Sunday 15th March 2015, 10am, Bushy Park, Kingston.
Previous PB for 10K: 52:56
5K split: 24:40
So that’s the technical stuff out-of-the-way.
The Run Nearly Ended Before It Began
The one day you don’t want your Jet lag to work itself out, the one day that you could naturally sleep beyond 6:30am, is not the day you want when you have to get up at 6:30 to travel across London for a run.
As I had (unusually) slept very soundly overnight, I was unaware that it had been raining. So when leaving the house, I was a little surprised by the cold and the wet street. So surprised that I did not anticipate how smooth and slippery the large piece of concrete at the end of the path was and took a few layers of skin off my knee – didn’t tear my tights though. Unimpressed.
And for the crowd at the run, equally unimpressive. An event that is capped at 500 people, had a glorious show of some 170 runners, not even 50%. This is probably weather related, but one suspects that the Kingston Breakfast Run, some 2 hours earlier, may have stolen some of the field too. However, silver-linings and all that – the run is in a park known for cyclist, runners, dog walkers and rampant deer so a small field is not be such a big deal.
A Segway about Askwith
Richard Askwith has a new book out, it is called ‘Running Free’. There is an extract of his new book in this months issue of Runners World. His new book is all about the joys of running in nature, without targets or technology. I mention this now because this whole week has had elements of this.
With the precious technology currently on the other side of the world, this race was always going to be a challenge, pace and time would be pretty much unknown so I had to somehow manage my pace by ‘listening to my body’. But this is not so scary, I have been forced to ‘run free’ before and I quite enjoy it in many ways.
Lap One: The Realpolitik’s Of The Pace And The Race
I powered through the first couple of K’s just to get some space. Once again I started too far back. This is a lack of confidence in my pace under race conditions that I need to get over. The slight up hill and fierce headwind was also proving to be tricky. At this stage, I did not have time to contemplate the views as I could not see them through all the runners and the tears running out of my eyes. Once past the Cricket club and sheltered by the park wall and the park trees I was able to take in the sights of the flat park devoid of deer and populated by a few cyclists and the occasional dog walker. I want to ease off the pace but I can hear someone pacing off of me and I am competitively compelled to stay ahead.
As I begin the start of the second lap, I eyeball the ‘official’ time and see that the first lap has only taken me 24 minutes. I knew it felt fast.
Lap Two: Internal Battles
The woman in pink, who was pacing and eventually overtook me is still close enough that I could catch but as I battle against the K1/K6 headwind, I begin to regret the cup of water that has sent my nose into running overdrive. There is no way I can get around in 45mins or less, but 50 is achievable . Unfortunately, the scenery was not too impressive the first time around and the second lap is not going to give me any surprise distractions so I turn inwards, to the fear that I had dropped so much pace that I won’t finish in less than an hour. Need to get out of this start of mind. And then the Beastie Boys begin to waft around my head, again. What is it with that band and that music?! Still, a mental rendition of Ch-check it out got me to the 9.5K mark. Then I turned to self-abuse (verbally speaking and stuff I will not repeat here).
100 Meters To Go
I am alone (in the field of runners), with no external pressure to chase or be chased, just me, my legs and the need to spew. The clock is in view, 100 meters to go (don’t trip now). 50 (something) 50:33. Shit. Must get there before 51!!!