I was feeling a bit jaded after Ben Sheann and the thought of getting my arse kicked on a hot hillside didn’t really appeal this week. I decided a road race would lift my spirits – forgive me Manny for I have sinned.
This was not a night for glory – very little running since Jura and a tendency to get melodramatic in the heat (the Monday commute via the canal felt like Marathon de Sables) would see to that. No time to chase, no position coveted, nothing to aim for; turn off the watch, maintain form & effort throughout and finish as high as possible.
After pleasant warm up chatting with Cambuslang Chris (Upson’s red-vested alter-ego) I took my position at the front of the crowd and we were off. The route does a few twists & turns through Kirkintilloch and becomes an out-and-back along the canal with a loop at the top. Mercifully the canal-path was in the shade, but it still felt seriously hot. I settled in to the front pack, I managed to stay with them till about 5km when they pulled away leaving me on my own for most of the race.
I’ve got a bad habit of disassociating during road races – my favourite trick is to have my race report composed before crossing the finish line. (It doesn’t happen in the hills, they’re thoroughly absorbing.) Tonight I was determined to keep my head in the game and whenever I felt my mind wandering I’d force myself to focus on standing tall, relaxing my shoulders, hitting the ground lightly and breathing steadily. And it worked, I always felt myself picking up the pace and any stitches/niggles sorted themselves out.
The last 2km went on for ever. Andrew MacKenzie of Cambuslang caught me up, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t shake him and he overhauled me in the final stretch. The finish area was full of slumped, dazed runners – the heat had taken its toll on everyone. Stuart Gibson won by an outrageous 3+ minutes. It wasn’t my best time but I think I raced well and gave a good account of myself.
1) Stuart Gibson/Cambuslang 31:28
10) James Callender 35:45