Off went the Klaxon, the familiar surge of bodies moved forward, and with the usual start of a large London race, there was a decent bit of waving and kerb jumping for most of the first 2 miles.
I started to move out of the pack as much as I could, trying to stick to the side and follow others also clearly concerned about getting a specific time. I do get frustrated with the fact you can put any goal finish time in when you register, which obviously results in faster people tripping over slower people who have been over optimistic and therefore placed in the wrong wave.
My aim was anything lower than my current (in training) 10k PB of 46.59, but I was pushing to see if I could get anywhere near the magical 45 minute mark (which would mean 7.10-7.20 min miles). I’d managed that for 5k but wasn’t convinced i’d hold that pace for 6.2.
After the first mile of trying to break free (7.31) I knew i’d have to make up the time, and to be honest, I thought i’d lost 45 right there, so I moved my goalposts to as near 46 as I could.
The second mile I managed to make up some time and ticked over at 7.14, but I was starting to flake already. URGHH! I knew there would be moments when I doubted myself but I wasn’t expecting them to start so soon into the race…
Mile 3 dipped again, and I found I was in a pattern that continued for the whole way (which later on realised was linked to the elevation of the course!). 7.42 this time. I started to wonder if I was going to back off, but each time I got a slower mile, I pushed harder on the next one. I would constantly go through a checklist – I do this when i’m pushing myself, runners logic or whatever. But I will go through a checklist;
- Is my breathing ok?
- Are my legs feeling ok?
- Is anything else jeopardising how I feel right now?
And then I work through that list and reason it out. E.g, if my breathing is laboured, but my legs feel fine, my mind is in a good place etc, I know to work on my breathing and calm it back down into a pattern I can cope with. And if ALL things have gone to crap, well, i’ve not ever got there…yet!
Mile 4. A guy dressed in a santa hat, placed over a certain part, and some weird thong contraption, ran past. Bizarre and probably absolutely freezing… but it clearly motivated me to get myself going too, as I pushed back to a 7.17.
Mile 5 – struggling again… at that point, my shoulders had completely ceased up. I think a combination of starting to lift weights and being active over the weekend had made my shoulders spasm, and I was in so much pain. I was just praying they’d ease off, but it took a good mile. The whole mile I thought about, and actually nearly stopped. 7.40.
Mile 6. Gave myself a little pep talk (along with muttering some other choice words about my feelings towards the effort I was exerting) and decided to go full in. I had under 2 miles to go, and there was still time for me to get a PB, even if it was a few seconds.
I checked my watch and realised I was actually very close to getting JUST sub 46, but I just couldn’t get any more effort out. I was maxing out.
On the Strand I knew Becca and the others would be there waiting with signs and cowbells and I used that as motivation to push on to them, then I knew it was just around the corner to ending this hell!
Cowbells and cheers digested, I stuck on turbo mode and pushed the last 0.20 of a mile to the finish line, at 6.36 pace, pretty sure it was the longest, furthest 0.20 i’ve ever run, but there it was. PUSH PUSH PUSH to the end. It hurts but it’s nearly OVER!!!
I ran over the finish line and stopped my watch a little after it had ticked over 10k, so my watch shows 46.17, but official time was less (wahoo!) at 46.08.
At this point, and on the day, I don’t think I could’ve pushed more. I was tired after helping out at a conference friday/saturday, I had hideous shoulder pain and it was freezing, and in parts, quite gross headwinds. But despite all those factors, I still got a PB.
My actual race PB for a 10k is last year’s Winter Run, which was 50.24. So in a year, i’ve managed to shave a whopping 4 minutes 16 seconds off that time. And I think that is something to be proud of. Imagine if I did that next year? (yeah, not gonna happen… but sub 45?)
*the temporary medal – the medals I was enticed to do the race for, have sparkly enamelling and a snowflake in the centre which spins! When I crossed the finish line, and took this medal it was lovely but I was super disappointed… turns out the medals are stuck in customs, and once released, Winter Run will be sending them out to the participants. So, two medals for the price of one! (i’ll update the post with a picture of the proper one when it arrives).