Tamworth 10k

Today was the first time I’ve done a ‘proper’ race since I stopped running in 2008, except for the one off race I did in 2012 when I thought a few months of running on a treadmill would suffice.  As I said in my last post something around 38mins would be great, 39 a bit disappointing but not unexpected and anything near 40 would be very disappointing.

I know the importance of a good breakfast so 3 hours before I had a bowl of cereal but as it was near the end of the packet I kept pouring until there was a huge bowl full which I then proceeded to eat.  Frankly I was stuffed and even right up to the race I still felt quite full so I was quite worried that I was going to get stitch – lesson learned for next time!  The race itself is only a few miles from home so I knew the area and the route well – pretty much flat as a pancake with just a few tiny inclines which were barely noticeable and a small chunk of the route being run on the canal.  The race started in the Castle Grounds and was 2 x 5km laps, which was great as my wife was there to cheer me on.  The weather was almost perfect, quite calm and was about 14 degrees so no excuses there!

I deliberately didn’t want to start too near the front as I didn’t want to get carried away at the start and burn myself out, so I started several rows back and took me 6 secs or so to cross the line.  That said I was already getting held up so it was a bit of a case of trying to find a gap to squeeze past people and after about 100m I was probably about 30th.  Over the first km I kept picking people off but at the same time was conscious that I didn’t want to go off too fast.  I went through the first km in about 3.25 – quite fast but at the same time you never know quite how accurate the distance markers are.  Either way, it looked like I had gone off too fast and I was probably about 15th at this stage.  Conscious that I needed to do about 3.50 per km to achieve 38mins I tried to keep off the gas but continued to pick off the odd runner over the following km.  I can’t really remember what time I did the second km other than I was even further ahead of 38min pace, yet I still felt reasonably good.

At about 2.5km I was just behind a couple of runners and tried to latch onto one of them.  Over the next couple of km I continued to be just a few metres behind one of the runners but in the process we seemed to reel in two runners who were about 50 metres ahead of us.  Just as we were finishing the first lap we were all neck and neck as we started the second lap.  I’m not entirely sure what time I did the first 5km, possibly around 18.15ish? so well ahead of 38min pace and yet I still felt pretty good and running within myself.  At this point I felt 38 mins should be easily achievable so was thinking maybe 37.30 was possible, maybe even a touch quicker. 

As the four of us started the second lap I was 10th overall and we started to pull a small lead over the two guys we had caught earlier.  I still felt ok but left my fellow runner to do most of the pacing up to about 7km when I passed him on a small incline just as we were about to start the canal section.  We continued to run together until about 8km and as we went up the embankment to exit the canal I started to really increase my pace and quickly dropped the guy I had been running with for most of the race so at this point I was 7th.  I should have already mentioned we were slowly starting to reel in a runner ahead that must have been about 50m ahead at the start of the second lap.  As I was exiting the canal section he must still have been 30m ahead but I was starting to rapidly catch him up due to my increase in pace.  At about 9.5km I caught and has passed him so was now sixth and gave everything I had got.  By this point I knew that I was going to come in well under 37mins but still had no idea until I crossed the finish line 6th in 36.32, comfortably ahead of the runner I had passed a few hundred metres earlier.

To say I’m surprised is an understatement as I thought that 37mins was theoretically possible but so unlikely that I didn’t really consider it as realistic.  But 36.32 is way beyond where I thought I am, considering only 7 months ago I was two stone heavier and wheezing after just a few hundred metres.  Its only 2 mins off my personal best when I was a serious runner back in 2008 so whatever I’ve been doing in the last 7 months my plan is to keep training and continue to improve.


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