Yesterday, I got up at shit o’clock™ to get the train to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run 5K.  I’m not a morning person, and I’m especially not a morning person who likes to get up at 6 am to sit on a train for over an hour.  But, not knowing what the future holds, I figured if I wanted to do a “destination” run in the UK, I should pick one that’s at least close enough to travel back and forth from without requiring a night in a hotel.

 

The train ride was uneventful, and when I arrived in Edinburgh, I had no idea where I was going.  I was glad to spot some other runners and followed them to Holyrood Park.  I was a bit shocked to see how high the hill was having not ventured into this area of Edinburgh before.  I wondered what I had got myself into.  I knew that it was partially up hill, but I didn’t think it was quite that high.

 

I had plenty of time to stand around and people watch until it was time to get into the corrals.  I was in the green corral and it was certainly quite crowded.  There was barely enough room to stand, let alone do the warmup.  I wonder if the person leading it realises that she has a lot of space to move, and that those of us on the ground can’t really do the movements unless we want to kick and step on our neighbours.

A few minutes after 10 and the green corral was off.  It was a bit crowded and we slowly gained elevation.  At one point I thought I was going quite fast, as the first km marker appeared within about 4 minutes.  The second one took a bit longer and balanced out and then started to be more consistent with Runkeeper.

The first 3 kilometres had us slowly gaining elevation, but once hitting the 3rd km marker, the world seemed to open up and you could see the city Edinburgh as I’ve never seen it before.  Had the sun been out, it would have been even more brilliant.  If it hadn’t been a race, I’d have stopped to take pictures!  In fact, I want to go back and walk up and around this area taking my time and taking pictures!

The last 2 kilometres were downhill.  What a rush!  I felt like a child running down a hill!  It’s probably the first time I’ve experienced such a runner’s high.  I’m not sure if it was the view or the altitude or what, but it was terribly exhilarating.  I had to actively work to control my speed and keep from just flinging myself down the hill.  These were probably 2 of my fastest ever kilometres at 5:33 and 5:52! If I want to PR my 5k, I need to find an all downhill one!

And then, as quick as it started, the race was over.  I had really picked up the pace at the end, and I nearly forgot to grab my bag with my shirt, water, and medal.

My official time was 34:11, not a PR but considering the hill at the beginning, I’m pleased.  Especially as (mile wise) I had negative splits the entire way (12:29, 11:09, 9:16, 8:14 (for the .14).

I’m hopeful I will be able to PR at some point, provided the course is flat or downhill!  🙂

All in all, it was a great event and I’m glad that it didn’t rain!