Pure running races without any obstacles are not normally my thing, but it was a short 5km race, local to where I live (Edinburgh) and my wife Harriet was keen to run it. I felt it was also a good way to ease back into racing after a couple weeks off over Christmas and New Year; and after maybe overindulging slightly on chocolate and junk food during that time ;)
It turned out to be an enjoyable race and we both had pretty good times despite the freezing cold temperature and the steep hill at the start of the race. Harriet pushed me all the way, and our own personal head-to-head race came right down to the wire...
Even though it was freezing cold, the atmosphere at the start of the race was great and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. I definitely felt more relaxed than I normally do pre-race, possibly because I had decided beforehand to treat this as a training run. Though this mindset would later change, as it became a heated competition against Harriet :P
The pre-race warm up led by a PureGym instructor was fun and I felt it actually did a pretty good job of getting my body ready for running; something that I was a bit worried about due to the very cold weather and the steep hill waiting for us at the start of the race.
When the pistol was fired, we set off at a moderate but conservative pace (Harriet had warned me not to set off too fast before the race haha). The steep hill of Queen's Drive, up and around Arthur's Seat, was quickly upon us, and it had an immediate effect on a lot of other runners. I think many people had underestimated the steepness and difficulty of the climb, and it wasn't long before many runners started to slow and even step off to the side.
Harriet kept the same pace going the entire climb, with me panting heavily a few steps behind, struggling to keep up. This first km passed in only 4m 45s, a lot quicker than I had planned or expected for the steep climb.
Mercifully the road began to level out about 2-3km, though Harriet's pace certainly didn't. My quads were burning from the climb, and I was gasping for air trying to keep up. I could see her glancing over her shoulder every now and then, trying to see where I was, and I was very close to shouting out "Go on without me!" in a dramatic fashion.
However I trudged on, I kept telling myself if I could just keep up until the downhill section, then I would have the advantage and take the lead at that point on the assumption that I would be a lot quicker.
The steep downhill section was fast to say the least. Pretty much had no control over my legs, and don't think I could've stopped or slowed down If I wanted to haha. Though my theory of me being quicker than Harriet at this point didn't quite pan out, and if anything she increased her lead on me slightly! The descent was over in a flash, with my gps watch beeping telling me the split for that km was a ridiculous 3m 40s.
On to the home straight, a reasonably flat km back towards the finish line at Holyrood Park. I could feel my strides becoming longer and my breathing heavier, trying to close or at least maintain the distance to Harriet. I managed to just about stay in striking distance, and then with only 100 metres to go I took my chance.
I mustered up everything I had and took off for a sprint finish. I shot past Harriet, and then past another a few runners, and just kept going; overtaking numerous others in the last 50 metres before the line. I'm not sure who was more surprised, Harriet or myself, that I had enough in the tank for a sprint finish at the end. I think it must've been down to the powerful motivation of not getting beaten by your wife! haha.
We are by no means pure runners so results-wise, both our times were fairly respectable I would say. Out of about 3500 runners, I finished 199th with a time of 22m 11s. Harriet came in 8s later in 207th overall position, and an impressive 28th female.
Overall it was a fun and enjoyable race, and I loved the secondary competition against Harriet; it certainly pushed me to go faster than I would've by myself. It's only a matter of time before she beats me I think haha.
Great start to the year, and hopefully the first of many enjoyable runs, OCRs, mud runs and challenges to be faced in 2016.