We drove along the South coast on Sunday, and stayed at my parents-in-law's overnight. On Monday (Bank Holiday) morning, we went to Portsmouth to my brother-in-law's place, where I got changed and ate a cereal bar, then Pete and his brother walked me to the sports centre where the race was to start. It was pouring with rain, and we were all pretty soaked when we got there, although it was only about 10 mins away.
My goal was to average around 8.30 min/miles, in order to dip under 53 minutes, and I knew I had run somewhere around this pace in training, so it was definitely achievable.
The race started on a running track, and after a quick loo stop, I joined 141 other runners at the start. I think this was the first race I have done which began with the firing of a starter's pistol, and as it went off, several runners exclaimed in shock - it was really loud!
We set off for a couple of laps of the track, which was lovely to run on, before leaving the sports centre and continuing up a path alongside the sea, and next to a park. As this was a club race, and most of the participants were fairly serious runners, the pace was fast. I got carried away on the first mile as usual, and ran it in 7m43s - my fastest mile of the race! Oops! I reined it in a bit, but tried not to get overtaken by too many people. I seemed to get passed a lot in the first 2 miles or so.
We got to the end of the path, and ran a loop before heading back to the track. I started to get a bit of a stitch, but luckily it never came to anything. Having had a bit of heel pain during the week (due to wearing work shoes instead of my usual trainers for a couple of days), I was relieved not to feel much discomfort while I was running, and certainly not enough to slow me down.
Along the path I noticed a lot of race numbers had fallen off, and at about 5K, mine came off too. The rain had soaked the paper so it just fell away from the safety pins. By the end of the race, very few runners were wearing their numbers, but at least I managed to grab mine, and I stuffed it in my pocket in case I needed it.
We ran another lap of the track, then headed out to repeat the first loop. I was still feeling good, and a few people who had overtaken me were grouped ahead of me. Gradually I started to pick them off. It gave me great pleasure to catch up each one and overtake them!
By about 8k, I knew I was going to get my PB, it was just a question of how fast I could go. At 9K I could hear someone behind me. It sounded as though his footsteps were getting closer and closer, and I thought he would come pass me. I was feeling strong though, and put on a surge of extra speed! We came onto the track again, and I tried to sprint as fast as I could. The chap behind me fell away and as I came to the finish I could see the clock read 51 minutes! This was so exciting, and I felt great as I charged across the line. There was no chip timing, but someone recorded my time, and I gave them my soggy number.
The unfortunate thing about running such a fast time was that I finished before my family arrived to meet me! It was a shame that the kids didn't see me finish, especially as I felt so fast and happy, but I was really thrilled to have run such a good time.
The official results gave me 51m17s, and 17 of 37 women, 12 of 28 in my age group, 100 out of 142 runners altogether. I had expected sub 54 mins, hoped for sub 53 mins, but never imagined going sub 52 mins!
It was a completely flat race, the flattest race I have ever run and really well organised. The only downside was the weather, but I don't think I'd have gone any faster without the rain. My splits were as follows:
Mile 1: 7.43
Mile 2: 8.18
Mile 3: 8.18
Mile 4: 8.19
Mile 5: 8.13
Mile 6: 7.51
0.2: 7.14 (pace)
Average pace: 8.04 min/miles
So although the first mile was a bit fast, I'm pleased with the consistency of the middle miles, and with that last mile being under 8mins!
As far as the 10K is concerned, I suppose the next goal must be sub 50 mins - something I'd never have dreamed possible a few months ago, but which is beginning to seem almost attainable!
Robbie, Emma and cousin Joshua posing at the track afterwards!