I think I’ve said this about a zillion times on this blog (and in person) but I truly hate 10ks. I’ve come to be OK with 5ks because mentally you can deal with that level of pain (because it is painful for me in terms of effort) for around 20* or so minutes.
(*relative time, depends on my fitness!)
But for 10ks? That’s a long time. Yes you’re going slower than you are for the 5k but you’re still working at a level that is hard effort, heavy breathing, focused attention and lactic acid.
I’d signed up to Lordshill 10k before the marathon. To be honest anything after the marathon was dream-world; I couldn’t see past it. But I needed a good 10k for our running club pentathlon (basically our league table, based on a points system for people’s performances for 5k, 5 mile, 10k, 10 miles, half marathon and marathon). I had all distances done apart from the 10k and 10 miles. Plus I hadn’t had a good 10k race where I really felt in shape and not coming back from injury since before last year.
So Sunday I woke up naturally quite early and got myself together. I had a black coffee and porridge and waited for my dad to pick Alfie and me up to go. Quite a few of my running club were doing the race too so it was going to be nice and social.
Our club has new running crop tops so I felt nice and cool in the muggy temperatures. This race is very local to me (about 15 minute drive) and is chip-timed. It was also advertised as “fast and flat”. I wanted a PB and so this seemed the ideal race.
I heard mixed reviews about the course from people though. Some saying it was lovely and flat and others saying no way was it flat. Hmm OK!
I got a nice pre-race loo visit in a proper toilet in the Ordnance Survey office that was used as the race HQ until they cordoned it off and directed people to the loos outside, of which I peed twice more (I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to share this information with you, but I like to think of it as “setting the scene” and keeping it real!)
My dad checked the course map out and worked out where he and Alfie would stand and then we were good to go.
My goal was to keep under or around 7 minute miles all the way. I had a PB of 43:15 to beat. But I also knew how tired my legs felt in the week so I thought if I felt that pace was too hard at the beginning I’d abort it and just aim for a tempo run and hope to be somewhere close to my PB.
We set off and I felt good. Yes it was warm but not overly so and I felt comfortable in my pace.
Photo credit: Paul Hammond
The course was an out and back (thereabouts) so I just kept thinking “get to three miles and you’re going back home again”. My dad was stood at one side probably after mile one and cheered me on. Alfie was oblivious; probably watching out for squirrels.
The course was a little dull but nothing terrible; a few houses, some nice greenery, under the motorway through an underpass. All nice enough but nothing to write home about (but let’s be honest, this is Southampton we’re talking about).
I knew I wouldn’t achieve any significant female positioning in this race because of the high number of amazingly talented ladies who had entered so I didn’t concern myself with any near or in front of me. I just kept my pace to 7ish min/miles. With no music allowed I kept my mind focused on the task at hand. On the turn around point it got more interesting as you started passing other runners coming the other way so it was nice to wave and cheer on other people that I knew.My dad saw me again coming back under the underpass and gave me a nice cheer. He also informed me of my female positioning, bless him. I had told him there was no chance of me coming anywhere high up but, like a good coach, he wanted to keep me informed 😉 I was apparently 7th at that point (and I remained there).
Miles 4-5 were the pain train. I wished I was doing a five mile race. And near mile five there was a significant incline in comparison to the rest of the course. It made it tough work.
By mile six I was singing the Imagine Dragons ‘Warrior’ song in my head to keep me pushing. I kept thinking as well “less than eight minutes” – I’m not sure why it was eight as my miles were seven minutes and I still had the nubbin as well but it seemed like a good number to me (better than 10!).
Photo credit: Paul Hammond
Then the marshals started telling us it was 400m to go, then 300m and I knew I’d be OK. It was going to be close but I was just happy to be stopping soon.
Crossing the line in 42:50 (new PB!) and 7th female. Happy days!
We didn’t get a medal but a trophy glass thing, a bottle of water and a banana. Not too shabby for a cheap local race! Alfie thought the glass and water were excellent.
We also won the female team trophy for our club. This meant a £20 voucher for each of the three of us for a local running shop. How cool!
As 10ks go this was actually pretty good. The pain train was there but not for the entire race, just towards the end (that incline). It’s made me feel a bit more kindly towards 10ks, but not enough to want to do one again anytime soon! One a year I think 😉
After saying goodbye to my dad I got ready to head out for lunch with Ben’s mum, Di. Yes Ben and I aren’t together anymore but I’m still good friends with Di and enjoy spending time with her and will continue to spend time with her going forward (like I’ve said previously, things are amicable).
We went to a local pub and I enjoyed a chicken and avocado burger with mango relish and sweet potato fries for my main, followed by an OMG-AMAZING millionaire cheesecake.
I’m not a fan of cream (unless it’s thickly spread on a scone with jam?) so that got side-lined, but honestly it didn’t need it. The cheesecake was perfection on its own. Cookie dough pieces throughout and a delicious chocolate topping.
So a pretty good weekend all in all!
How do you feel about 10ks?
What’s your favourite cheesecake flavour?
Medals or mementos?