Since my last event, the Cannock Chase 10k, my training had been very lacklustre… even before that event my training had been inconsistent as I had hurt my ankle and was struggling with motivation. Since getting my charity place for the London Marathon 2018, I registered for the Birmingham Half Marathon in October, and also the Lichfield 10k, as two events to try and help me get motivated to train. Even with the poor training, I was hoping for a personal best but wasn’t too optimistic after my poor results from the Cannock Chase 10k.
Secretly I wanted to finish in under 1:10, so I was aiming for a 7:00 minute per kilometre pace… this however, soon went out of the window. I started out trying to maintain the required pace, but realized that it was going to be too much of an increase so decided instead to just focus on keeping my average pace at below 7:30 minutes per kilometre as that would allow me to still beat my personal best.
The first 5 kilometres went well, with the 4th being my fastest of the race. I struggled for the 6th, mainly due to a steep incline and my pace dropped to 7:43.
For kilometres 9 and 10, I was really running on empty and had to alternate between short bursts of running and longer walks to try and get me to the finish line. Towards the end, a marshal yelled that it was the last 50 metres, and so I began to start running, but soon realized that I may have jeopardized my sprint finish as I started to struggle about 30 metres from the finish line… I couldn’t run anymore. I slowed to a quick walk, with all the spectators shouting encouragement; I could see the finish line, but I felt faint and was struggling to get there despite always vowing to run through the finish of every event. I looked over my right shoulder and saw a number of people about to overtake me so close to the end, and that gave me enough of a boost to sprint for the last 25 metres. With gritted teeth I ran faster than I had all race, just desperate to cross the finish line and grab that well-earned banana. I crossed the line without being overtaken and had to hold onto the fencing to keep my balance; I had pushed hard during this event and it was beginning to show. I ate my banana and took in some water and felt a lot better. My Garmin showed my time at 1:13:58 which was a new personal best, but I had to wait until I got home to see the official race result text message; the message read, “Well done Natalie on completing the 2017 Lichfield 10k in a time of 1:13:57”.
I found it a tougher course than the Birmingham 10k, which is where I got my previous personal best, so I was very happy to have finished faster than that, especially as I hadn’t trained as well as I should have.
Breaking 1:10 is going to be a tough ask, but something I’m hoping to push on with towards the end of the year and into 2018. I’m hoping that as my distance improves, my 10k time will naturally improve, but we will see. If I still haven’t broken it by the time I run the London Marathon, I will devote some time in 2018 to trying to improve my 10k pace.
For the full race results, please click here.
Splits and Official Time: