After over 3 years finally I was back racing a 10K this past weekend as I along with my family travelled down to Cheshire for the Cheshire 10K starting and finishing at Arley Hall. I have done this twice in the past knocking out 36:18 in 2015 and 35:14 in 2016. I’m still trying to rediscover my top pace and form and know realistically I’m a long way from it at the moment. I do have a long term plan (will cover that in a future blog post). Short term I have a window to get a couple of 10K races in to set a benchmark to work from before I finish my year with the BMAF 5K championships.
Going into this I would be lying if I didn’t say my goal was around 36 minutes, my target was to run 5:45 pace for as long as possible, this is well under sub 18K 5K pace something I’ve done every month this year, my thinking was get to halfway at this pace and see how the rest of the race unfolded. Leading up to it I had a good week, finally making sure to do a decent taper. I had a few niggles such as a clicky knee, tight hamstrings and a sore right heel but I feel this is part and parcel of being a runner, you are never going to be 100%. We ended up being mega early getting to the start at 7:20. It meant I had my breakfast a little too early plus it was bloody freezing. A real shock to the system. Having collected my number I headed back to the warmth of the car while waited for race to the start. it would also be my first race in Dronfield RC colours, currently joined them as 2nd claim but will detail the reasons for joining in a future blog post.
After a visit to the loo I headed to the start line but didn’t do a warm up, even though I do it in training I still skip a warm up and I defiantly felt like I struggled at the start due to it. We got called into the starting pens and then it was go time. I found it a narrow start but the rough track didn’t help as struggled to get into a rhythm at the start and felt even in first mile the pace was hard, now I have run a lot of sub 18’s this year including 3 in the lower 17:20’s so I know I can sustain a decent pace over 5K but for reasons I’m still not sure why, the pace just wasn’t there.
I soon hit the country roads and got into a group with the two leading ladies and for the first 2.5 miles I stuck to this group. The first mile buzzed in 5:44 so under the pace I had set but I knew if it felt this hard in the first mile I wasn’t going to sustain it. But cause I was in a group the pace settled and just focused on keeping with the pack as we took a tight left turn, the watch buzzed for 5:48 second mile. Was ok but as we snaked along towards half way I dropped off the back of the pack and as I said on social media I had a wobble, by this mean my heart didn’t like the hard effort and I had a bit of chest pain! I had to really sort my head out as I could have easily pulled out at 5K but instead I kinda went through the other side. I found the slight climb didn’t help but I still clocked 5:54 for mile 3 and had it been a 5K would have again gone sub 18 but I was now into an unknown as last time I raced further than 5K was May 2019.
I simply focused on the next K marker trying to keep under 6:00 pace for as long as possible. The 4th mile was helped as while you climbed up to half way you ran back down through 4 but instead of pushing the pace I kinda used it to get my breath back. It meant pace didn’t pick up but at the same time I was able to sustain a decent pace in the second 5K. Mile 4 was 5:59 by now I was running a solo race chasing those in front who had pulled away but I wasn’t making up ground and other runners who were fitter/stronger caught and passed me but I just kept trying to hold the 6:00/mi pace and almost did it for a 5th mile but it dropped to 6:02/mi pace. I was not into the last 2K and I just kept pushing. I tried to pick up pace as we turned right back towards Arley Hall but wasn’t happening the gradual uphill didn’t help I turned right and then was down to the finish with a final left turn I managed to pick up pace as I was in a 3 way sprint all way to the finish line. Again the rough terrain didn’t help and I crossed the line in 36:54.
Happy that I achieved a sub 37 in my first 10K but again those who know me know I always aim for the sky and want more. I still have dreams to run sub 35. Short term I have Abbey Dash Sunday, simple goal is to go faster than this race. Massive thanks to my family for traveling and supporting me.