It has been quite a while since my last post. To those thinking that working for yourself is an unending delight comes this quick word of warning. Whilst it is awesome being your own boss and generally deciding what it is you do with every day, the flip side brings you endless responsibility and the small matter of making enough money to eat. This can definitely leave you with little time for anything but working and sleeping! Anyway, enough of my grumbling and on with the post!
Since I last posted, I’ve spent the majority of my time away from home with long contracts in Aberdeen and London. Great for business, bad for training. All told, one run per week has been my average training regime for about two months. So it was with some trepidation that I stepped up at the weekend to compete in the York 10K.
I didn’t have huge hopes for the event given the patchy training and piss poor diet (read: amount of beer I have been drinking) in the run up, but I figured that even if it was horrible, it would only be horrible for about an hour!
The race did not start well – “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GGOOOOOO!!” shouted the announcer as I sat on the throne in a small plastic box 50 metres away from the start! I think this was the first time I’ve missed the official start of a race! After hustling to the start, I quickly got myself up to speed and found that I was only a couple of minutes behind the 55-minute pacing runner, so roughly where I wanted to be, but definitely on the back foot.
To start with the feeling was good, and I pushed hard in the opening 2 km, found a good rhythm and moved past the 55-minute pacer. With plenty of York’s best sights to keep my mind off my legs (running in to town and past York Minster was pretty excellent) I kept the pace high and even started to enjoy myself.
After the section through town the race moved down on to the riverfront and it was here that the pace started to bite. My body, which had soldiered on gallantly until this point, started to rebel and I had to dial the pace back for a couple of clicks. It is probably worth noting that I don’t run with a watch on most of the time. I like to listen to my body (however cheesy that sounds) and regulate my pace based on how much pain I can be bothered to tolerate. For race weekends I tend to go that bit harder than training, and so it proved here. After the 7km point I felt better and started to push for home. With a quick water stop, where I upended the entire bottle on to my own head, my sights were firmly set on the finish line.
The last part of the race was a blur. When the 400m to go sign appeared I made a mad sprint for the line which, judging by the race photos, was not very dignified! I can remember being just across the finish line when a very helpful marshal told me that if I just kept on moving I wouldn’t throw up – I can only imagine how bad I must have looked!
Given how late I was crossing the finish line I had no real idea of how long it had taken as the “Gun time” showed over 57 minutes. I was pretty sure it was less than 55 minutes as I hadn’t seen that pacer since overtaking him on kilometer #3. The folks at Race for All text you the result so I grabbed my phone and took a look: 51 minutes 40 seconds. Easily a PB and a time I’m thoroughly chuffed with!
Now then, how on earth did I manage that?
At first glance, it would be easy to conclude that beer and curry are the answers to running nutrition, but maybe that would be a bit glib. I think I pushed myself harder on this race than I have in a while and in reality that is what took me over the finish line so quickly. Nevertheless, there are definitely some lessons for me to learn.
First, inconsistent training is not good enough. I have some fairly big fitness goals and without a structured, progressive plan I’m not convinced I’m going to make them happen.
Second, timing is everything. Necessity of purpose aside, perhaps I should have gotten to the start line just a bit earlier than I did!
Third, pain is temporary. Pushing on like I did felt horrible at the time, but it got me a result I was really happy with and foam-rolling (mostly) dealt with the aftermath!
Let’s hope I can beat that PB when I do this race again next year.
Ciao for now.
P.S. I’m more than hopeful that I’ll be wearing the same trainers again at next year’s event. Despite the smell, they’re seriously comfortable and do the job. A few holes here and there just add to the charm!