After feeling ill with a virus for 2½ weeks, I knew I wouldn't have a great run and in fact it wasn't really a brilliant idea to be running at all. Also I woke up this morning with my lower back in spasm, possibly caused by slumping over the laptop the whole day yesterday getting the SHR Calendar put online. So I arrived at Rosewell with back aching and feeling generally washed out, and that was before I'd started running!
However it was a beautiful bright spring day to be running in the lee of the Pentlands, albeit with a stiff westerly wind. It was good to see former Westies Alan Wilson and Marc McColl on the startline. The first time I'd seen Marc racing in years.
The race was started by an old guy with a serious-looking starting pistol that made those standing near him feel a bit nervous. The first mile was uphill and straight into the wind, so just a case of tucking in. The next mile drops steeply into Roslin Glen, then the 3rd mile is a killer climb back out of the glen that knocks the stuffing out of you. I thought 2 of my closest hill-running contemporaries Dave Burgess and John Kay might provide useful pacing, but in fact I couldn't keep anywhere near them, and they both pulled away after mile 3.
Miles 5, 6 and 7 are more or less all uphill, and I didn't feel too lively on this section. Just before the highpoint of the course I caught and passed Marc McColl who seemed to be suffering with cramp or hamstring problems. But once the course levelled off and started descending, Marc scampered past me again.
I felt pretty washed out and sluggish for the final 3 miles, and got passed by Alistair MacDonald of Dundee Hawkhill. At mile 8 it was nice to get a friendly shout from Stewart Whitlie who looked to be on domestic duties. Then just before mile 9 I shuffled past a labouring Corstorphine runner. The final mile was through the scenic grounds of St Joseph's Hospital. Jogging towards the sign "400m to go" I had a Portobello runner barrelling down on me, so I had to put in a very uncomfortable sprint for the final 200 metres to hold position, which was probably about 18th in a watch time of 1:01:40, which is a second faster than I ran on the old course 3 years ago. My Garmin 405 indicated I finished at 5:12 min/mile pace!