Thanks for all the well wishes from yesterday. I was ready this morning to aim high and push for a sub 60 min 10k. My fastest time (from 2010, and on an easier course) was 1.01.28, so I wanted to beat that. I went to the lucozade website and copied down the split times I needed per mile (9.29 per mile basically) and then I wrote down the km splits too as it suddenly occured to me that there would be km markers and not mile markers. They ended up being 5.54 per km, but seeing as I never pay attention to km times it was just for me to check at each marker.
The course starts off on a small country lane (I lined up at the back of the 55-60 mins time section, along with my brother who was also running), and then right after you cross the start mat you go along an old railway line (basically a muddy and stony path), a very steep uphill section, and then through a lot of fields, some woods, and finally back along some of the first section, across some playing fields to the finish. It has always been seen as a tough course, and they had changed the route this year to make it a little easier. There were supposedly no bottle necks (there used to be a style, and a few cow gates, steep downhill steps and a few other countryside things), but there was one where you had to go through a narrow gap in a hedge row to get onto some fields.
I kept checking my watch, and I kept the little bit of paper in my hand so I could check it at each km marker. For the first few kms, I was ahead by about a minute, but then I lost that time as I had to queue to get through the gap in the hedge (I met one of the Sweatshop runners there, and she said she had seen my brother a bit further back too). After that there was a long uphill section through some fields and I found that very tough indeed- the sun came out and it suddenly got very hot (I only had on a t-shirt and capris, but no visor or anything)- there was no shade and the mud was hard and rutted which seemed to make it tougher still. I was still doing OK for the times, although I am not sure that the markers were in the exact right places (which I am not complaining about, but the 5k marker for example was before I got to 3 miles on my watch- even allowing for a bit of weaving they are probably out by a bit)- I think I had around 30 seconds of leeway. I gave the water station a miss at around 7 kms as by that point I decided I would just wait until the end. There were some very narrow sections across fields and I could feel myself being very put off by the people overtaking as they were breathing very hard and sounded so close! I tried to move over when I could, but at some points the path was barely wide enough for one person to run across. At one point we ran across a field (of wheat perhaps?) and I found that off putting as the leaves kept brushing on my legs and I was convinced I was going to tread on one long leaf with one leg, and then trip over it with the other foot. Anyway, one thing I find hard at races is controlling the adrenaline. When we got to the 8km marker there were a few more people out, and I get that surge, which then leaves my legs feeling a bit wobbly. I am not sure how to deal with that really. There was a very steep downhill section (very stony too!!) and I did try to speed up, as I think my then I was cutting it fine, but I think I was being a bit cautious still.
Finally we reached the path near the fields, ran over a little bridge and then I could see the end! Just the edge of the playing fields to go. I think I had a minute to go on my watch and didn’t think I could make it, but I pushed as hard as I could!
I stopped my watch as I crossed the chip mats, and I was amazed to see I had made it in one hour (and about 30 seconds I think it says- very blurry pic!). I walked around for a bit, put on my medal and had some water, and waited for my brother as I knew he was a bit behind me.
There is the finish line! Excuse my finger in the way- I didn’t notice that when I took it! I really like the race as they have a 2k kids race earlier on, and a few stalls on the field and a bouncy castle too! A nice family morning out.
The medal has the race name and year engraved on the back. My Mum picked us up (Andy had dropped us off) and dropped me off at home as the parking can be very busy there.
Yes, I am awful at taking my own photo, but Andy has gone to the football today (otherwise he would have run the race too) so no-one around to do it for me. My face was all salty- I have not had that feeling in a while. I think it is actually quite warm out there, despite the cloudy weather.
I had some mango coconut water (my fave), a cereal bar and a little chocolate (we brought this back from Nice last May- I had forgotten all about it!) before a shower, and then had some lovely sourdough toast and an apple.
I checked the official results- 1 hour and 34 seconds! I will take that! It is a pb for me, and as Rose pointed out to me on facebook, it was an off road course so it was tougher than the same distance on roads. The last time I did that course was back in 2010 where I finished in 1.03.55, and my most recent 10K was the one in Nottingham in 2011 (1.01.33- that was on a gentler course too), so I am really pleased to beat all those times and get myself a new 10k pb!
I need to pop to the shops now, and then I have some work to do but at least I can do that sat down! Happy Sunday folks!