10K: for the win

Having raced the mountain bike the previous weekend, it was time to blast out a season-opening 10K run. There were two events happening near me on Sunday 10th March, but I chose The Stroke Association ‘resolution run’ as it started earlier at 11am.

As per last week, I was sitting in my pyjamas about an hour before the race, and had to get a shift on to prep, travel, and sign-on.┬áIt was only a couple of miles from my house so I ran over to warm up. There was a biting wind, so we shuffled inside the lobby of the clubhouse until the late briefing was called outside. Due to a badly churned up path, the course had been altered to 4 x 2.5 km laps. As we lined up, everyone looked at each other and was hesitant. I ended up on the front line, and thought, “well, I’ll be passed, but at least I’ll not get held up myself”.

Off we went, slightly fast as usual. I was tucked behind the bicycle that would guide us around the first lap. After a few minutes, as my pace settled, I glanced over my shoulder and was surprised to see the next runners at least 100m behind and in no particular hurry. Strange. Maybe the fast ones are letting me pace the first lap or two then will burn past when I’m done? The course was pretty level, but there were a few dips and twists, as well as some grass and mucky paths. Perfect terrain for me, but perhaps making some of the others cautious. Unfortunately, the strong wind also appeared to only hit us in the face, being more sheltered on the down-wind leg. It can be psychologically arresting if nothing else, but again, something I’m used to from the hills.

After 2 laps (19:50) I started to lap a serious amount of people and could no longer see 2nd place. It hit me that I was going to win this, but I had to keep lit to try for my goal of 40 minutes. I was 12 seconds outside in the end, which I’ll blame on the wind. I got to break the tape which was fun, and won a little Sony mp3 player!

The next finishers were some minutes behind. I felt a little guilty, but I paid my money to try my best against the clock: the other runners are just motivation, not targets. Winning is a new concept to me. The race later in the day was more as expected – I heard the winner took only 34 minutes. I got lucky that all the fast people wanted a lie-in!

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