Cheshire 10k

Since the last post I've done pretty much no road running because of my foot but last Monday I had another hospital appointment following the results of my MRI to have a steroid injection in the ankle joint.  Its too early to tell what, if anything, it has done but I remain hopeful!  In the intervening period it has just been more gym work and some treadmill running, which is all well and good but not as beneficial as the real thing.

Today was the Cheshire 10k; a bit far away for a 10k but I wanted a real fitness test on an accurately measured course (ahem Tamworth (almost) 10k!) that is flat and fast with some real competition.  Looking at previous results I knew that I wouldn't be at the thick end of the race so it was all about the time.  There is no hiding in these sorts of events, the time would be a true reflection of where I am at the moment.  I was hoping that I was in some sort of shape and certainly the Tamworth 10k and Birmingham Half both show that I'm certainly not unfit.  I know my current 10k PB of 32.22 in December 2016 is on paper the weakest of my PBs and is simply reflective of not having done many races at this distance and/or not many courses conducive to fast times.  Back in my build up to Chester Marathon last year I would have almost certainly gone much quicker than this.

The start was mildly uphill and already I was miles behind at the 1k mark.  Not that I had any clue at the time I later found out I was 19th and was just a couple of seconds ahead of my PB average pace of 3.14m/km.  Over the next km I picked off a couple of runners and again was a few more seconds ahead of PB schedule.  I already didn't feel fantastic to be honest, it just felt way too fast for me.  The third km resulted in a couple more runners picked off, but I tried to settle in behind them for a breather as I felt like I was already ready to blow up.  I was amazed that I went through in 3.05, but after the race it did seem like a fast km for most runners for some reason.  Despite how I was feeling I was thinking sub 32 mins could be on.

Early on - moving into 17th.

After holding onto the two runners for 30 secs or so I gradually was levitating towards the front of the group and having to hold back to stay with them so decided to just crack on with it.  A 3.11 km followed but I was now feeling as if it was about 7km in the race and not yet past half way!  The 5th km sounded the warning bells at 3.22 and it was at this point I knew that not only sub 32 mins was now not on, but I could be falling away quite quickly.  Despite this, I was still gradually catching and picking off runners who at this point were spread out over some distance.  I was probably overtaking someone every km or so, with no one overtaking me.

Roughly half way - prediction: more pain to come.

The second half of the race was just a case of holding on as best as possible and a few times I was seriously considering switching off, this was far too painful.  With a couple of km left I did a mental calculation that told me a PB might still be possible, but would be tight.  As I saw the finish I gave what I had left, which wasn't much so couldn't really muster a sprint, but it was fast enough to cross the line in 32.13, a 9 second PB, 11th overall and 1st Vet.

The splits show that on the whole my second half of the race was pretty even, which is surprising as it felt anything but, but it also probably explains why I was picking off runners as I was holding my pace whilst others fell back.  The first 5km was done in 16.00, whilst the second half was 16.13 so not too bad overall.

I'm not sure why but even though its a PB, I don't feel ecstatic; I certainly do not feel disappointed - at the end of the day a PB is a PB and with the year I have had I can hardly complain.  Perhaps I'm just being hard on myself as usual but would dearly love to get under that 32 minute barrier.  I suppose I just feel there is more to come and I just didn't feel as strong as I did when running in Tamworth a few weeks back.  The one thing I certainly cant complain about was that my foot felt fine both during and after the race, so here is to hoping the injection has done something.

Splits

What my time also reaffirms is that I have a really narrow operating window 3.13m/km for 10k, 3.18m/km for a Half and 3.27m/km for a Marathon.

As things are so uncertain at the moment I don't really have any long terms plans apart from Christmas and New Year, so am just going to see how things develop.

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