I had high hopes of getting a PB before this race – my previous being 35.41 at the Heaton Harriers 10k on the town moor in November. I’d love to break 35 minutes and this was going to be the first race I’d attempt it- the Heaton 10k has a number of tight right angle bends and u turns which I reckon could account for 11 seconds, leaving me 30 seconds to find.
I’ve been running well since November so I thought it could be achievable although everything would have to come together on the day.
Unfortunately things didn’t come together on the day – some of it my own fault & some of it not.
The first thing that didn’t come together was the weather -strong winds and rain were forecast for the morning.
The course is an out and back along the sea front, the first half being with the wind against you. Logically you would think that any negative impact of running into the wind on the way out would be counterbalanced by having it behind you on the way back in, but anyone who’s ever ran in wind will tell you this certainly isn’t the case. It’s the same with hills.
The second thing that didn’t come together was my pre-race preparation. For some unknown reason I thought it would be a good idea to have a full cooked breakfast 2 hours before the race – what was I thinking? I’m supposed to be an experienced runner and I’m making a schoolboy error like this!
Sitting in the car just before the race was about to start I could noticeably feel that it hadn’t fully digested and I felt sluggish. As I lined up at the start I made another schoolboy error. I was only a few rows off the start, but I should have been on the line. This race doesn’t have chip timing, and while the couple of seconds before I crossed the line wouldn’t make that much difference, weaving in and out of people for the first couple of hundred metres certainly didn’t help. The problem is that a lot of people who want to have a good race and maybe get a pb go to the front of the race so they don’t lose time crossing the start line.
An event where there is a field of almost 600 runners should really have chip timing, although this is my only criticism of the race – it’s only £9 to enter including a t-shirt with free parking dead on the start/finish line.
I had decided I was at least going to try to break 35 mins, but may have to revise my goal if the wind proved too strong.
Once the race set off and I got into a rhythm I knew fairly quickly that this wasn’t going to happen – my first mile was 5-44 when I should have been on 5-37 pace and I was struggling. Once the race took a left turn onto the seafront & sand dunes and shelter for the wind was lost and we were running straight into it and I slowed even more, my second mile dropping to 6-04 and I was feeling worse.
In a 10k race I’m normally able to hold my target pace reasonably comfortably for the first couple of miles, and then it starts to get tougher after that but the first 2 miles felt like the last 2 normally do. I started playing mental mind games with myself – what had went wrong? It wasn’t just the wind – have I been running too many miles, should I have done parkrun yesterday, was it the effects of by breakfast not being fully digested, has my training been wrong.
Mile 3 went by and I was still feeling the same, thankfully this is where the route takes a u turn and the wind was now behind me. Ok so I’m not going to break 35 minutes but can I still get PB? It didn’t take long for that question to be answered with a definite NO, as I still felt pretty much the same.
On the way back I spotted Ria Knox coming the other way & gave her a wave as she shouted back encouragement – I love moments like this I a race & always think it helps to spur you on.
Ok, so what’s the next goal – beat last years’ time of 37:23. That’s pretty much spot on 6 minute pace and I was running around 5-54 so if I could just keep going I should be able to do it.
Soon I was into the last mile and I actually overtook a few runners, although this was definitely because they slowed down as opposed to me speeding up as I was on my limit. My stomach was starting to churn now and I was glad it was only a 10k race otherwise I think I’d have to stop to be sick.
I crossed the line in 36-45 (according to my Garmin, race results aren’t out yet) – well outside of what I was initially aiming for, but I always try and take a positive from a race. My positive from this race is that I managed to keep going & pushing hard throughout the race even though I lost the mental battle with myself and was feeling terrible throughout the race.
I’d also like to say I’d learned a few lessons, but they should be lessons I’ve learned years ago so I really need to make sure I don’t make them again.
The biggest positive I always take from a race though is the I came through it without injury and am already planning for my next one (the 3 peaks fell race in 2 weeks time).
Also, well done to Ria who did get a PB of 51:02 which I’m sure would have been sub 50 given better conditions on the day.