Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thame 10K 2019 - Run Report

CPM Thame 10K - Sunday 30th June 2019

Photo by Barry Cornelius

There are so many things I wanted to say about this race, so I'm glad I have the option to put them into a blog post and not try to cram it all into an instagram caption!

I ran this race last year as part of my club's Grand Prix series and I enjoyed it so much I entered again pretty much as soon as entries opened.

Way back when I entered, I was planning for it to be my first proper shot at a fast 10km following the Brighton Marathon. But that pesky glute injury has set me back quite a way with my running post-Brighton and a few weeks ago it became clear to me that racing or aiming for a PB were not going to be options here.

In fact, since I've been able to get running again without pain, my "training" has a been a bit all over the place - not really committing to building up endurance or speed, just flitting between the two while I try to fall back into some sort of routine. The 10k distance falls somewhere in the middle of these - too far to be able to just run hard and hope!

Last year's race. Photo by Barry Cornelius

In the days leading up to it I was questioning whether I'd actually be able to run it non-stop. Even "easy" parkruns had me feeling tired after 5km, and steady long runs had also seen me stopping at around the 4 mile mark. (Interestingly the 4 mile mark was a problem for all the time until I started marathon training - need to not get into that mindset again!) But I had faith that being surrounded by other people and the general race atmosphere would be enough to keep me going.

I love racing in Oxfordshire - it's where I really got into racing regularly and so I recognise so many clubs and runners which makes it feel really familiar. It was also really lovely to see a few Cherwell Runners - they're my second claim club nowadays but I still feel part of the team.

The race got underway at 9:30 and luckily it was much cooler than the 35 degree heatwave of the day before. I'd placed myself in the 45-50 minute estimated finish area which meant I wasn't tempted to go sprinting off on the downhill start - which is exactly what I did last year and paid for it later on! I'd decided to run this as a tempo run rather than race it, so I was trying to keep it "comfortably hard", focus on trying to keep my breathing relaxed and aiming for a steady pace. I had some other runners around me to help me keep pace without concentrating too much for the first 5km, but after the halfway point I started to tire a little bit and couldn't quite stay at 7:30/mi pace any longer.

I remembered one of the reasons I'd enjoyed this race the year before was the local support - not huge crowds by any stretch of the imagination, but clusters of friendly people encouraging us on, which always help me to enjoy a race. And running is so much easier when you can smile and enjoy it!

After halfway I was starting to have a bit of mental battle with the race - one half of me was wanting to slow right down, but the other half of me still felt strong. My legs weren't too tired, they were still responding when I upped the pace. My breathing didn't feel hard and my heart wasn't hammering along. It can be really difficult when you're running and feeling like you have to overcome thoughts of stopping or slowing down, but in this instance I actually felt like I was stronger than these thoughts and managed to push on.

The last mile came up surprisingly soon - maybe I'd overestimated how far 10km would feel?! The last kilometre is uphill which does feel tough at the end, but the finish line did eventually come into view. Honestly, for a split second I was a tiny bit disappointed to have been slower than when I ran it last year but that feeling didn't last. I could definitely have run faster today if I'd wanted to. I very deliberately kept it steady. And when I got home and checked the stats, I actually ran a much more even race than when I ran it about 1min30 faster. Today was training, learning to run consistently, and knowing when to keep a little bit back.

Maybe I'll enter this again next year and run it even slower... (although I really hope not!)

Poorly timed, but exited to be nearly at the finish! Photo by Barry Cornelius

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