I left this one a little late to enter as I was waiting for my UKA membership to come through so that I could utilize my club discount against the entry fee. As such, I had to collect my race number on the day of the race.
Upon entering I had planned to aim for a 10k personal best, and really had my sights set on running a sub-55 minute 10k. My personal best currently stood at 56:28, however that was actually during my most recent half marathon event. This lead me to believe that I would be able to run a personal best in a pure 10k event as I didn’t have to pace myself to run a further distance.
Morning Of The Event:
Unfortunately, in the days leading up to the race I was starting to feel less optimistic about my chances of a new personal best. The weather had been really hot and temperatures of 15+ Celsius with high humidity and little wind were being forecast for the Sunday of the race. These predictions had turned into fruition and it was already getting very hot at 8am.
My group run leader had also warned me to be careful and not push too hard as I still had to think about the Blackpool Marathon which I had entered for the Sunday after. Still, stubbornly, I made the decision that I would still head out and try for the sub-55 goal.
I ate my usual breakfast of Quaker Oats porridge and got ready to leave. I put on my racing shoes (Nike Zoom Elite 10) and quickly wolfed down a banana before travelling to Chasewater. I hadn’t long arrived when my cousin and her fiancé entered the car park. Due to my late entry I had to go and collect my race number before heading to the starting area with my cousin.
It was a stark contrast to the last time I lined up here when it had been wet, windy and quite muddy. Despite being near water there was very little wind and the heat was already taking its toll. It was at this point that I realized I wasn’t wearing sun cream and wished that I had worn my cap!
Due to talking to my cousin at the starting area I ended up starting further back than I would have liked. The first part of the course is also quite narrow so I knew that it would be difficult to overtake. As such, I set off slower than I would have liked and spent some time weaving between people until the course opened up a little to allow me to overtake.
My goal race pace for sub-55 was 8:50. I know that I can manage this over 5k as my personal best is 25:58, but I struggle to maintain the pace over a further distance. The plan was to run the first mile at slightly slower than race pace (worst case scenario would be 9 minutes) and then pick up the pace to run 8:50, with the final mile being slightly faster to bring me under the 55 minute mark.
Mile 1 turned out to be my best mile of the race… I managed a pace of 8:55. I knew even before my watch notified me of the first mile marker that I wouldn’t be getting a personal best. The heat was just too much and my heart rate was already high considering I was only 9 minutes into my run. My stubbornness wasn’t so eager to give in so I pushed on to see if I could hold the 8:55 or 9 minute per mile pace. The answer to that question was a big fat “no”. Mile 2 saw my average pace drop to 9:21 and then mile 3 was slower still in 9:58; the hill climbs didn’t help!
I reached the half way mark and was tempted to drop down to the 5k and call it a day. I’m definitely not acclimatized to running in the sun! As my cousin and her fiancé were still behind me, and with my marathon in less than 7 days’ time, I decided to push on for the full 10k.
It wasn’t long after passing the half way mark (or the finish for the 5k event) that I started to regret my decision of not taking the easy way out and dropping down to the 5k. Despite running in shorts and a vest I was still ridiculously hot.
Mile 4 was a slow one and it really became a mental battle as well as a physical one to keep moving forward. It’s always tough when you are working hard but know that you can no longer hit your time goal for an event. You still have to push on to the finish line but it becomes so much harder to dig deep.
As my marathon training mileage had built up, 6 mile runs were now considered my “easy” or regular runs rather than a daunting distance when I first started out. I have ran half marathons without slowing to walk, and even further in training runs. Still, today I was struggling to run a 10k. The last few miles were made up of run and walk segments as I battled my mind, body and the blistering sun.
Miles 4-6 saw me keep a pretty steady pace, with mile 4 the quickest in 10:41 before I slowed slightly for miles 5 and 6 in 10:49 and 10:51 respectively. Even the final slog to the finish line was tough and all I could think about was the Crème Egg that each finisher had been promised at the end.
The last 0.2 mile came in with a pace of 8:14 (my Garmin measured the distance as 0.16 – the trees along the course probably didn’t help the GPS signal).
Boy was I glad to cross that finish line! I grabbed my medal and well-earned Crème Egg and then found Chris who led me to a table with water and Jaffa Cakes. To my surprise my cousin and her fiancé were also there. My cousin had dropped down to the 5k as she was struggling with the heat and her fiancé must have overtaken me on the course without me even realizing.
Considering that I usually complete my Parkrun’s in less than 30 minutes without too much effort, I was disappointed to see that my time was over the 60 minute mark. My official time was 1:01:53, which I definitely wasn’t happy with. It hadn’t been the confidence boosting race that I had hoped for before my second attempt at a marathon the following week!
I won’t be doing a review of the event as I reviewed it last year and nothing has really changed so I will just update my review to add the pictures of this year’s medal design.
The full results can be found here.
Splits and Official Time: