As my third race in twelve days, I was back to Prestwold for another 10K. When I did this race last year I'd managed a small PB before getting a better one at the Run For All Leicester 10K. With no Run For all race in Leicester this year it meant if I was going to get a 10K PB in 2019, then this would probably be my best chance. However, having raced a 5K at the weekend did make me question how ready my legs would be for this. I went into this race deciding it would be nothing more than a tempo run… in what was forecast to be stormy weather.
Driving from work meant I wouldn't be eating before the race - it'd need to wait until afterwards. What this means is that it'd be seven hours after I'd last eaten so practically long enough to be considered fasted. Maybe not a good idea for a race; but for a training run it could work out quite well. When I got there (after getting lost in an industrial estate) I sat in my car and watched the rain - contemplating going home. I'd not dressed for this weather - I'd dressed for a warm sunny day. What was this weather?!
If I'd gone home then I'd have missed my chance for a training run as well - that was pretty much the only reason I stayed. Whilst procrastinating I wondered what pace I'd need if I wanted a sub-39. I'd not bothered to check beforehand, and was now thinking it was around 6:15/mi. I'd got a short-sleeved base layer I could wear; but even with that it was a bit chilly.
Eventually I forced myself out of my car to get my race number, saw @_jen_f16, and then sat back in my car whilst putting on my number. I didn't want to get any wetter than I had to. Eventually with twenty minutes to go I got out of my car again, and queued for the facilities - it took ten minutes to get to the front of the queue; but I wasn't worried. These organisers are thoughtful and will wait until the queue is empty before starting the race.
So, eventually I queued up at the race start when they called for the sub-20 5K and sub-40 10K runners. There were five or six of us. Not many. I wanted to be at the back of them; but none of them were keen to be at the front it seemed so I found myself toe to the start line - waiting to go. Once starting it took a few strides before the others and more over took me. I figured I'd dropped back to about 8th place within seconds and I was happy to stay there. I didn't want to go too fast. I looked over my shoulder - I was at the back of this pack, and the main bulk of the runners were bunched together about 50 metres back.
After about half a mile one more runner over took me; but this would be the last time before the end. This course is one which feels like it's down hill for the first 0.3 miles though looking at the elevation I'm not sure it actually is. Though as you reach the half mile point and the 'back' of the track there is a definite up hill bit that continues around the next two corners and passed a couple of buildings, until you're close to a mile. The bit that follows passed the Dales Spinney is the bit which in subsequent laps would remind me that I would be getting ever closer to the next lap. At around 1.5 miles it's then onto the next lap with four laps in total for the 10K. During this second lap I managed to overtake a couple of runners for the first (and I think only) time this race, though before the lap was over I did start to lap the back of the others. The first two miles were 6:04/mi each - a little ahead of what I'd have wanted for a PB attempt.
I have to admit I did consider finishing at 5K, and knowing I could have finished fourth for it was even more tempting. My glasses were starting to get difficult to see through due to the spots of rain and they'd steamed up a little. Whereas in the first lap and for the majority of the second I'd been able to keep a good racing line around the course it would now be a case of having to weave a little. I think the only reason I continued on for the third lap was not wanting to give up; but I think seeing it was only 19:04 into the race certainly helped. I wasn't going 'all out' so I knew I could have done that 5K much quicker - it made me think I could have proved wrong those that had ridiculed getting a PB at the Rocket 5K.
There was one runner early on my third lap who didn't like me 'passing too close' - even though I was half a metre from their side when I passed. They were running along the best racing line so I'd have liked to have got closer to it than I did; but I certainly passed them with more than good enough distance to respect their space.
I'd not been keeping track of my mile splits, but figured that I might just get a PB if I didn't slow down too much. The third lap did feel slower though, and looking at the splits afterwards I can see miles 3 and 4 were both 6:17/mi which were my slowest laps. I did actually feel tired, and my brain was telling me I should walk for a bit though I also knew I'd be disappointed with myself if I did.
From the start of my fourth lap it felt like I'd found a second wind and was full of energy once more. It felt like I could have gone faster than I was going; but didn't want to push my luck. Something could have gone wrong at any moment (epsecially considering my stomach had felt off before the race). When I saw there was only half a mile to go the temptation to speed up was getting stronger; but for the most part I kept it in check. It may not have been the tempo training run I thought it was going to be - there was a small chance I might just get a PB.
When the filter for the finish came into sight I started to speed up, and then (sort of) sprinted for the last little bit to cross the finish line in 38:37 in position 4 of 290. This was a new PB by 27 seconds, and my second PB in four days. I couldn't have been happier! Having just had my birthday in between it was like the best birthday present I could have asked for. It also means I've had PBs at three of the four RunThrough events I've run. I think I like their races. I did feel sorry for their marshals standing out in the rain; but they stayed their supporting the runners until the very end. Much appreciated.
At the finish I got a finishers medal, a bottle of water, a porridge oats flapjack, and a banana. My race number felt a bit soggy; but it'd survived!
Coming up next, I have two 10Ks in June: a trail and a road one, and then Endure 24. It feels that having PB'd at three of the four distances in the last couple of months has taken the pressure off and I can take it easy at those ones - they could be good for training. Two of them at least should be very good fun with friends.