If I’m honest, I didn’t think that I would make it to this race – I thought my body would be ruined with the combination of my half two weeks ago and the ultra last weekend. But, at the beginning of this week I started to think that I was probably in PB shape for the 10K distance so I started to plan accordingly and told myself I’d have a strong race. Which sort of happened.
On race morning I woke up in a bit of a funk – finally race fatigue had hit me hard. I was tired both mentally and physically and I wanted to rest, not race. But it’s only 6.2 miles, right? And I would want to go out for a run anyway if I wasn’t racing, and race HQ was at my sailing club; a two minute walk from my house. But it was also hot and by the time we were on the start line I think it was approaching 25’C, and there was a nasty headwind on the way back (both a blessing and a curse). I walked down to race HQ to collect my number at 9am, and then went home to have a cup of tea and chill out away from the crowds as I wasn’t really in the mood to be overly social, nor did I want to wait around in the sun. I headed back down at 9:40, had a brief conversation with my friend James (who came 4th!), and then was on the start line ready to race.
After two weekends of really positive headspace in my races, the self-doubt hit me hard in this one. Everything was fine up to 3K and at that point I think I was 6th lady, but at the first water station I poured the water on my head before I had chance to drink any (obviously was meant to drink first, then pour on head…silly mistake) and then let that play on my mind. At 5K a lady I was running behind retired due to the conditions – I was also running 7 min/miles at this stage which is far quicker than I would usually run, and as I was supposed to be recovering from last weekend’s 31 miler was probably a bit stupid. Although, had it not been for the heat I genuinely think I could’ve maintained that pace. At 6K I seriously considered pulling out too and wondered how I would feel about a DNF, luckily I managed to talk myself out of this as it was an out and back course so I would still have to walk to the finish…and really and truly, although my body was tired, it was my head that was giving up on me and not my legs. I soon slowed down when we got to the one and only hill (thank goodness) and then settled into a more comfortable, though still speedy, pace for the remainder of the race. This was exactly what I needed as I know I’ve been pushing myself hard recently and during this race I definitely had that niggling worry at the back of my mind that I might be pushing myself too far.
I guess the good thing about a 10K is that it’s over with fairly quickly, which is great when you aren’t having your best day. Although I still think it’s a really rotten distance and would rather take on a half in the heat. Eventually the finish line came into view and I felt a sense of relief that it was over, and a sense of disappointment that I perhaps allowed my head to hold me back a little (although realistically, I probably needed to hold back more given the fact that I haven’t really allowed myself to recover from my races recently). The crowd support was fantastic too – there were people throughout the course cheering us on, and I was lucky enough to have my husband and my friend, Ellie, come down to watch which gave me a boost – and they both snapped the photos of me.
Result? Well, my watch is saying 46:49 (and my PB stands at 46:43…so that’s annoying!), and I ended up with an average pace of 7:33 min/miles…not bad considering my legs covered a little over 31 miles the previous weekend, however they are very much in need of some good-quality rest now, which is exactly what I’m going to give them. I’m taking a few weeks off running, will restore some more weight and then will start to strategise on my autumn race plans.