Firstly, I should explain that I really enjoy running. I realise now that this is not always the case with triathletes, but it is the way for me. I started running before taking up triathlons and it is my strongest element. This means I try to get a couple of running races in throughout the year. The Cheshire 10K is very well organised, is nice and flat (meaning a PB is a possibility!) and is fairly local for me, so it works well. Although I am not a big fan of the medal, so it usually goes in the kids toy box for them to play with.
As I was driving across to Arley Hall for the race it dawned on me that the last 10K I had done was the same race 2-3 years ago, so I clearly had not been doing a very good job of fitting in a few running races every year! However, this race has very fond memories for me. It was the first time I went sub-40 minutes for a 10km. Admittedly it was only just under at 39min 56sec but I was over the moon with that. I really didn’t know if I had a similar, or better, result in me this time – I had been focusing on the bike quite a bit over the winter training so didn’t have a good read on how my running was shaping up.
The weather was ideal – clear skies with a morning chill that had lifted by the time we were getting ready to run. Following the obligatory queuing for the toilets (which were nice and clean – always a sign of a well run event!) and a warm up jog I bumped into Susan, a fellow Scarab. It was great to see a familiar face and the distinctive Scarab kit definitely helps spotting each other. We had a quick chat and a photo. Then before too long it was off to the start line. Given I didn’t know how I would be feeling I decided to start hard for the first 1-2km, then see how my pace was looking and how my legs were feeling.
After the first kilometre I checked my Garmin and saw that I was on track for a similar time to my PB. I was also feeling good, which in fairness I should be after only 1km! I decided to keep running at what felt like a similar pace and as I was nearing the half way mark I was still regularly overtaking people, although the frequency had slowed down somewhat. I was in for a pleasant surprise when I checked my watch again and saw that I was tracking faster than my PB.
As we moved into the second half of the run I concentrated on trying to maintain a similar pace despite the general running pain becoming harder to ignore. I tried to be as nosey as possible when looking at the lovely houses we were running past, or taking a vastly increased interest in farmyard machinery (if that is even the correct term!) as we ran down some lovely country lanes that passed the odd farm. I was still passing people every now and then, which was keeping my confidence and morale up. As we passed through the 8km mark it became clear to me that I was going to get a PB, even if I cracked and slowed down. This meant I could really push on and run hard for the last few kilometres, without worrying too much about my pacing. As I came around the last corner and down the finishing chute I enjoyed the crowd cheering me on and gave a raising-fist-clenched-above-the-head celebration over the finish line.
This was quickly followed by a lie down on the grass as I felt absolutely knackered. While 10km is not a massive distance compared to a half, or full, marathon it can still be pretty tiring, at least for me. I then tried the post event snack, which this time was a weird peanut butter type gel thing. While it was tasty, if you like peanut butter, I did feel I spent almost as much energy trying to get it out of the pack as I gained from eating it.
I was pleased to have got a PB and once again enjoyed the event. If anyone is looking for an early season, or late season as they do the same race in November, I would highly recommend this event.
Race result: 37:57 for 10K