Getting up at 6.30 am on a Sunday is not my idea of fun, especially when it is for a race which I didn't feel prepped for. But there I was crawling out of bed, stumbling downstairs and putting the coffee machine on.
The day before I had decided to travel up to Bolton to watch the football and decided to have a few pints, not the best race prep especially when I've only run over 5 miles once in the past couple of months. But I am an advocate of both enjoying other things as well as running, I'm never going to be a professional and personally just enjoy running without it taking over my life all the time!
After reading some information on the race during the week, I found out that this was a no headphone event. I have only ever had a few training runs without headphones and every race I have done before has been completely traffic free so headphones have not been an issue. This threw me a little bit as music, podcasts etc have always been a distraction for me while running. There was nothing I could do about it, rather be safe than sorry so this just added to the apprehension about this race. "C'est La Vie, I'll live with it" I said to myself.
This was my 2nd 10k race, and the first one had zero hills, whereas this one was a bit more hilly. Albeit not massively hilly it was enough to make me a bit apprehensive. Anyway, I turned up to registration at around 8.15, without realising that the race wasn't starting until 9.30 (i thought it was a 9 am start!). After getting my race number and chip I did a small warm up, I almost definitely wasn't feeling fresh but got my self mentally ready and thought if I can just get around it i'd be happy!
I lined up in the 55 - 65 minute pen in the park where everyone congregated. We were then lead out onto the main road which was fully closed for the start.
3 - 2 - 1 - (klaxon sound). We were off, sort of, as with all chip timed races if you're near the back there is no point running until you cross the timing line. Save those legs for the next 10km is what I say! So I ambled to the start line and then started running!
Because I wasn't in the best shape and I was just trying to 'wing' it, I decided to start off slowly going up the hills in the first few km. I got up and down the hills (they weren't as bad as I had anticipated), by the 3-4km mark I started to get into a rhythm. By this point I had got used to not wearing headphones and enjoyed having a chat with other runners and marshals as i ran around!
We hit the flat part of the course as we got onto the "Greenway" in stratford. By this point I started to pick up my pace and challenge myself a bit more, after a 1km of picking up the pace I felt surprisingly okay so i kept it up. By the 6-7km I was starting to tire, the blister on my foot was starting to annoy me, even through the compeed patch i had put on it. At this point I was starting to notice all the little aches and pains, nothing I could do, just get to the end!
We started to come back into the town where more people had congregated to watch the race. This was a good confidence boost and knowing we weren't far away from the end! Finally I see the 9km marker, basically the end right?
Call me stupid, or not pushing myself hard enough for the most of the run, but I always try and sprint the last 50-100metres of the race. I've done this since I started running and it's just habit now. Sometimes I cross the line sprinting, sometimes I have to slow down before the end. I always find that the spectators watching the end gives me some more adrenaline to be able to do it. It also means I get to the finish line quicker! The second I see the finish I sprint, mainly because I just want to be finished!
I had finished it! My watching girlfriend thought I might collapse and I could barely speak, but I had done it. Stupid decisions made in a pub do work out to be worthwhile! The medal wasn't too bad either!
A bit on the event itself. It was fantastically organised the way the traffic was managed on the partly shut roads was very good, lots of very friendly marshals offering lots of support as well! The route was very nice and scenic, a nice mix of roads of and traffic free bridleway km's. The company who organised it were Tempo Events, and based on this race I'll definitely be going to some of there other races in the future! A big thanks to them and all the marshals who put on a brilliant event!
I'll definitely be back next year, hopefully in a bit better shape! Onwards with the training now!
Here's some photos, mostly taken from chief photographer Lucy!