I hate 10ks. I’m sure I’ve said it many times, but I truly do. 5ks are somewhat bearable because they’re short. The pain can only go on for so long, whereas for a 10k it just seems never ending.
Going into a 10k race as part of a training run therefore makes things a whole lot more enjoyable. Well, at least psychologically anyway. My plan was to get 18ish miles done on Sunday as part of my marathon training. A lot of my club were doing the local Netley 10k race and I thought it would be so much nicer to combine the two so I wouldn’t have to run the entire 18 miles on my own. It also meant I could ‘enjoy’ the 10k rather than race it.
The sun that had been beating down on the first solo part of run (12.5 miles) but as we waited for the 10k to begin it suddenly disappeared and it became more overcast: perfect running conditions. I ran this race last year (as a proper race) and I remember how hot it was then, so I think everyone was quite grateful it wouldn’t be so bad this year.
Different to last year, the race this year was chip timed which was far better as last year there was so much crowding and pushing at the start with people desperate to start quickly with the gun. Though it was still crowded at the start there was far less panic and desperation to move forward when the gun (whistle I think) went.
I started with a bunch of my Hedgie team mates and felt very relaxed. My legs however felt like lead and suddenly it felt really hard to keep up with them, despite the pace being in my “easier” range. I honestly contemplated letting them go ahead without me as I plodded along but I stuck at it thinking my legs would wake up again soon.
I got more into the race and started to enjoy it as the legs warmed up (again). There were two running club members taking photos so we had a bit of a giggle (thank you Richard Townsend and Gary Trendell!).
The course, like last year, consisted of three large laps around Queen Victoria Country Park, where the Netley Abbey parkrun is held. Therefore in my head it was just a supersized parkrun. This meant that we had to do the dreaded parkrun hill (I say hill, it’s not a hill hill but a sharpish incline) three times and another long incline three times. It’s not an easy course but there’s lots of support most of the way round which helped.
Eventually the most of the Hedgies disappeared either in front or ahead and I stuck with Matt who was aiming for a PB and running at a pace that I was finding comfortable but tough with the miles already in my legs.
Matt might have regretted me running with him somewhat though as we passed a drinks station and grabbed a drink. They were in cups and I struggled to drink from it without soaking myself and in the process managed to knock Matt’s elbow as he was drinking his. Consequently he was covered with water. I’m pretty sure he was more annoyed than he made out but he’s a gentleman and only remarked “looks like I’ve wet myself now…least it’s cooled me down”. I couldn’t apologise enough (though I was also laughing…).
As we headed for our final lap I really started to feel tired. Matt was finding it tough too so we started encouraging each other. We figured out some milestones to head towards on our last lap: a Hedgie supporter doing some amazing encouraging shouting from a quieter section of the course, the drinks station, a pack of kids, the homestretch…Then Matt said he was close to his PB – now there’s a motivation!
The final straight
The last half mile of the race you can see the finish which is a bit soul destroying but there were loads of people shouting and cheering which helped.
I think my face says it all. This is pretty much my legs personified (does that even make sense??). Matt zoomed off on the last 100 or so metres and I let him go: my legs weren’t up for that kind of sprinting without significantly breaking! I did attempt to speed up though (as my face displays).
My official time was 47:41 which I’m happy with considering I wasn’t racing full-out and weirdly I managed an average speed of 7.47min/miles which is exactly the same as the previous 12.5 miles I ran. How funny! So overall I ran 18.6 miles at 7.47 min/miles. Not too shabby! And the best part is that Matt got his PB (47:36 – he wanted sub 48!) He was over the moon and so was I. He helped me as much as I helped him. There’s no medal for Netley 10k but we got another towel. Last year it was red, this year it was blue. Just need a white one now for our running club colours!
Happily I felt all in one piece afterwards (and the days after). I did feel exceptionally tired though. When I stopped I was just shattered and my legs felt exhausted. I was so happy to stop running! Then I found a queue forming for free massages. Now seriously that is a fantastic way to finish a long run!
So good but so bad. My calves, oh my calves! I also noticed that my right foot had bled a bit to the outside of my trainers.
Top right of side of my trainer
Nothing says a tough long run than a bit of blood, eh? Turns out one of my toes’ nail pushed against its neighbour so nothing serious thankfully.
After the race I headed home and wolfed down porridge as quickly as possible. It was now midday and I hadn’t eaten a thing, though I had a good amount of water during and afterwards. I also made sure to have a coffee as well. I’m happy to run all my long runs in a fasted state as I honestly think this will help me when I race non-fasted. But who knows?
Then off I dashed to my friend’s house for the birthday party of their one year old son, Jacob. A whole year has passed, this is crazy! My friend, Louise, is an exceptionally good baker so I was fully expecting some good cake. And cake there was!
I stress that the every (edible) thing you see on that table is home-made. EVERYTHING. Coffee and walnut cake, lemon drizzle, flapjacks, banana muffins, chocolate cupcakes, a chocolate cake on the far left I didn’t manage to get in the photo and the birthday cake itself. There were mini meringues and cream made by her mum as well (by popular demand because, seriously, they’re amazing). And it was dinosaur themed. I was in heaven.
I had a slice of chocolate cake, a meringue and a cupcake. Then followed that by a banana muffin. And later birthday cake. Top notch baking. I was sat in the sun, a plate full of cake, kids running all over the place and was so chilled. I also made sure I’d brought my 750ml bottle of water with my nuun tablet in. What a dork I looked like with my massive bottle but seriously I wanted to avoid the post-long run headache at all costs. Oh and looking cool in a party hat – yep.
The birthday cake itself was incredible. Louise had made it all, even the dinosaur on top. How cool!
At one point I was chatting to a two-time Irornman (Louise’s brother) and I mentioned I was training for marathon in June. His response: “Oh just a marathon?” That stumped me! Yes just a marathon – none of that swimming and cycling malarkey but still tough in its own right! He did backtrack a little when he realised what he’d said but the damage was already done 😉
Now as you might know I’m not a particularly child-friendly person (I’m clueless and blind with terror around them) but I knew what I was in for. Louise’s family is quite big so there just seemed to be babies, toddlers and teenagers everywhere! But it was a lovely afternoon despite the small children 😉 Cake helped dull the pain somewhat 😉 😉
I headed home to finish the chores that needed doing, walk Alfie and then relax. I was really hungry again (apparently cake isn’t the most filling of foods…) so decided to have dinner. Sadly a headache decided to make an appearance – damn I thought I’d escaped! I’m pretty sure this is down to nutrition as I hydrated really well the day before, during and afterwards. Clearly a lunch of sugary cakes it’s not conducive to a good recovery….hmm who’d have thought? I regret nothing though. In the end I went to bed at 8.30pm as I was so tired and the headache just wouldn’t go. Hey hum! But another 18 miler in the bag!
Children’s birthday parties – hell on earth or a delightful way to spend some time? I enjoyed the party, even with the sheer number of small people! 😉
Do you have any top tips for post-run nutrition?
What would you have had from the Cake Table?