Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2017 Vitality London 10,000

Anyone else love to look back and remind themselves of the progress they've made? Although I started this blog mainly to share my training for my first marathon, I thought it would be interesting to also look back every now and again. 

I originally wrote this post on an old blog of mine that I deactivated but decided it was worth sharing again here. So here goes... throwing it back to my first 10K race:

The Vitality London 10,000 2017

London 10000 Run

 The spring bank holiday. A perfect excuse to spend a long weekend lazing around and catching up on some much-needed rest, right?!

Nope. Two months prior to it, I decided it would be a good idea to spend it running 10 kilometres around London instead. Don't tell me I don't know how to live.

Determined to set myself some sort of goal to work towards, and to get back into running properly for the first time since last year's Bath Half Marathon, I entered the Vitality London 10,000. So come 10am on Bank Holiday Monday, I was taking my place on the Mall and stretching up on tiptoe trying to get a glimpse of the start line!

Despite busy days at work, plenty of long on-calls and a couple of weekend shifts, I made a pretty decent effort at sticking to my training plan. Some days it was a relief to pull on my trainers, put the hospital behind me and get out on the pavements or the treadmill. But there were also times when I was just too tired to run, no matter how much I wanted to. Combining the running with a busy job that sees me spending most of the day on my feet has taught me loads about doing what feels best for my body - and on more than one occasion that meant resting, or cutting my run short.

It's a great time of year for a race though. All those extra hours of daylight in the mornings and evening make it feel like there's lots more time for running. Plus there have been some beautiful views on my riverside route when the sunlight sparkles on the water.

Race day itself was rather a warm one, yet deceptively grey and cloudy. I was pleased with my decision to run in shorts rather than leggings - and grateful for the water stations and roadside shower, spraying runners with cool water just after halfway. 

The Mall London 10000

The Mall

Standing down on the start line, the atmosphere was brilliant. I've never really been one for nerves before any kind of sporting event, but I was full of excitement and adrenaline waiting for the starting buzzer to go! 

I got off to a good start, feeling nice and comfortable at the same pace as the runners around me for the first few kilometres. With the music, the crowds and the runners around me I find it much easier to just get comfortable running and not really notice my pace - normally I'm glancing at my phone every few minutes to check how fast I'm going and how much I've still go to do!

It was particularly nice to spot my parents at the roadside shortly before half way - always good to have some supporters to keep me going. 

Around 5km though it started to get a bit tougher. The streets were pretty quiet, the air was humid and I really questioned why on earth I'd ever thought this might be a good idea. At this point I simply had to remind myself that I'd put hours of training in, had a load of sponsorship on this and that it was less than half way to go - all I had to do was keep going. 

And keep going I did. Finally seeing the 8km and then 9km marker was such a relief - and a little extra spurt of enthusiasm came from the guy who reached the 9km and shouted something like "last kilometre guys, let's smash it!"

I've walked down Birdcage Walk many a time, but it was great to run down it and know that just around the corner I'd be able to see the finish line. Despite the struggle between 8 and 9km, somehow I found the energy (and fortunately the space!) to sprint the last 100m or so and cross the finish line feeling a great sense of achievement. In fact, I almost forgot to look up to my left and see Buckingham Palace - I'd been too focused on the bright pink finishing gantry!

Finishing 10km

I'd been aiming for about 55 minutes to complete the race - with previous 5km runs taking me about 30 minutes it felt like a good target to go for. So I was delighted with 53 minutes and 2 seconds! Although I've already got it in my head that I'd like to do another 10km and shave a little more time off next time...

Running Kit

Since then:

Since I originally wrote this post I've gone on to run a further four 10km races. And I guess you could say I've shaved "a little more time" off with my PB at 44:00 as of 19th August 2018.

It was interesting to see myself say that I often cut my training runs short during the build-up to this race! These days I tend to be a lot more motivated to push on with my training and I've learned the difference between just being a bit tired and lazy, and when I genuinely need to stop and rest. "The struggle" between 8 and 9km here was purely mental if I remember rightly. With experience, I've got much better at recognising this and knowing how to dig deep and keep going.

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