Stanley Park 10k
Short story: 10.1k in 38:28 to come 32nd out of 342!
So my preparation for this race wasn’t exactly the best! A night out the night before at an unsigned gig standing up all night, meant I went to bed with stiff legs and climbing the stairs giving me a bit of a ‘burn’ was showing the effects of being back into decent training. I woke up late and grabbed some toast after finding some jam in the fridge and headed to Blackpool still half-asleep.
It was nice to catch up with everyone from Simulation where I spent my year in industry, and nice to see that Dave was applying his usual training of just turning up on the day! The last time he ran was when we did a 10 mile race back in 2009!! I had a quick warm up consisting of a few laps of the track, starting really easy, going steady, then a lap at race pace. I felt OK, but the legs didn’t want to cooperate much, which was a bit worrying.
I said before the race on twitter that my race plan was to run the first 5k at 4:00 min/km pace, then push and see what happens, and had said I was aiming for around 38 minutes. Looking at my Garmin file I clocked the first 5k at 3:53/km pace, and the 2nd 5k 3:43/km pace, so a bit quicker but bang on for pacing and a good negative split.
Starting the race I position myself towards the front but to the side out of the way of the big groups. The route is a lap of the track, then start the first lap of the race with another half lap and out round the park, and repeat for the 2nd lap. The gun went off and everyone shot off like a rocket! I was stuck in a bunch and just got dragged along by everyone running round the outside of the track to get some space. I was feeling pretty rushed and a quick glance at the Garmin saw 3:30 on the clock, far too quick, so I settled down. By the time the first lap had been completed it started to string out and my legs finally woke up and decided to play ball. I hit about 3:45 pace once it settled down and started to settle into a good rhythm. One guy who was stuck behind me in the big group ran past and then no one overtook me for the rest of the race!
We left the track and I immediately started picking people off. I checked the watch a few times and was running quicker than I wanted to, so backed off, conscious that my endurance isn’t great at the moment and didn’t want to blow up! I settled at a nice 3:55/4:00 pace and ran within myself for the next 15 minutes. I didn’t have anyone to run with as everyone running my pace seemed to be up the road. I lost count of the number of people I overtook pretty quickly and it became clear I need to be more confident when positioning myself!
When we hit the track again to the begin the 2nd lap I was feeling pretty good. I was running well, wasn’t too tired and felt pretty comfortable. So at this point I decided to let the legs open up and run at the pace they wanted to. Immediately I started to pick people off more quickly until about 7k when there weren’t many people in front of me. By the time we hit 8k I was running pretty much a flat out sustained pace and only had 3 people in front of me that I could see on the windy course and I started to chase. When I hit the 9k mark I just went for it, but unfortunately as I was already at max pace this only translated to an extra 10s quicker per km! I picked off 2 of the guys fairly quickly and only one guy to go who had about 40m on me. When we hit the track I went into full-on sprint mode but was only managing 3:10 pace – I was gone! The guy finished 2 seconds ahead of me, so I can’t really complain! Coming home in 38:28 I was extremely pleased, and it was nice to have some sort of speed back again. I don’t think I’ve been running this quickly since I was 13 when I could run 1500m in just under 5 minutes!
For the first race of the season (and first ever 10k) it is a good result to take away and proves that my training is going in the right direction. I certainly felt that the first 5k was a sustainable effort for a half-marathon with some more endurance work. More speed work should see me becoming more efficient, and I just need to slowly start increasing my mileage and things should be looking good! There is a local 5k (free!) race every week which I am going to start doing every so often, I think I’ve been bitten by the speed bug! It certainly hurts though! I’m a lot more sore than I am after most triathlons! It is nice to wake up late, race and be home by lunch though, certainly makes a change!