KB5 Race report – Vik Bailie

I’ve never done the KB5 before and it falls the same weekend as the Gartmorn 6 so choosing the race without the fantastic post race cake buffet was a big decision. Plus I’d only just done a 5 mile race at Cupar two weeks earlier so, in my head, that was my 5 mile PB ticked off for 2012 and I was ready to tackle another distance. So it took some arm-twisting from coach to enter this one but it is nice to try something new.

Lining up at the start, there were a couple of girls fairly near the front. It’s always a good chance to see who’s feeling confident by seeing how close to the front the other girls choose to stand. I’ve still not got the hang of this one as I tend to start fairly steadily rather than bolt off the line so I don’t want to go too far forwards and get trampled by the big guys but then I don’t want to get stuck behind someone who’s going to slow down after the first 500 metres. It’s a fine art but standing next to Garry’s always a fairly good bet so I went for that plan.

We had about 200 metres in the university grounds at the start before a left turn onto the main road and, as usual, masses of people surged past as the gun went and I had to scan to see how many were female. I was fourth at the corner out of the university, just behind Hannah who had a storming start and I just focused on getting into a comfortable pace.

There was a bit of pavement traffic with bins, slowing down runners and lampposts so I stuck behind Garry and weaved my way along and, as we passed Alex’s house, there were two girls up ahead running side by side. I was pretty sure they were the leading ladies and we were gaining on them pretty quickly and seemed to ease past them after about a mile.

As we went past I asked Garry if there were any more women up ahead. He gave me the answer I wanted and I was just thinking, ‘heck that’s easy, all other women passed in the first mile, time to cruise to the finish’ when I realised the breathing on my shoulder wasn’t male and that the university runner had stuck with me as I went past. I put in a bit of a kick to test her out and she stuck right on my shoulder. Then on the first uphill, she breezed past me as if the slope wasn’t there, making it look easy and put about 20 metres into me in no time. I had a race on my hands!

I caught back up as we got onto the flat and we carried on swapping position as I nudged ahead on each flat and slightly downhill section and she pulled away on the uphills so I knew she’d have the upper hand as we approached the long drag up to the top of the Braids. Heading round a sharp bend to the Hermitage, she took the corner wide and into the road which gave me a nice line as the path snaked to the right and I hugged the kerb and just edged ahead slightly. However, with parked cars coming up, she wanted back on the pavement and didn’t want to go round me. I stood my line and got a bit of elbow -probably quite rightly as I should have been nice and moved to the outside and let her have the inside path. I felt a bit bad getting slightly over-competitive but hey it was a race! I could tell Garry would be having a good chuckle to himself behind me as I’d accidentally (honest!) cut him up at Cupar 5 so he was probably glad to be out of my way!

Both back on the pavement, it was now hill time and, as expected, the university runner eased ahead again , making it look easy as I puffed and panted behind her and tried not to let her gain too much distance on me. Then, as the slope flattened out a bit into a residential street, I caught and went past her and got a bit of confidence back as I couldn’t hear her right on my shoulder and felt as though I was finally putting some distance between us as we reached the highest point of the race. I didn’t dare look back but knew she’d not be far behind and just tried to focus on the guys in front and to continue making up places and keep pushing the pace.

The next section was at least a mile of downhill which I love but Garry had warned Dan and I before the race to beware of the beast just before the end of the race as the downhill stretch turns suddenly into a steep kick of a hill. I felt I was keeping a good pace on the downhill and I was trying to plan the final section of the race in my head. I decided that I should be able to hold off the student runner until the uphill at least but, if she made an appearance then, I should stick behind her and then try and sprint past at the end.

Race strategies rely on other people doing what you think they’ll do though and on not getting a stitch from all the downhill running! As we turned onto the steepest downhill section along the main road heading for home, the student runner came whizzing past me which I’d not expected and, as I tried to open up and stay with her, I got a stitch. We then hit the steep hill and she breezed on ahead, while two other guys I’d recently passed also re-passed me and the last half mile became a real mental struggle.

I counted my footsteps for 100 paces up the sharpest bit of the hill to focus my mind on something other than the pain but my lungs were bursting and my stitch was making it sore to breath as deeply as I needed to. I was battling every part of my body just to keep going and I knew I was slowing. By the last 200 metre turn to the finish in the university grounds, the student was too far ahead to catch, even if I’d have had the energy to give it a try. I only managed to muster a sprint in the last few paces after Dan shouted ‘Don’t let her catch you Vik’ just before the finish line. I wasn’t going to lose 2nd place now so I gave it a bit of welly to cross the line and had a quick check for the lady behind me and realised Dan was telling fibs and there was nobody there. Brilliant.

Garry came in not too long afterwards, being a true gent and not sprinting past the third lady in front of everyone (at least that was his excuse!).

I’ve only ever had two races where I’ve had such a close battle for position with another female runner and it makes a nice change as it does really push you that extra little bit, especially when you know you’re racing for first place. The winning girl paced the race spot on and looked so strong right to the end so it was just the kind of race practice I needed. I know I can sometimes ease back or get complacent if I feel I’ve caught all the female runners I feel I’m capable of catching rather than pushing through the pain so learning to race right to the finish line, however much it hurts, is something I need to learn. And having the extra competition helped me to a new PB so I’ve managed to keep my record of a PB in every race so far this year. It’ll end soon no doubt but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!

2 thoughts on ““KB5 Race report – Vik Bailie”

  • Bryan

    Cracking report Vik. Amazing what you can learn from chasing the win, coming undone and still getting a PB on a tougher course than you PB’d at one week previous. Just need to figure out what’s bringing on these stitches.

    Can’t wait to be fit again and go pot hunting with you.

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