The fast courses, excellent organisation and strong fields have always made the Polaroid 10k series an attractive set of events in my running calendar and since discovering them a couple of years ago, the four runs have consistently made it into my spring calendar. This year however I decided to take a different approach to my season and, rather than enter the series in its entirety, I decided to focus my attention on a single race: Clydebank.
Having experienced a decent run of training, I set my sights on a new PB. My time of 33:08 during this series last year gave me the confidence to aim to break the 33 minute barrier and secure a time in the 32 minute range. With only one race to aim for, I was able to focus my training on this particular event and even gave myself the luxury of two days off running in preparation for it.
My confidence took a slight knock on the way to the race as the heavens opened and the rain threatened to scupper any chance of a fast run. As the evening progressed however things eased up and by the time I was heading out for my warm up, the downpour had ceased completely. The poor weather had not put too many off and a large field of over 700 runners made their way to the start line.
The race began with a bang I tucked in behind the leaders. I had noticed a couple of regular faces on the start line and made the decision to stick with them for the first section of the race. It was not far into the race that I realised that this had perhaps not been the wisest decision – I passed the first mile marker and glanced at my watch. 5mins 02secs. This was much quicker than I had intended to run and I knew that I would not be able to maintain this pace for the full distance. I made the decision therefore to allow the rest of the pack to get away from me and I found myself striding along with a single runner tucked in on my shoulder.
We remained together for the majority of the race as the miles ticked by at a more reasonable rate and I knew that things were going to be close. Approaching the final mile I had another glance at the watch. I realised that I would need to step up the pace in order to hit my target and so put in one final burst. As the finish line approached I was exhausted and struggled to make out the digits on the clock but knew that I could not afford to slow down – the knowledge that I was not racing in the remaining events of the series forced me to push on. There was no chance of easing up to ‘have another go’ next week; it was now or never. I crossed the line and was ecstatic to discover that I had finished in 32:48 – 20 seconds faster than my previous PB and comfortably within my target!
Now that the race is over I will be looking through my diary for the next target. I am positive that my decision to enter only one event of the series was central to my succeeding and hitting my target. When things got really tough it was definitely the awareness that this was my only chance to hit my target that kept me pushing on – if I had been racing next week it may have been more difficult to dig deep and keep suffering! I look forward to attending the Dumbarton 10k next week as a spectator and will enjoy watching the rest of the Harriers push on.
Thanks to Kenny Phillips for the photos.