Tuesday, 14 May 2013

COMPLETED St. Albans 10K

My first competitive run since the marathon was the St. Albans 10K this weekend. A lovely sunny morning had me turn up and grab my number and racing chip. With another 10 minutes, I performed some simple stretching exercises and got ready. There were about 400 runners, so quite well attended and there was a certain energy in the crowd as they waited for the start. With 5 minutes to go, the organiser got his megaphone and announced that all runners to advance to the start line with the fastest runners to the front: those expecting to finishing below 38 minutes for the 10K run.

I quickly moved my way to the middle of the pack!

Not having trained since the marathon, I was a bit nervous and my right knee and right shoulder was hurting, due to a mid-week football injury while my left knee ached ever so slightly, not quite right since the haribo-induced knee twist. The clock ticked down and the gun went off and we were away!

I wanted to get sub-59 minutes; something I know that I am capable of. My best time I think was 48 minutes but that was about 26 years old and I am doubtful if I will beat this time. The irony is that at that time, I didn't do as much training as I am doing now!

However, I am not disappointed; just more motivated to do better. Here's a youtube video that a friend linked to me. It is safe for work and very cool. I spent time trying to figure the movies and speeches it came from.

So back to the race. I went off with a decent pace, probably a sub-6.5 min / km pace. Mentally, I knew that I will finish, I completed the marathon two weeks damn it! However, this time I had a target in mind. Complete the 10KM below an hour with enough puff at the end to do a sprint finish.

I moved along the pack, weaving my way through slower runners. I didn't want to be overtaken in this race - I wanted to over take and maintain my position. So I did.

The first three KMs came and went, I was at a good pace around the 6.0 min / km pace and feeling good. I went past runners and didn't have anyone blast past me. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool and the heaviness in my legs that I initially felt was gone. Felt good and confident.

Kept up with two runners for the next three KMs but couldn't overtake them. One chap, on my right and always two or three paces in front, kept me at bay and continued to do so. The other chap, we both left behind around the 6KM mark.

However, you know I mentioned that I didn't want to be overtaken this time? Well, I did and my 'running partner' also started to pull away and I didn't want to catch up; wasn't too confident that I had enough in the tank to finish strongly. I did spy another club runner who was running solo and made a point of catching and going past her. Well, she obviously detected my attempt and upped her speed. Sensing a challenge, I kept up and overtook her only for her to respond in kind. So I settled down a pace or two behind and waited. I knew that a hill was coming up (we went down it on the way out) and I am normally quite steady running up hill. My pace drops only slightly on inclines and that was where I would beat her. Along came the hill and my 'rival' slowed down and I pushed past, she tried to respond (I could hear her breathing become more ragged) but I sensed an opening and actually pushed the pace and the small slither became a larger gap.

I felt good. Running is about small victories, inch by inch, beating the person to your side, and in front. Definitely felt good - I saw my next objective: two runners, 25 and 35 metres ahead of me and we were in the last 1.5 km. Once the 9km marker flashed by, I kicked hard. So did everyone ahead of me and the race was on!

Run Ming Run!
Did I have enough in the tank to beat these two? The stronger of the two stretched ahead as she kicked hard. Going past the penultimate marker and we all had 400m to go. Am sure my pace here was around the sub-4.0 min / km mark. With 200m to go, I was within touching distance of the first of my runners. I went past him with the crowd cheering me on; I had 100m left to go and my legs felt like they were burning but I pushed and pushed. I was within 10m of catching the other runner but she was racing to the end, eager to get a good time.

I didn't catch her but if I had another 50m.....

Got beat...

My time was 52 minutes 10 seconds. Not bad at all.

Oh, I have been keeping to a decent diet: low meat, high fruit and veg but I did do a carbo load before the race.
No meat here.

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 52 minutes 10 seconds
Pace: 5.2 min/km
Total run so far: 313.86 km

Monday, 13 May 2013

St Albans 10K coming up


Well, I am fully recovered from the marathon, even my left knee feels ok but I did hurt myself playing five-a-side this week: a diving save to my right and I hurt my (already weakened) right shoulder. You use your arms to help you run, so it will definitely be an impediment to my running. I have signed up for the St. Albans 10K this weekend and I am quietly confident about it. I know that I will finish (come on, I finished the marathon!) but I do need to take things easy even if I feel fully recovered. Building back up to a half-marathon later this year.

My target time is 60 minutes - though my fastest has been 44 minutes but I was 15 years younger and I think 10 lbs lighter. No injuries and I want to be able to walk away from the event. 10K are my favourite event as they are relatively fast runs and a challenge in terms of speed.

All my kit is now ready but I have done no running since the completion of the marathon two weeks ago. This is my first run and it will be a useful gauge on where I am in terms of fitness, pace and overall ability.

The same preparatory rules apply to any running: get hydrated, stay hydrated, carbo load and plenty of sleep. All of which I should do this weekend, barring more garden maintenance work.

Should be fun...