On to the Sunday recap of last weekend.
After a rather disastrous night, I had an equally terrible night’s sleep due to the hotel being in the centre of Manchester and my room being right next to a club. Ah well, at least it was safe, clean and only five minutes from the brunch location I was going to with Kirsty.
We were meeting at 9.30am at Federal Cafe Bar, somewhere she’d been recommended several times on Instagram. The menu looked good and pushed me to have something I wouldn’t normally (usually I’m distracted by dirty big fry ups!).
I went for the mushroom and halloumi dish… it came with sourdough toast, eggs, halloumi and mushrooms. I added chorizo and avocado too.
It was fantastic. So tasty and really filled me up. I also went for a rather fancy hipster beetroot latte. As a big beetroot fan I was still sceptical because… in a coffee? But I was down to give it a go (on race day whhhhy not eh!).
It was actually really tasty. Made with oat milk, it was quite sweet which I wonder was from something artificial or the actual beetroot itself, as it is quite sweet normally. Who knows. It was nice though.
As the race wasn’t until 1pm it was a bit confusing what to eat to be honest. And actually during the race it did slightly repeat on me… Kirsty mentioned it might be because it was quite high fat and that’s quite an ask for your body just before a race. I hadn’t even considered that.
Then we headed to the Garmin stand to meet with the Garmin team. There were five other “influencers” there too and we chatted and took photos. Basically had a bit of fun.
It was so cool to see behind the scenes of these events. I’m by no means a big fish in this sort of thing so it’s quite cool seeing it happen and being a part of something like this. Though I got HUGE impostor syndrome.
We got T-shirt’s and our bibs and headed to do some start line photos.
I then literally bumped into Adele from the BBC Radio 1 early morning breakfast show. Now I’m a little bit of a fan girl of hers. I listen to her every morning when I go to the gym, and when it’s that early it’s really nice to not think you’re the only one awake so I really enjoy her show.
She’s the nicest person as well and started running a few years ago, supporting the Heads Together charity. Anyway I tweet the show occasionally and met her just before London (yes I know, I’m a proper fan girl) and so when I saw her and said “it’s AnnaTheApple” (I KNOW, PROPER CRINGE) she was like “ohh hey you listen all the time!”. It made my entire day.
We had a proper chat. We talked about running and she even introduced me to her girlfriend! (She called me a unit because of all my running!!) Honestly I was made up. Then we had to dash off to do more photo bits. I couldn’t stop beaming.
Then we headed to start to get ready to go (I say “get ready to go”, but we did still have a 40 minute wait…). Anyway, the time flew by while we chatted and then we were off!
My plan was to not to be a wet blanket about it and actually push myself. I rarely ever push myself, and ESPECIALLY in a 10k. But today the weather was good, the course was ideal and I had no excuse. As tempting as it was to run with the others (who were taking it easier) I resolutely set off with the mindset to GO.
It was really crowded in the first half a mile and I spent some time dodging round people and trying to get into a good rhythm. But then I broke free and got a good amount of space around me.
It’s so odd running a 10k after spending so much time focusing on longer distances. You just have no time to play with. I realised my slower first mile would need to be made up later if I wanted the time I was aiming for. And it really requires a lot of focused energy to hold on to the pace.
The course was pretty much entirely flat. Maybe a couple of very gentle inclines but nothing crazy that would hold you back. I saw Aly Dixon and Gemma Steel fly by going the other way further on in the course and they looked to be on the pain train. Come on, Anna, you can do this too (at a much slower pace ha). I had my music on but could hear the crowds cheering and boosting us along. There were lots of people out which was nice.
We ran round the Manchester United football ground (not quite through it like we did in Southampton). And we followed a lot of the same beginning and end bits of the Manchester Marathon. It did feel fairly familiar. But the course was so much more interesting as it did actually go through the city whereas the marathon really didn’t.
On the course there were two drinks stations and unfortunately full of bottled water. So wasteful. So much plastic. It really makes me cringe. It was a warm day so a lot of water was being taken (a few sips then thrown). There were two showers on the course as well which helped cool people down too.
Then we were on the final straight back. My pace was on goal and I was feeling strong! I was getting an echo of a stitch in my side and I attempted to breathe differently to get rid of it. I was really anxious it would turn into one of those properly painful sharp ones in my side but luckily it remained on the edge as just a slight annoyance.
Then it was 400m to go – over so quickly!
My legs and lungs were pushing hard but I was so chuffed as I knew I was going to PB now. Unless I fell over, I had this!
I crossed the line in 41:40, a PB by over a minute. Wowza I am stoked! But the stitch was now in full force as I walked to the goodie bags.
It took a few minutes to disappear and the effects of the run to dissipate. So much longer than after a marathon! That feeling of “let me catch my breath again”. Obviously the effects of a marathon hang on in different ways a lot longer of course.
I headed back to the Garmin stand and took some photos (of course!) and waited for the others.
They arrived not long after and we swapped stories and congratulated each other. The others had had a nice fun run rather than going for it, which sounded lovely.
After doing our social media bits with Garmin we headed to the VIP area in the Hilton hotel nearby. VIP! So fancy!
They had a buffet spread, sweets, teas and coffee and we just tucked straight in. Omg I was so spoilt!
I tucked right in to several plates of Greek salad (all the feta!) and a fish ratatouille. It was delicious.
I didn’t have long so tucked two Bakewell cakes into my bag wrapped in a napkin for the train back (future Anna would be pleased).
Then I had to say my goodbyes and head sharpish to my train – the station was 20 mins walk away. I only had 30 mins and I wanted to get a tea for the train so I did a very epic run-power walk in my coat, layers and my big rucksack on to get there with time to spare.
Unfortunately (and I didn’t realise at the time) my two cakes fell out of my bag as I hadn’t done it up properly! I was VERY lucky nothing else fell out but I was devastated to get to the station and realise what had happened. Nooooo! No train cakes! I did have two apples which consolidated me somewhat but it was a rather sad moment.
Anyway, lost cakes and failed Airbnb’s aside, the weekend was truly a fantastic one. I loved Saturday with my mum doing so many fun things and then making new friends on Sunday at the race. Garmin gifted me the place and I am SO grateful for the opportunity. It was so much fun. Getting the PB really was only a small addition to the whole rest of the fantastic weekend!
Do you often race races?
Have you ever been VIP for anything?
Do you get trains that often?
**Full Disclaimer: Garmin provided me with a free race place in exchange for some social media posts on Instagram. All opinions are my own honest ones.**