Today was the Lasswade 10 mile race, organised by the Lasswade Athletics Club.
After my failure to manage my bladder properly at last week’s Devilla Forest 15km race, I was careful to start the day without any coffee. So it was a slightly bleary Ham that drove east to get to the race.
|Snow on the Pentlands|
The first sign of the level of organisation for the race was that road signs had been erected all the way from the Edinburgh City Bypass to the village of Rosewell – the signs starting a good five miles or more from the village.
As I neared the village, I saw a whole row of cars parked at the side of the road. Well, we had been warned that parking in the village was limited, so I dropped the car off at the side of the road with all the others and walk a quarter mile or so to the village. The weather was crisp and quite cold – the nearby Pentland Hills were covered in snow – but at least it was dry and no wind.
Registration was quick and easy, and I was especially impressed that I was given a polythene bag with my race number – I could put my stuff in there and would be able to collect it at the end.
The registration area was quite busy with people waiting for the race to start, and since I didn’t know anybody there I decided instead to go for a walk around Rosewell village. It is a pretty little place with a couple of large, ornate churches
Soon I returned to the registration area for a quick visit to the gents, then I walked to the start line. I took off the last of my outer layers and put them in my bag, and left it with all the others at the start line.
|Church in Rosewell|
Seeing a portaloo there, I decided that I would make one final visit. There was a bit of a queue, however, and I was just finishing my abolutions (inside the portaloo) when the starter’s gun went off! The race had started, but as I dashed out I realised that I was in fact just able to join the group around two thirds of the way down the pack – probably exactly where I would have aimed to be!
There was a moment of confusion as my Garmin took a few seconds longer than I would have chosen to get a GPS lock, but within ten seconds or so it had picked up the satellites, I had managed to start the timer and the race was on!
As can be seen from the GPS plot, the route starts with a gentle uphill stretch for a little over a mile almost a mile of glorious downhill. But any road runner knows that when you go downhill, then come to a river flowing through a valley, there is a reckoning to come!
|16% gradient coming up!|
That reckoning was in the shape of a 16% hill we had to climb!
To be fair, the 16% part didn’t last for too long, and once again I was grateful that I live in a hilly area – it was on the hills that I was able to overtake people. On the flat I reckon that I was overtaken much more than I overtook – the hills were the opposite.
With minor moments of respite, the uphill continued from 2.25 miles through to about 6.3 miles. And yet what goes up will eventually come down! Won’t it?
I had been hoping for 1:20 for this run, but by the water station at six miles I realised that this just wasn’t going to happen. 1:25 was still (for me) a pretty fair time, and so I set that as my new goal. But as the downhill miles continued, I started wondering. Could I possibly catch up?
For the final two miles of the race, I ran as hard as I ever have in my life. Yes, they were substantially downhill, but even so I don’t think that I’ve ever run two miles at 7:30 minutes per mile pace. I was really feeling it as I ran, but since I was overtaking more people than passed me I reckoned I had to be doing something right.
|Part of the 16% hill|
Suddenly I came across a wonderful sign saying “400m to go”. The sign was a little earlier than the Garmin had suggested, but was no less welcome for that. Soon, there came a “200m to go” sign – I couldn’t let up the pace now – and I crossed the line in what my Garmin tells me was something around 1:18:29. Allowing for the slight mess-up at the start, I still reckon I should be counting on a time under 1:19 – which delights me!
|Me at the end|
After the race, there was a hugely impressive spread. The good people of the Lasswade Athletics Club and their spouses must have been baking for weeks prior to the race!
While there I met someone I had been speaking to at the Marathon Training Event held in Edinburgh a few weeks ago. She is recovering from injury, but still plans to do the Edinburgh Marathon – and in a good time; not just finishing it! I was very impressed by her determination!
After the prizegiving I collected my stuff and went home, being caught in a cold and miserable hail shower on the way. Good thing that didn’t fall during the race – it would really have put a downer on the race!
So, my thanks and congratulations to the Lasswade Athletics Club for a meticulously well organised race, over varied and very attractive scenery. Definitely a race I would recommend to anybody – well, anybody who’s tough enough for a few hills!