My first race of the year!
RunThrough run a number of 5 and 10km races in parks around London throughout the year. They are relatively small and so its possible to enter at short notice or even on the day – I entered just three days before the race. I picked it because I was looking for a 10km in January, and it took place in Brockwell Park which is less than a 10 minute run from my house.
On Saturday night I went out with James and his sister for dinner and then James and I watched Harry Potter, so I wasn’t in bed until shortly after midnight, feeling less than happy to get up when my alarm went off at ten past eight! I really felt I did not want to run, I wanted to go back to sleep in my warm bed, I didn’t want to run fast, I couldn’t care less about a new 10km PB (one of my goals for the year). But I know these feelings – I have them every time I go to run a park run fast. Its a mental way of trying to let myself off the hook. But I didn’t let it, and I left on time (after a quick cereal bar) for an easy 10 minute warm up jog to the park, through a damp, misty, mild morning.
As with most small races, packet pick-up was quick and easy, no queue to collect my race number and timing chip. With plenty of time, I jogged slowly up the hill to stand in a queue for the toilets (there were portaloos right by the start but the queues there were very long!) and then back down towards the start. We were led through a brief warm-up and then queued up behind the start-line. The speedy runners (40 minutes and faster) were called first, and then we all proceeded to line up in order of how fast we thought we’d be. I tried to go at the back of the 50 minute group. A 10 second count-down, and we were off!
There was quite a lot of congestion in the first kilometre, but I was still running at above goal pace and it felt pretty easy, swept along in the crowd. The congestion started to ease up the first hill, but I know this hill well from Park Run so was able to keep going. As always, I overtook quite a few people on the way up, who bombed past me as we started descending! Down the hill, round the corner, and then there was another hill that I don’t usually run up – I enjoyed this one much less especially as it had a very steep bit at the top where my legs felt as if they had weights attached to them! Then there was a bit of a flat, a steep downhill, and we started on the second lap. The race was three laps in total, so six times up the hill.
I have only run one 10km race that didn’t have a swim and a cycle attached to it, a very busy race through central London with not a particularly good time. Then in training earlier this year I ran a sub 55 minute 10km in the middle of a longer run. So my aim was to get as far below 55 minutes as possible, but other than that I wasn’t really sure! I came through half way on time for running 52 minutes and feeling good, so I tried to up the pace slightly.
As I ran up the second hill for the second time, having been running for about 30 minutes, the lead runner came zooming past, a good five minutes ahead of everyone else. This gave me a little boost watching him and I managed to not slow down too much on the hill! Then I was on my last lap, able to give it everything on the hills as I knew it would soon be over. Last hill done, I sped past the people I was running with and starting storming down the hill. A girl overtook me and I thought the race is on! So I picked up my pace and ran past her…only for her then to come flying past me at the bottom of the hill, and try as I could, running I think the fastest I have ever run, I could not keep with her!
I crossed the line in 51 minutes 5 seconds, so very very happy with my time. I know now that I will, one day, be able to run a sub-50 minute 10km – it wasn’t so very long ago that I didn’t think that was feasible at all. I remember saying to my mum just a year or so ago “I think I could probably run sub-55 minutes one day” – this is what I love about running, the way you just keep getting better!!!
I really enjoyed the RunThrough race, it was incredibly well organised, there were lots of snacks at the end, the volunteers were all incredibly friendly and helpful despite the light drizzle, it’s so close to my house – and the medal is beautiful. I would definitely do this one again!