Grangemouth race report – Vik Bailie

Grangemouth is never going to win any prizes for its scenery but for a race in March, it managed a huge field and a gorgeous warm sunny day. We’d been trying to get enough runners for a women’s team to challenge for the team prize and despite both of them nursing injuries, Sheenagh and Lyndsey had gallantly turned up to make up enough counters. And at registration, Garry spotted that Sue was running which was an extra bonus! Dan and Neil were leading the way for our guys with Dan on the hunt for another PB.

In terms of goals, I’d wanted to run well to help the women’s team and also see if I could nudge under 37 minutes for the first time. I was nervous though as I always line up next to Garry at the start and I couldn’t find him or Sue for that matter as my tactical plan was to tuck behind her – they were both hiding at the opposite side of the start line.

As the gun went, so did several strong female runners and I tried to count them quickly to work out what place I was in. As we settled into the first kilometre, I was 6th with a couple of ladies in sight just ahead. I felt I’d had quite a fast start – I couldn’t see Sue or Garry so I knew I couldn’t be taking it too easy if they were behind me so I didn’t worry about my position as I usually start to catch other runners as the race gets going. After the first long straight kilometre, I was feeling really comfortable and felt to be running within myself and started to pass other runners.

After catching a couple of female runners, I caught a girl from Glasgow uni who then stuck with me for a few minutes and I thought we’d be able to have a good paced run together but she just dropped off the pace a little and I didn’t see her again. I tried to not worry about finding someone to work with and just to run my own race.
After a few kilometres, I saw Keith up ahead with what I thought must be the third lady and thought I’d try and catch up with them and hang on the back of the group. However, I was just feeling really comfortable as I caught up with them and decided to head on past and got a ‘go on Vik’ from Keith as I went past. If I could stick with third place, I’d be delighted as the first two were way ahead by this stage and a far better class of runner!

As we reached 4k though, my mind began to play tricks on me. I tried really hard not to look at my watch and told myself that I could have a quick glimpse at 5k just to see what pace I was going at. A mixture of not knowing how well I was running, not having anyone really to run with and not having any exciting scenery to take my mind off the run, started to get to me. I wasn’t feeling tired but my mind was definitely wandering from the race. And then I started thinking about whether I’d be able to carry on the rest of the race without getting a stitch. And inevitably, as soon as I thought about it, I got a stabbing pain that slowly started to get worse.

I decided that it was me thinking about it that brought the pain on so that it’d be a case of mind over matter and I could also make it go away. At 5k, it was really starting to affect my breathing but I was swinging my arms and breathing out hard to try and make it go away. My halfway time was 18:20 so I was still going well and I knew I just needed to take it slightly easy to let the pain ease and not panic or else it’d get worse.

Up ahead, I was catching up with John Blair and stuck in behind him for a few minutes as I didn’t want to go past and then suddenly slow if my pain got worse. I knew I couldn’t be slowing too much if I was keeping with him. He confirmed I was in 3rd place which gave me a bit of a mental boost but then the pain started getting worse and I couldn’t breathe in as hard as I needed to without a sharp pain. John passed me as did a group of guys. Fortunately though, no girls came past and, as we reached 6k and headed back towards the stadium, I started to feel better and picked up the pace again.

I caught John’s group, went past and he stuck with me as we both pulled away from the others. The last 3k were great fun as John and I worked together on keeping the pace high and we slowly caught a few more runners. I’d decided that, if no girls had passed me when I’d slowed down, then I’d got a very good chance of keeping my position now that I felt better but, as we headed to the switchback just before the last kilometre, I didn’t dare look back.

John was flying now and I was trying to stick with him as, having another quick glance at my watch, I realised that my stomach pains hadn’t scuppered my sub 37 goal and I gave it a good push for the final 500m. I stopped my watch delighted to have knocked off 25 seconds from my PB and take third place in 36:45.

I wanted to see how the rest of the team were doing to see if we’d be able to take the team prize. Sue followed Garry into the stadium, followed by Sheenagh who’d had a really challenging run nursing a bad hip pain. Gold stars to her for finishing and she’ll be flying for the rest of the road season once that hip starts to behave itself! Lyndsey also had an eventful race. In her first race back from injury, she hit the deck, scraping her knee and hand. Although she thanked the guy who’d stopped mid race to help her up and check she was OK by sprinting past him on the finishing straight!

It was a long wait for the prizes and we were hopeful of the team prize but not anywhere near certain. Overall though it was a great result for the whole team. As Garry’s previously mentioned in the results post, as well as my third and Neil and Sue’s vet prizes, we were first women’s team. Plus Dan also got a new PB so all in all a good day out in the sun!

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