst people who follow fitness blogs) that had morphed in to a dull ache up the entire left-side of my body, I’d done plenty of stretching and it was better but still there, I had a bit of a temperature and felt seriously under-powered on my warm-up. Not brilliant, but not desperate. F**k it, may as well have a shot.

I started off fast at the front, narrowly avoiding the horrendous concrete pile-up caused by some slippy leaves at the start, and soon established myself in the top 10 and tried to find my rhythm. All in all, things went according to plan, but only just. All through I felt like I was driving at 40mph in 3rd gear; I forced myself to concentrate on my breathing and my form, hoping that it would all hold together for the duration of the course. I got a surprise ‘Go Westies!’ from Elizabeth Adams who was wearing her Glasgow-Tri disguise, which gave me a nice boost and Christine’s shouts of encouragement were much appreciated. The only piece of excitement occurred when the cyclist leading the race took the a wrong turn in to the park, taking Michael Deason, who was ahead by a country mile for the majority of the morning, about 100ft in the wrong direction. It was only to give the rest of us a fighting chance I’m sure.

By 6km I was up to 4th place on my own; no-one was challenging me and the podium-finishers were too far away for a chase. One less thing to worry about I thought. I passed 9km at 30.30 – no room for mistakes left. I made a push on the last km, maintaining it through, but couldn’t muster a sprint for the final 200m, whatever energy I had had been left behind, but I was able to cross the finish line with a gun time of 33:46. YASS!

“You didn’t look like you were trying THAT hard,” Christine later remarked with a smile on the car journey home, “And it was only 4th place.” Weird to say, but I agreed. That’s done, what’s next?

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