Saturday dawned for the Women’s Running 10km race and the weather looked like it was going to live up to expectations, slightly grey and with a nice chill to the air. Exactly what I was hoping for after July’s excessively sunny race! The Boyf and I got to Finsbury Park in plenty of time to grab a coffee (him) and fit in a pre-race loo stop or two (me) as I went over my race plan. The aim was to run at 6:46mins/km giving a finish time of 67:35, a time I’d be happy with given I finished my last race in 71:17.
We had a look at some of the course and it became apparent that the race description of “some inclines” translated to “not much flat, mostly uphill/downhill”….thankfully I’ve done a fair few inclines in my training so I figured my planned pace was still achievable.
I skipped the official warm-up as I’m not a fan of static stretches completed after 30 seconds of jogging on the spot and then made my way to the start, positioning myself between the 60 minute and 70 minute pacers. The key thing in my mind was not going off too fast and tiring myself out, so I made sure I kept we’ll behind the 60 min group as we set off. A quick check of my Garmin showed I was going a bit faster than planned, but it felt ok and so I just pushed on with my Zombies for company. I did have a few app issues while running but managed to keep my legs moving and get my music back on without having to slow up too much.
As I came passed the 3km point I saw The Boyf, iPhone at the ready to get a couple of snaps of me. He said afterwards that I had nearly caught him by surprise as I’d come round a lot quicker than he was expecting (18:57). My first real problem came just after 5km when I got a bit of a stitch but I wasn’t prepared to give up and focused on taking in some deep breathes and pushing onwards.
Thankfully it passed quite quickly and I didn’t have to slow up too much. I took the second 5km slightly slower than the first (I still need to put in some more training before I can manage a good place and a negative split) but I managed to stay on or ahead of my target. The real struggle came at the top of the hill at about 9.5km, I’d run up it but getting to the top I was knackered, I’d pushed it a bit too hard and slowed to a walk, a swift virtual kick up the butt and I convinced myself that I was too close to the finish to quit now and allowed myself 10 seconds of walking before picking up the pace again. Down the gentle incline towards the finish I picked up the pace and pushed it for a sprint(ish) finish….cross the line, stop the Garmin and grab a medal. I was a bit oxygen starved at this point and completely missed the people handing out t-shirts, dodging other finishers I fought my way out into the open and started to get my breath back. The Boyf came to the rescue with my pre-prepped bottle of Nuun and after grabbing my finisher’s t-shirt we headed off for celebratory food in London in the form of an awesome Burger & Lobster, Lobster Roll and gelato of amazingness from Oddono’s at Selfridges.
By the time we’d reached the station platform I’d received my text officially confirming my official finish time as 65:17……6 minutes quicker than my last race and over 2 quicker than I had planned for. To say I’m pleased is an understatement, it really does show that consistent training can make a difference! Overall I finished 356th out of 621 runners and 114th out of 179 in my age group. Still some work to do, but at least it gives me motivation to keep at it and keep fighting to get faster.
After the race I did have a bit of an aching left ankle (something I’d suffered from during the week as well), but it held up well as we walked a further 10km round London and I was pain free on Sunday…..fast forward to tonight and I’ve been suffering on and off all day, I’ve pinned the issue down to my work shoes, I think I’ve worn them to death over the last 5 months so it’s time to ditch them I think. I’ve reached this conclusion as the moment I checked in to the hotel and started walking barefoot around my room the pain eased, fingers crossed it’s an accurate assessment and I can get this sorted before I becomes a big problem for me and I have to skip training.
My Garmin Track & Stats