I have previously ran the Chasewater 10k route at the Chasewater Easter Run on April 16th 2017. I had struggled around the course that time due to a chest infection. As such, I just missed out on my goal of sub-1:20. Today, December 1st 2018, I approached the course again, but with a new goal… sub-1:10.
From last year I remember the course being steep in places with mixed terrain and some bottlenecks. A lot of the paths were uneven and it was probably more trail than road surface. Despite it being more trail than road, I was still aiming to take some time off my 1:12:02 personal best and hoping to hit sub-1:10.
The weather wasn’t really on my side, it was cold with light rain, and the course was full of wide puddles. The mud paths and grass was slippery, especially I was running in road shoes (P.S. Santa, I really need some trail shoes!).
The race set off at 10:30am. I had been a bit of a wuss and stayed in the car for as long as possible before heading to the starting area. Unfortunately, this meant that I was now starting almost at the very back of the pack. As such, I spent the first 0.5 mile trying to overtake people and get into my goal race pace of 11:15.
Once I managed to free up some space to run, I picked up the pace. I had to run quicker than my goal race pace to try and make up some time. Somehow I clawed back the time and my first mile came in at 11:15. Shortly after I was forced to stop running as I joined a group of runners queuing to cross a narrow bridge. This slowed me down significantly, and consequently, my mile 2 average pace was 11:58. I really wasn’t feeling it at this point, and it was the first time I had ever considered dropping out of a 10k event. In the end, I convinced myself to at least get to the end of the first lap (5k) and then make a decision.
After the mile 2 delay I knew that I would have to claw back some time. Mile 3 was tough! The ground was really muddy with soft muddy slush that my feet was just sinking into. There were tree routes and uneven ground to contend with. But worst of all… there were two steep hill climbs, one right after the other. Even with the tough terrain, I managed to complete the mile in 11:21. This was slightly slower than my goal pace, but had made a big dent in reducing my average pace to nearer where I needed to be.
I completed the first lap and figured that I may as well complete the event as I was already cold, damp and dirty! Plus, I’d have to wait for Chris to finish anyway and he had the car keys so I wouldn’t be able to go and get warm.
I skipped the drink station at the 5k point and pushed on. This was my first event running with earphones (bone conducting). I was glad that I had made the last minute decision to bring them. The music really helped get me through the tough conditions.
I can’t remember what songs I was listening to for mile 4, but I wish I’d have made a note as they clearly gave me a kick up the backside! Mile 4 was a massive turning point as I completed it in 10:23. This brought my average pace down and I was back on track for my sub-1:10 finish.
As long as I kept my pace at around 11:15, I knew I could hit my goal. Mile 5 was completed in 11:13 so that just left the last 1.2 mile. By this point I had accepted that my trainers were going to be horrifically (for me) muddy. Realizing that I could reach my goal gave me the boost that I needed and I finished mile 6 as my second fastest mile of the event in 10:32. The last 0.2 mile was ran at an average pace of 9:12 as I could see the finish timer displaying 1:09:XX.
I crossed the finishing line, stopped my Garmin, and collected my medal and Christmas Pudding. There were also Mince Pies and Jaffa Cakes available. I grabbed a Jaffa Cake before heading back through the course to try and find Chris.
My Garmin gave me a personal best of 1:08:18. The official result came in almost exactly the same at 1:08:17.
This isn’t an easy course, especially when it is, or has been, raining. I think I could shave more time off if I were to run a pure road 10k event. At the moment I don’t have any other 10k events booked, so that will have to wait. I think I need to keep my eyes peeled for some good deals on trail shoes though, especially for when I look to complete my first ultra-marathon event.
For full race results, please click here.
Splits and Official Time: