Well, it seems I still have it, and there’s life in me yet… last weekend I had a great time running the Brighton 10k…
I travelled down and spent the weekend the lovely and warmly welcoming ‘bots’ from Ellon, and as an honorary Ellon ‘bot’ for the weekend, I’ve now been initiated into their ‘club’ shall we call it and I gave own nickname and everything.
When you get invited in to be a bot, they give you a nickname and a code name, and I ended up with ‘W-bo’t They wanted to call me ‘sausage-bot’ which I declined (ha!)… but then they said I could be ‘LPT-bot’… then Fi bot kept trying to go back to ‘sausage bot’ – and I said I’d take anything but sausage bot…. and I’ve somehow ended up with ‘Wiener-bot’… or as I might prefer ‘Weegie-bot’… or even ‘Wicker-bot’. (Apparently I can’t get Weegie-bot as I’m not a real weegie. 😂)
Anyway, back to the event. I got on my first flight in a couple of years on Saturday, down to Heathrow, then we got a taxi van though to Brighton and picked up our numbers before race registration closed ok the Saturday.
From start to finish and the communications and app, the event was well organised and world class as far as I could tell (apart from the extra 500 or so metres on the marathon course. Oops).
As I’ve mentioned before, I entered the Brighton Marathon in May 2020, just as lockdown had taken hold, abs before we knew how long we’d be locked down for. And also 4 months before my hamstring injury would knock my running off for about a year.
The event for September 2020 was put off until this year, 12 September 2021, and I hoped it would give me time to fix myself abs I’d be able to be fit for training for and doing the marathon, but by June I knew I wouldn’t be. So I chose the sensible option to drop down to the 10k, and see if I might be ready for it.
I had my flights and hotel booked – so whatever happened I was coming down for a fun weekend getting to know the bots some more. The bots run in purple and blue, so I wore the colours, and added my go faster orange mizuno shoes, and my Scotland flag that I first wore in Chicago nearly exactly 10 years ago for the half marathon there.
I thought, why not, it might get me some cheers, and you might as well try to stand out in the crowd and do something different for a big event.
Up to the morning of the race, I felt oddly relaxed and not nervous – I didn’t have the challenging prospect of the marathon ahead of me, and I knew I’d be good for the 10k. I had no set goal, as I haven’t really been running all that much, apart from getting 4-6 miles in a couple of times a week for the last wee while since my injury miraculously went away in about early August.
If anything, with my injury and lockdown / no events, I feel very fortunate to be running at all, never mind a mass scale event. Just like the swim event I did 2 weeks ago and the swim I’ll do in Loch Morlich in less than a week, it’s great to be able to compete, have fun and get a medal… 3 in 4 weeks it’ll be hopefully!
When I registered for my number I was asked what time I’d do it in. Genuinely unsure, I said, maybe 52? You get your number, then drop your kit bag in as above, the day before race day. Then it’s rest for you at the end bot worked well.
With me just being happy I can run again, I didn’t set a time goal, but I thought I could do it in 55, but perhaps the event on the day would carry me home faster. My main aim was to enjoy it and not kill myself, and I managed that fine.
I knew it would likely be hot, so I was careful not to overdress, and I had a bum bag type thing for my phone and room key. It was a little annoying to start off with, but it soon settled down. I had a gu caffeine gel, which I took about half an hour before, and I’d had a coffee and (don’t judge me!) a small mars bar finger for the 95 calories and sugar boost, before I left the hotel.
I met Wendy (WP-bot) and Steff (Jeff-bot) and we walked the mile to the start. They started the 10k a bit later than me, and Jen (J-Bolt bit), Glynis (G bot), fiona (Fi bot) and Karen (Stickers bot) we’re starting the marathon a bit later.
I was given a red number in the C corral, and at the start I ended up just going more or less to the front if the start, albeit to the side to get out of any faster runners ways.
The start was organised really well in Preston Park – very well spaced out for the most part, then filtered with string and barriers to help spread people out.
Brighton on a whole didn’t seem to be don’t mask wearing though – which was a bit odd abs unsettling… but hopefully being double vaccinated and me wearing my mask when I wanted to helped protect me from any virus.
A couple of guys spoke to me at the start, joking that they wondered where I was from. And I had a joke with some ‘vegan runners’ about being from glasgow and chasing them. Then after that, the crowds didn’t seem to react too wildly to my Scottish flag / cape as I ran. Maybe 10-12 shout outs as I ran – ‘go Scotland’ … and the odd Scottish (and English) accent shouting out, cheering me on.
The best one was a young kid, about 9, cane right out of his way on the boardwalk afterwards as I was cooling down. He bounded over to me and said very energetically ‘I saw you on the course and you looked GREAT’. Then not long after a Scottish guy congratulated me in his strongest Scottish accent he could muster. We both laughed and I felt I’d made a wee bitty of a mark.
Anyway, back to the run. I decided that I would just go out and run it and enjoy myself. Keep abs eye on my heart rate, keep it below around 165 ish and see what happened. No pressure, not time goal, just run and see what the outcome would be.
The race started at 830 dead on, and before I knew it I noticed we seemed to be running on a gradual downhill or flat for quite a bit of the way. I took it all in and tried not to get carried along / away by all the male club runners around me, and before long I was settled into a nice pace.
Unfortunately my Garmin heart rate wasn’t coming though right, and it was telling me my heart rate was 130-140… when I knew it was probably 20 beats higher than that. So I had to ignore that and run by feel. It felt like it was around 155-165… so I stuck with it.
At around 2.5 miles in there was a short steep uphill, and I was chatting with a guy who was full of beans until the start of the hill, when I told him I wouldn’t talking up the hill, and let him bound on.
What goes up must come down, and we were back on the downhill again before I knew it. My miles were ticking off at under 8 minute mile pace, so I was good with that. I haven’t run that fast in I don’t know how long, and it was nice to be doing it in such nice conditions, at an event.
The weather wasn’t too warm, but it was getting there, and I had a feeling that it would be warm along the front. It was shaded under trees and buildings up to shut mile 4, and then as I thought, when you got into the front; the sun blasted the runners… first from the back, and then in your faces as you ran along the last mile and a quarter home.
I spoke to a few people on the course.. at one point around the 4.5 mile point I felt a runner just behind / alongside me… out of the corner of my eye I saw she had a red club vest on. We were ticking along really well together and I realised she was probably helping me to keep pace.
I asked her her name, and she said Jen. She looked like she was in her early 50s maybe (?) and we stuck together for a bit, before I said to her I might see her at the end and let her run on. I know my pace and heart rate by feel, and I knew I was probably going a wee bit too fast.
The last mile was hot, and I had mostly men around me. I asked one guy who seemed to be struggling (but keeping pace with me), his name. He was called Dan. I encouraged him along and with about a mile to go I said we could try to finish together.
A bit further along he asked me if I was going to do a spring finish… and I said I’d been sprinting the whole way. Lol.
With about 5 minutes to go I felt good, and knew I could probably hold on, even in the heat. Perhaps my flag cape was helping me too. Along the finish straight, I think I left Dan behind, and joked with 3 other men that they couldn’t be over taken by a woman, abs tried to get them to overtake me… but they weren’t up for it 😂…
I stopped my watch at 6.2 miles, a little bit before the chop finish line… and tried to do my best to smile / not to grimace for the cameras.
My watch said 47:20, and I was well pleased with that. At that time I had no real idea what my heart rate had been, but I know I pushed it to the max, and the downhills probably helped me go fast.
With my many watches (Garmin forerunner 645 for running, Apple Watch under a sweat band in my right arm) – it turns out my average HR was 161, and my max just as I finished was 180 – probably the max it should go.
The finish was very well organised. Filtering through, drinking water, picking up a banana, and getting my kit bag that is dropped in the day before. Better than doing it on the morning of the race. A change due to covid, but it would be good if that type of change is kept.
Fit Girl sent me a screenshot of my gun tune, 47:44, and it turns out my chip fine was 47:43. I was 47th female across the line (out if 1,200), and I was 6th in my 40-44 age group.
Looking back, it seems like this was my 4th fastest 10k, and my fastest since the women’s 10k in 2018 (47:10). With my pb of 44:14 well in the distant past (2011!). Running fast is hard, and I think that’ll be me for a while lol.
At the end as I got out onto the beachfront, a nice man called Dennis started taking the me saying I was ahead of him, and it looked like I had a great run. I took the opportunity to stretch my legs and we walked right along he boardwalk, until I knew i needed to get back to meet Wendy and Steff. He was saying his wife was recently injured from a half marathon they’d both done.
We got a selfie together, then I walked back to refill my bottle, rehydrate and eat my banana. Then I FaceTimed my dad and step mum and changed into some dryer tops.
I got Wendy and Steff after they finished we waited to see the marathon runners on the course. We saw Glynis at about 12 miles in abs she was looking very strong and happy.
Then hunger took over and we ended up getting over to the other side of the road though an illusive underpass before we had a good portion of fish and chips.
On a very hot day they did well, but there were some casualties. And as we stood about 0.3 miles from the finish, and about 26.5 miles into the course… I saw many many runners and reasons NOT to ever do a marathon again. We’ll see. Maybe one final one, one day.
At the end we helped Jen, Glynis, Fiona and Karen after their marathons. They did so well and I hope their bodies aren’t too sore for too long. They train well (Jen and Fi just did Glenmore 24 / 100 miles in 24 hours last weekend!)… and Glynis is on around 1352 days of a streak.
Fiona, Glynis and Jen went into the sea after And knowing how limbs don’t tend to work too well after marathons I went down to help them. I didn’t mean to get my feet / shoes in, but it was inevitable.
My soggy shoes and socks eventually dried out in front of a fan in my room when we were out for dinner.
Steak eggs and chips and a pudding I probably didn’t need, but it was tasty. I didn’t have great sleeps when I was away as the room was a bit hot, but I’ll have a relaxing Monday travelling back up, and then a good couple of weeks of leave to get me back and recovered.
All in all a great weekend, full of fun, laughter and back to near normality. I didn’t have an actual ice cream, but I did have ice cream with my apple crumble and custard dessert. It seemed like most of the ice cream stands were mr whippy types, so I’ll hold on for some real gelato at some point soon.