Ronnie Bowker 10k Canon Hill Park

Over the last couple of weeks I've not been feeling too well and have pretty much done no training.  I've caught some sort of bug, resulting in a temperature and a chest infection.  I'd entered the Ronnie Bowker 10k some time ago and it was touch and go whether I would recover enough in time.  Had I not pre-entered the race a few weeks earlier I would definitely not have run today and a jog earlier in the week confirmed my legs were dead.  In the end I decided to do the race to a) get my monies worth but also b) I was more or less fit enough but with a residual chesty cough and c) it was a good way to get a quality session in after a couple of weeks out.

As a result of my illness I decided to keep it fairly easy at the start and although try to run as best I can, not to expect too much.  The event was very low key, perhaps just 150 runners although the park was full of other people and I knew I'd have to do lots of people dodging en-route.  I started at a fair pace but kept off the gas a little, but was still surprised to be as far back as 15th in the first couple of hundred metres.  Over the course of the first km I had moved up to 12th and there was a group of six runners clear at the front and then everyone else strung along some distance further back.  I did the first km in 3.00 and although I had thought I had kept off the gas it surprised me how fast the first km went, to the point that I convinced myself the km marker was in the wrong place.

Just after the start, I'm in black number 221 near the left of the picture.

The second km was a bit more settled and I went through in 3.31 and the third km followed in 3.28.  At this point I had pulled into 8th and was feeling okish.  I certainly didn't feel like my lungs were holding me back, although at the same time I didn't feel like I was running at full throttle, more like 97%.  The fourth km went in 3.38 and at this point I had moved into 6th.  I think it was a slightly poorer km probably as I had slotted behind another runner who had slowed up a little before I then overtook which cost 2-3 seconds.  The fifth km was done in 3.26 so at the half way point I went through in 17.03 - I was actually 21 seconds ahead of my pb of 34.35 that I did in 2008 (I only knew that I was ahead of my pb as I write this post, hadn't got a clue whilst I was running!).  I was more thinking that sub 35 min was on as I knew it was unlikely I'd be able to repeat the same pace as my first km.

At about 4km in I had just moved into 6th.

The sixth km I did in 3.26 so at this point I knew sub 35 min was possible and I had around 31 seconds in the bank so to speak.  As the group of 5 were well ahead I didnt expect to catch anyone else up but every now and then I could tell I was reeling in a couple of people but not very quickly.  However, between the sixth and seventh km one of the runners stopped so I was now fifth.  The course then went back on itself and so I could tell I was miles behind the first three but was probably about 15-20 seconds behind fourth, whilst 6th behind me was probably about 25 seconds back.  I went through the seventh km in 3.39 so clearly had slowed up a bit over the last km and my legs were feeling lethargic.

Over the next km I was now about 12 seconds behind the runner ahead, but then for some reason among all of the other people on the course he went the wrong way so I was now in fourth.  I didn't get an 8th km time due to not seeing the board with all of the people dodging I had to do, but averaged 3.43 over km 8 and km 9.  I was clearly starting to slow up a fair bit, partly because I was pretty much running by myself and partly because of the remnants of my illness floating about in my system.  At this point I was about 4 seconds behind where I should have been for 35 min pace so knew I'd have to have a strong last km, but due to my slowing times in the previous few km I knew it would be a tough ask.  With a few hundred metres to go I tried to up the pace and when I saw the finish I looked at my watch and though "it might still be on" so sprinted as best I could.  In the end I crossed the line in 34.58 so must have done the final km in about 3.24ish.

Sprinting to the finish, trying to get in under 35 mins!

I was really pleased with my time as I ran some 27 seconds quicker than I did at the Wheaton Aston 10k at Christmas.  In fact it is my second fastest 10k I've ever done so cant really complain.  After the last couple of weeks I have had I didn't think I had that sort of time in me.  Its difficult to say how much slower I ran because of the illness and lack of training but either way it shows I'm still heading in the right direction.  I suspect I probably lost about 25 seconds over km 8 and km 9, so might have just been able to sneak a new pb in around 34.30 had I been fully fit, but in all honesty who knows?

The next firm race planned is the inter counties fell race in mid May although there is the possibility of a mid week short fell race up The Wrekin but will decide nearer the time as I need to get some training in.


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