Five mile races are, in my opinion, so much better than 10ks. You get to 2.5 miles and you’re half way! Yes this is an obvious statement, but mentally it’s so much easier to segment the race when everything is hurting.
I’m not keen on 5ks and I hate 10ks. I much prefer the longer distances – 10 miles and halfs are perfect. I get into my stride and enjoy the race because I’m not absolutely blasting the pace. Five miles are a kind of happy medium because I’m not clinging on to the speed (well, my version of speed anyway) for too long, which I think 10ks push me to. Though I suppose I should be running faster than I would in a 10k…
Before I get onto the Beer race, can we just talk about the random fluke thunderstorm on Saturday morning? What was up with that!? Ben and me headed down to Parkrun in rain and crashing thunder and lightening. Ten minutes before the start the heavens opened up in a big way and soaked us all.
We were helping pace a friend round as we were racing the next day. There was a nice group of us running round together. We all got soaked and covered in mud.
As Ben and I drove home, blissfully unaware of what was to come, I daydreamed about a lovely hot shower. We got home to find the water wasn’t working. Bare in mind that our legs are covered in mud, we’re absolutely soaked and freezing. What timing!? In the end we had to go round Ben’s mum’s house to borrow her shower – we were so grateful!
Moving on to Sunday, Ben, me, our running club friend, Matt, and our support crew (my parents & Ben’s mum) went to the Braishfield 5 mile beer race. So-called because you get a token for beer and a cake afterwards rather than a medal.
The weather was very warm, but I knew they’d be a bit of shade on the course so I wasn’t too worried.
I was quite pessimistic about this race. I knew I wasn’t anywhere near the shape I was in last year and I haven’t been consistently running since the hip saga. But hey ho, with the goal of CAKE in mind I warmed up and got myself ready on the start line.
Previously I’d achieved 34:20 and so I (doubtfully) set myself the challenge of sub-36 minutes. It’s a fairly hilly course but all on road.
As I got into the first mile I felt OK. I decided to ignore my watch and just run on feel. I was conscious to not blast it out and ruin myself for the rest of the race. I also knew there was a lovely hilly on the first mile.
As I got into the second mile, I just felt so tired and fed up. I could feel myself struggling, my pace was rubbish and I was hot and bothered. Self-doubt and annoyance just clouded my brain: “You’re rubbish”, “Last year you were so much better – what have you done in a year?”. I considered just dropping out. Pretending I felt ill or weak. How terrible is that?
I passed the 4 mile marker at at 2.5 miles as the course loops back on itself (I hate this, so demoralising). To keep myself going I kept thinking “soon you’ll be back here, in under 15 minutes.” So I kept that 4 mile marker in my head as my next target to get to.
I managed to pick one girl off ahead of me which perked me up a bit, but I still saw three girls ahead of me. I was also certain there was another far ahead too. I finally got to that 4 mile marker and knew it was under 8 minutes until the end.
A man ran up next to me. He was faster than I was so I started to drop back from him, happy for him to overtake. At this point the race was over for me. At absolute best I could be fifth female so it was all about maintaining that position and just finishing now. He turned to me and said “come on, keep with me”. I replied, “no, no, you go on. I can’t”.
But he replied, “No come on, dig deep.” Believe me, I was digging deep to stay with him. Everything in my body was screaming at me now. But it felt rude to not stay with him. He was absolutely brilliant. He kept pushing me, even when I whined “honestly, go on.” He just kept me going. We picked off one of the girls ahead.
Then we turned the corner, and it was the final lap around the field (thank god I knew about it this time!)
Then the final sprint.
Honestly, without that guy’s help I would have come 5th female and probably just coasted to the end. I turned round and thanked him and gave him a hug. I was so chuffed! He really pushed me and got me that position.
Ben and Matt’s race had been good as well. They ran a fair way together.
The selection was amazing. This photo doesn’t even do it justice. There were so many options! I went for a slab of rocky road.I gave my beer to my dad (of which he was very pleased with) as there’s no way I could have drunk it after the race. I rarely drink beer at the best of times!
And of course, the support crew who we were very grateful to cheer us on.I didn’t actually know I was third female at this point though. I wasn’t sure how many girls had finished in front of me so we decided to wait and see the prize giving, just in case. Plus the sun was shining and it was nice milling around talking to people (and also buying more cake…shhh!)
I’m not going to lie, I was (am) disappointed with my time, which is stupid because I knew I wouldn’t get close to last year’s time before the race began. Also I was in such better shape this time last year with all the 10ks I was doing. But I couldn’t help but just feel a bit rubbish about it. Seriously, a minute and a half worse? And I was putting everything into it.
Anyway we stood there waiting for the results, and I only had a glimmer of hope. So I was genuinely surprised and so very chuffed when they called my name for third!
It was a good day out, don’t get me wrong, and I’m over the moon with getting third (and cake). But I can’t shake the disappointment. Because of my stupid niggles and hic ups I haven’t been able to improve on my times. It’s like, what have I been doing for a year?! Where’s my progress?
But I know I just need to focus on my next challenge and not get bogged down with the shorter distance races that I don’t enjoy as much.
Have you ever been disappointed with your performance?
How do you move past a disappointment?