Training Update – Week 7 SPECIAL EDITION RACE REPORT (SHINY)
I have officially passed the halfway point in my training plan and I’m really enjoying being back in the swing of things. I really enjoy the structure that comes with a training plan and have seriously considered just following one off-season(!) as sometimes I find it hard to get up off my butt if I don’t have a neat little graph telling me what to do. Sad, I know. What can I say, I like structure!
So how was Week 6? It was AWESOME THAT’S HOW IT WAS.
Tuesday saw the return of Run Dem Crew for season 7 and it was amazing to be back. I only joined late last season but I feel very at home there and look forward to it every Tuesday. Every week I meet someone new and this week was no exception; lovely people everywhere. Charlie’s welcome talk was, as usual, inspirational and there’s a post coming in a few days inspired by his words that night. I joined the greyhounds to run Bridges; 5 miles by the Thames with a sprint across Millenium Bridge. Running by the Thames is amazing. It doesn’t matter how many times I run those banks, the view will always take my breath away.
Wednesday was a little run to the gym (as per usual!) and I turned it into a Fartlek type session – quick bursts followed my slow jogs, mixed in with a bit of threshold and a sprint finish. Always a sprint finish. This week it was up the last stretch of Moorgate; a 6:50min/mile pace whizzing past all the lunchtime runners in ‘JP Morgan Finishers’ shirts (you know….). Yeah it was fun.
Thursday I was scheduled to run 5 miles but ended up only running 3.5 on the way home. This night I did not want to run and was > < this close to just getting the tube home. BUT I thought of Berlin and of my target time and I knew deep down that I need to do everything in my power to hit that target. So, backpack on and off I went feeling tired and dejected. So, much to my (very pleasant) surprise on a glance at my watch I found I was running a 7:40 min/mile and feeling GOOD. Confidence well and truly boosted!
Saturday I was meant to run 2 miles but err…didn't. Aforementioned determined attitude got lost in a seasonally inappropriate spring clean and a carb-loading pizza baking session.
And Sunday? Well Sunday was RACE DAY! So what do we have?
I entered the Maxifuel 10k on a whim a couple of days ago and was very excited to aim for a new PB! Sub 50 to be precise. The only official 10k time I have is my first ever race back in 2010; I was barely eating, had only ever run on a treadmill and was wearing shoes designed for tennis. I came in at 54:52. Two years on I am a finely tuned athlete (ahem) and so was hoping to beat it. Obviously.
The Maxifuel 10k was held at Dorney Lake in Eton; it’s used by Eton College as a sports ground and also happens to be the 2012 Olympic venue for rowing! The route was a double lap, up the side of the lake and back down a raised straight through the middle! It was amazing to look at it, like a runway through the water. You can see from one end of the lake to the other which, psychologically speaking, was very encouraging. Just chase to the end and then do it again. WHIZZ.
Very promising. Until I actually started running. It was bloody FREEZING and the wind was fierce. I started strong and was running well under 8 min/miles on the first stretch and feeling comfortable. I crossed for the bridge for my first run at the straight through the lake and the wind hit me. It was ridiculously strong and literally knocked the breath out of my lungs. I pushed through but was finding it rough. I’m not the biggest of women and was being knocked about like a doll in a hurricane (well, that’s what it felt like).
My pace suffered considerably and I felt so drained when I got to the other side. As I looked at my watch I knew that the wind had scuppered any hopes of a PB and I felt seriously disheartened; knowing you’ve essentially failed at what you came to do is hard to suck up and I felt like stopping. What was the point in doing another lap? It was only going to get harder.
However, I’m no quitter and knew I’d feel even worse if I stopped. You need to use these hard time to learn from in order to come back stronger. Feeling like you’ve let yourself down is all the motivation you need for the next time you find yourself facing a mammoth task; quitting will teach you nothing but to just keep on quitting. Learn from it and come back stronger.
I carried on and tried to make up some more time on the second run of the sheltered stretch of the run and started to feel more positive. Second time at the lake was harder than the first and I am not afraid to say I hated every second of it. I had to stop a couple of times as I literally couldn’t breathe and there were points where I swear I wasn’t making forward progress! People were running past me and I was hating myself for not being strong enough to push through.
The finish line was bittersweet. I was pleased to finish and pleased to not have to run anymore but I was also upset. Upset that I wasn’t strong enough to take the wind on like I thought I could. Upset that something I had no control over whatsoever had ruined my race. I collected my medal but couldn’t put it on; I felt like a complete failure. A bit of talking round later from Dayve and I was feeling a bit brighter.
I came in at 53:18; by no means a PB in that I know I can run it much faster, but a PB in terms of official chip times. However, it turns out everyone had a rough race and it wasn’t just me that had qualms with the wind! I placed 64 overall out of 250 runners and was the 20th woman home! In terms of times it wasn’t my best run but looking at the big picture that’s not too shabby at all.
The race was well organised and I thought Maxifuel and F3 events did a great job. Registration was a breeze and the race swag was awesome; a copy of Runners World, a Maxifuel water bottle, electrolyte tablet, a finishers medal and t-shirt. I do love a good bit of race swag. The start was slightly jumbled (no chip mat, runners not organised by target time and a pretty retro air horn to kick us off!) but other than that all good. There are more races (both running and Duathlon) coming up in their Winter Race series – you can find out more on www.f3events.co.uk.
P.S. If you got the Pokemon card reference in the title we’ll definitely be excellent friends. x