This was a bit of a bonus race for me as it was originally scheduled for March but the snow forced the organisers to reschedule to April…I had planned to keep April clear of racing as I have a fair amount of work travel this month which is always a little disruptive, but luckily this race was rescheduled to the one weekend where I was actually in the UK. Parfait. This was a new event for Whitstable (the ‘official’ Whitstable 10K takes place in May, and yes, I’ll be on the start line) and I have to say that it was superbly organised – there was a race for children, a 5K and a 10K all starting within the hour, and it had quite clearly attracted some new run/walkers to the event too; so something for everyone.
Everything about this race was efficient – from registering and collecting my race number, to dropping off my bag, to queuing for the toilets (actually, there were no queues)…and the marshalls were friendly and encouraging. In fact, my friend and former-colleague, Emma, was one of the marshalls and it was a rather unexpected and pleasant surprise to hear her cheering me on during the race.
The race started on time and I worked my way to the start line – I decided to go to the very front this time as I was fairly confident that I would be one of the faster runners – I bumped into James at the front too (he ended up winning the race in 33:55…incredible!) and had a few conversations with those around me. Everyone seemed in good spirits and raring to go. I had told myself that I wasn’t PB chasing in this race – but I still wanted a fast race and in my head wanted a sub 50. I started off quickly but rather than maintaining my pace it just got progressively slower, still keeping to sub 8 minute/miles so knew I would be well ahead of my target, but I did have to work hard to keep to a pace I was satisfied with. My body is pretty tired at the moment and I suspect that’s why I’ve had two consecutive races where things have not felt as good as they perhaps should have – I’m also struggling with my feet as my hallux limitus has gotten a little worse which means deciding on the right shoe to wear is becoming a bit of a nightmare. All week I had planned to wear the Gel Nimbus 20 in this race (my comfortable shoe in terms of foot pain, but my legs have to work harder in these to maintain speed), and then it got to race day and I switched back into RoadHawks (my fast shoe, but it doesn’t have enough cushioning to keep my foot pain at a manageable level) – I don’t regret my shoe choice at all, but I do need to rethink my racing shoe going forward. So yeh, having arthritis in your feet when you’re a runner isn’t the easiest thing in the world to manage – but until I can physically no longer walk, I will continue to race.
I actually really enjoyed this race – it’s a route I run in training all the time, so I’m familiar with the intricacies of the ground and which part of the promenade to run on to give my legs the easiest ride. I couldn’t quite keep up with the lead pack, but was considerably ahead of everyone else behind me so there were parts of the route which felt a little lonely – towards the final quarter the 10K runners started filtering into the 5K participants which gave me a real boost as it meant I could shout words of encouragement to the people I passed and the sun started to come out too which makes all the difference for me. My headspace was great during this race – I felt like there was no pressure and I was just there to have a good time, which is exactly what I did. The only real issue I had was my jaw dislocating at mile 5, but that happens to me more often than I’d care to admit so it no longer bothers me as I know I can fix it once I’ve stopped running. All in all, a very happy race.
So, results? I came in at 46.59 (about 15 seconds slower than my PB) and was 5th lady – so not too bad, although I definitely feel like I have the capacity to improve on that time.
Oh, and here’s a bonus video if you want to see me unleash my inner-competitive gremlin on the start line…