Monday, 29 September 2014

Disappointment - a 10K

I signed up for this race a while ago, and had decided to go for a PB. Over the last few weeks I've been adding a bit of speed work to my running - intervals, tempo runs and the odd hill - although it's been somewhat ad hoc and I haven't followed a proper training plan. It's been working though, and I've increased the average pace of my training runs a fair bit. I realised that I had been running too easy a lot of the time, and no wonder that my 5K and 10K PBs were so long ago.

To be specific, I ran my 10K PB in summer 2012, when I did 2 races in about the same time - 51 mins 17 secs. The second of those was the Bexhill 10K, which was the same as this race, although the route has changed since then.

So my aim has been to get under 50 mins. I think this is achievable, and I've been training to run 8 min per mile pace to do this. Recently though, I have been really tired (due to work and various busy-ness), and I haven't been able to maintain 8min/mile pace for anything longer than 3-4 miles in training runs.

My preparation for the race was terrible! This race always falls around Robbie's birthday, and he turned 9 years old the day before the race. According to his wishes, we spent that day walking around a theme park and queueing for rides - LOTS of time on our feet. For dinner, we had a huge pizza and birthday cake - less than ideal race fuel!

Happy birthday!
So I just had to go for it. I decided at the start that I would go out at 8 min/mile pace and try to hold on. I wasn't really interested in running a 53min 10K, so I would either hit my target, or crash and burn, but I wasn't going to settle for anything easy.

I had 2 goals then - A - run sub-50mins; B - run a PB (under 51m17s). Pete asked what my C goal was, and I supposed it was to run close to those times, which I haven't done for a long while. The last 10ks I've done have been trail races, so this was the first road 10K for 2 years.

The race started at 10:30am, and it was ridiculously hot for September. We set off along the seafront, and within a few minutes I was shocked at how hot it was. I started sweating, and within a couple of miles I decided that I would look out for a water station and pour the water over my head (I don't normally bother with drinks stations in a 10K).

Contrary to what it looks like - the start (me in purple t-shirt)
We continued in the roasting heat on a course that was totally unshaded, until we got a to a turnaround point. As we came back in the opposite direction, there was a fairly string headwind. At first it was wonderful, and it really cooled me down. But it also slowed me down, and became quite difficult to run into. My pace started to drop. After a confident first 2 miles, the next 2 miles were a struggle.

As we went past the start/finish again, it was the half way point. I heard an announcement that drinks were on the left, but as I heard it, I saw people giving out cups of water to my right! It was too late and I had missed the (tiny) drink station. I felt gutted, but tried to push it out of my mind and keep on running.

Then came the hill. Most of this race is really flat and fast as it's along the seafront, but there is a steep hill just before mile 5 which you run up, down the other side, turn around and run up and down again. I'd forgotten how bad it was. As I reached the hill I was almost ready to give up. I felt exhausted, and as it went up and up I was almost walking. A male runner offered me some water, but I didn't want to take his bottle and chuck it over my head, so I declined. He advised me to take deep breaths - I think I sounded pretty bad at this point!

Mile 5-6 was 8m59s - horrendous! That was the worst bit. As we came back down the hill, I could see the finish in the distance and I focused on it determinedly. There were so many negative thoughts in my head; 'I didn't get a drink', 'I didn't see the kids and Pete', 'there are no km or mile markers', 'the weather is too hot for this', 'the hill has ruined everything' etc.... but I pushed them out.

I gave it what I could to get to the finish, and crossed the line feeling that I had given my best. I knew I hadn't beaten my PB, and later found out that my official result was 51m37s.

Not delighted
It just wasn't the day for me to go under 50 mins. I saw a runner I know from parkrun, and she's always much faster than me, and she only finished a little way ahead, so I took this as a good sign! My stats were 69 / 218 runners; 7 / 89 women; 2 / 13 in my age group. Those figures make me feel a bit better.

The figures that make me despair are my mile splits:
Mile 1 - 7:52
Mile 2 - 8:03
Mile 3 - 8:17
Mile 4 - 8:19
Mile 5 - 8:59!!!!!
Mile 6 - 8:31
0.2 - 7:32

Average pace was 8:18, which is so far away from the 8:04 that I wanted, it's hard to believe. Aargh!

Anyway, apart from me, there were also a couple of kids races which Robbie and Emma did. Emma ran in the 1K and Robbie ran in the 2K - (there were only 2 of them in that race, but at least he came 2nd)! I don't know their times as they're not on the website yet, but I was proud of them both for taking part.

Now, inevitably, I'm scouring the Internet for another 10K - I'm feeling a bit disappointed but I know I can run faster on a flatter course and a cooler day. I'll keep trying for that pesky sub-50mins!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Summer's over...

...well nearly. The summer holiday's are over anyway, and the kids have gone back to school, and I've gone back to work. Lucky for us, the weather is hanging on, with decent temperatures and sunny skies - yay!

We had an extremely busy August. It included Pete's 40th birthday, and we did a lot to celebrate that. Firstly we had a day in London (sans children - thanks parents!), when we wandered through the streets, had coffee in the park, ate in restaurants, visited the IMAX cinema and finally, saw a musical. We watched 'The Book of Mormon' which was great!

Trafalgar Square
 The following day we took the kids with us for a surprise arranged by me: an experience of indoor skydiving! It was good fun, and Robbie and Emma were naturals, much more so than us old fogies.
Pete & me
Emma & Robbie
The ticket also included a 'vertical jump' - this turned out to entail climbing up ladders to the top of a 125ft tower, getting strapped into a harness and stepping off! The fall was quite gentle, but the initial step off the platform took a bit of bravery. It was quite shocking to stand above and watch Robbie then Emma throw themselves off the edge, but it didn't seem to worry them!

After departing the platform top left
 After that trip, we went camping for 4 days. It wasn't too far away, but the site was very basic, with just a couple of portaloos and not much else. We had some lovely walks in the surrounding countryside.
On the South Downs
 Then we were off again to see Pete's family, and attend a music festival. We just went for one day, but it was good fun. There was a large kids' area with plenty to do, and then in the evening we saw various bands on the main stages.

Milkshakes & music
 After that we finally had a few days at home before the school term started. It's been lovely having some quiet stay-at-home weekends since then. Despite the busy month, I was please to have managed to run 83 miles in August - BOOM!! (Cycling didn't fare so well, with one poxy commute involving a puncture totalling 5 miles...).

Now it's back to routine and time to carve out some proper training and hopefully get towards a PB!