Now normally, I’m not very good at the long stuff, and as I was wanting to concentrate on the short stuff, I was kind of regretting entering this race. Got the club bus down bright and early (for a teenager) and arrived at the startline. Usual procedure, baggage bus, stabbing myself with safety pin and jumping up and down to keep warm. Was a bit busy, 600 runners packed into a small school, but it was manageable.
My prep for this race wasn’t the best, decided to try and run 19 minute pace for parkrun yesterday as that’s normally a bit faster than the winning time when XC is on, but there was a faster runner and got a bit carried away up until 3k when I let him go, 18.28, 2nd place. Had a small breakfast early on on race day morning, the race started at 11.30, running through my normal lunchtime, and I’d forgotten the race gels I got for my birthday (this would be a rare time that I’d get to use them, I don’t do long stuff). Also, I didn’t really have time to warm up, just jogged on the spot at the startline.
THE BIG PLAN: right, as I’ve never run this distance on purpose before, only accidentally in training where I’d gone to run 8 and got lost, doing about 11, I decided to start out easier that normal, 7 minute miles, then making my way down to 6mm as I get further through the race. Bearing in mind, the last races over 5k I’ve done I’ve broken my mile PB in the first mile, this is alien to me. I’d been told if I’m fine at 10k, I’ve cracked it.
1st mile: 5.55. Whoops, guess the plan’s out the window then. Had a bit crack on with this bloke about how he’s doing 1 hour 5ish, there’s a guy to stick with. He then shoots off. I don’t want to start individual races with people that would feck my pacing up so I don’t follow.
2nd mile: 6.04. Right, new plan, this pace doesn’t feel too hard, try and stick under 6.30 for mile pace and that should bring me in under 1 hour 5, sorted.
3rd mile: 6.18. Biggest hill of the race, overtake about 5 people that are struggling, including the guy who I cracked on with, lets call him stripeman (club vest colours).
4th mile: 6.21. Off the main road, onto country roads. Stripeman overtakes me, once again I don’t follow. Water station, I take a slurp, no one else seems too. I normally crack my teeth off the bottle, seems like I have perfected the art. Starts to drizzle a bit, then stops after a minute or so.
5th mile: 6.21. Halfway, all is ok. I’m not even close to being out of breath but its my legs that are letting me down, they’re tired and are like concrete. Have to shout to warn people of cars coming past, no one else seems to have any care for the car or other racers safety, howay guys, I’m talking too much here, do your bit.
6th mile: 6.27. Through a village or something, not sure, too busy watching the clock as I go through 10K, as I pass the 10K marker… 38.49,1 SECOND PB! yesss! considering it was at 10 mile pace and I didn’t speed up it shoes improvement! Apart from the 10 metres beforehand, shouting YESS, then returning to normal pace, runners around me an spectators looked a bit confused.
7th Mile: 6.27. Feeling fresh enough at this people for a bit of this. Would buy the photo if it wasn’t £10. But you can’t beat a bit of aeroplaneing, need a haircut though. Another water station, choose not to drink on this one.
8th Mile: 6.24. In a group of four other guys, its a bit windy, decide to shelter behind them, they’re big lads, if I sheltered them they wouldn’t get much cover, might as well. One guy trys to make a break for it, I’m well past the 10k mark, I’m still feeling great cardiovascularly, screw this, I’m going with him.
9th mile: 6.14. Right, this guy’s struggling, time to move onto the next guy. And then the next guy, and then the next guy, and then the next girl, stick with her for a bit… Spot a guy up ahead that finished just behind me at the bridges of the tyne 5 mile race, I can’t let it be 1-1 !
10th mile: 6.00. Pass the guy I know, he recognises me, and tries to stick with me but I have far too much left, the next past is the only other noticable hill, many others complained about this bit, I think I overtook 6 people on it! Now a bit of a downhill, absolutely pelt it down here, lots of spectators, but still can’t see the finish, overtake another two, turn a sharp bend and it is about 20 metres ahead of me, sprint this bit at 100m pace and DONE.
I’ll put it in minutes form so it sounds faster … 62.39! OOSH! over the moon with that time, and thinking back, I REALLY enjoyed this race! considering long stuff isn’t normally my forte, or is it? It gives me a 74.24 percentage age grade, which is alot more than I thought. I’ll definitely stick to 5K’s as the main concentration, but this has given me so much more confidence for future longer ones. I definitely could have kept the pace up for another 3.1 miles …
Wait at the end of the finishing funnel with my very snazzy paperweight momento (looks a lot better than it sounds, 3D runners inside) to chat with the bloke I recognised, I think I had a longer distance rival now, oh dear. Find an Elvet Etriders cheering point and start to shout at all the people I know. Graham was in shortly after me and Anna was the first lady Strider back. An honourable mentions goes to Andy James, who had a cracking run, and thanks to Andy for organising the bus. The majority of striders PB’d on a lovely flat course.
After everyone is in, and changed, we all board the club bus and head to Gisland Spa Hotel, about 15 minutes away for a carvery that they kept open just for all 40 of us, what nice people. Opted for the 3 courses, of course, everything tastes so good. Don’t know if its because I haven’t eaten for 7 hours, or if its actually good but enjoyed it nevertheless, good club social too.
A sleepy coach journey home with the Striders gang and home. An awesome day.