Sunday, 28 September 2014

Just a quickie : Trossachs 10k 2014 Race Report

As part of my training for the Great Scottish Run (Glasgow half marathon on the 5th of October) I had pencilled in an Fartlek interval session last weekend, a tempo run mid week and left the option open for the Trossachs 10k race this weekend before I do a weeks taper.  My tempo run on Wednesday went well but I overdid it in the last four miles putting them way 10k PB pace, so had DOMS for two days after.  This put my idea of using the Trossachs 10k as my last speed session in doubt... would my overused calf muscles be ready by Saturday?

Thankfully Saturday dawned with sunshine, which always perks me up, and legs that had mostly settled with just a little residual fatigue - I was good to race.  My parents were up for the weekend so drove myself and my two eldest daughter over to Aberfoyle for 10am.  I entered and at registration got chatting with Prasad, a local hill running legend who would be racing the on the relative flat, it's all relative though... the Trossachs 10k is still quite a hilly course with around 300ft of ascent/descent.  Prasad wen't on to win in it 32:30!

At 11am we all assembled at the start around and behind an arch made from Rainbow balloon's.  The arch was to signify the charity that the 10k was racing money for, but structural problems with the arch meant that it had to be reduced in size from one that could span the road to one that could span just a couple of metres.

Even me and my mum look tall next to the starting arch :-)

This little arch was placed at the start in the middle of road and we all assembled around and behind it not really knowing what to do.  This was a bit of of "Spinal Tap" feel to moment.  No time to dwell though, as soon as we were assembled the horn went off and we all scrambled through/around the arch.

My started a bit too far back from the front line of field so my first hundred metres were quite slow as I weaved through the field.

Shortly after start, plenty of road congestion, but sunshine so who minds?  Not me :-)
The start felt very slow as I weaved through the traffic.  My GPS trace suggests I was doing 7 min/mile pace for the first 100m so not too bad really.  I eventually got a bit frustrated an popped up onto the pavement and dropped to the pace to 6min/mile to get past the slowing field, and then slowed back down to pace pace once we turned right and up the first hill.

I'm the runner in blue on the pavement, getting a little impatient
I knew from my Killin 10k PB (39:14) back in August, and my last tempo run that I was in good shape and should be able to do a course PB, but as the course is different to Killin it was hard to know just how fast I might do it in.  I had attempted to go sub 40min at the Trossachs 10k three times before, failing each time as I slowed in the second half, my best attempt had been a 40:35 back in 2011.  A sub 40 min time felt like a good target, this meant 4 min per km.

Half a km into the race and I had made my way into the top ten, and by the first km marker I was in 7th.  The time was 4:08, ouch my slow start had meant I was quite well down on my target.  The next km was on average uphill so was slow too, I went through in 8:10.   Ouch.. A sub 40 min time wasn't going to come easy.

I was working comfortably hard, heart rate already up around the mid 170's - rather try and pull back the time quickly I just focused on running smoothly and keeping the effort level up to where I felt I could sustain it.  The 3km marker came with good news, I went through in 12:06 so I was now just 4 seconds down.  The 4km market came in 16:02 and I was slowly gaining on the 6th placed runner who was now only 30m ahead.

The half way point is always a key point in a race and my previous races at Trossachs 10k I had often got to the half way point just under 20 minutes.  This year was no exception I went through in 19:58, the difference this year was how I felt - I was pushing hard but felt stronger and more control of the race.  The second half has several more hills to tax ones legs so I knew the race wasn't in the bag yet.

I passed the 6km marker in 23:54, and 7km passed I was chipped some more time off my 4 min/mile target.  Each km also felt like it passed quickly.  Some races fatigued just warps time so every step, every marker seems to take forever, and previously couple times at the Trossachs 10k had been like this, with me desperately hanging on for the last few km trying to stay ahead of the 4min/mile target and loosing.   This year was different, I was running faster and still had a little in reserve. 

I had been catching the 6th placed runner from the 2nd km, and on the last hill before the 8km marker I got to within 5m on the ascent and waited till the descent to make a decisive move to overtake. I caught and passed strongly but knew the next few hundred meters were crucial, I couldn't just pass and then stay a few meters ahead if I wanted to secure 6th, I'd need to keep the surge going.

The last km you go from forest tracks and paths to tarmac path.  The path is very slightly uphill and when running hard at the end of 10k it can really drag.  For the first time in 8km I caught a glimpse of runners perhaps a couple of hundred meters ahead, I was closing the gap but they were way too far ahead to.  I steadily wound up the pace to best I could manage, racing against the clock, I was confident of a sub 40 min time, but how far below?

100 meters to go, my dad captures me flying!
 Massive crowds roared us in, ok, a few families and walkers, and for a bit of novely my dad was hear to capture it all.

Having fun running flat out

50m's to go.

I passed through the rainbow arch and stop my watch, 39:34 in 6th place out of 76th finishers.  A personal best for the route of 1:01.  I was completely out of breath at the finish so struggled to chat to my family and friends for a minute, but I was totally elated on running such a good race.

My thanks to Trossachs 10k organizers and marshals, it was another great race.  Thanks also to my parents for their support, and to my dad for the great photos.


  1. Great race photos - I usually look like Quasimodo's less handsome older brother in race pics!

  2. Thanks, my Dad did a good job of capturing the start and end of the race.

    My dad said that everyone ahead of me except Prasad looked totally exhausted at the finish, and I didn't... I thought I had put my all into the race, can other runners tap into reserves I don't tap into? Or is it that I just rely on a lots of slow twitch fibers that can't go fast but also don't crucify you like overwhelmed fast twitch fibers? Or is it just that I'm better at hiding the inner turmoil...

    I've seen it in ultra's as well, you can look outwardly in good shape but inside you're shattered.