Archives for 10k category

KSwiss City of Salford 10k – A Mystifyingly slow 56:17

Posted on Sep 15, 2012 under 10k, Races | No Comment

A delayed report for this race, as I couldn’t really bring myself to write about it for a while. No drama, no great disaster, just a mystifying end to a season where I started running with a club for the first time, put in a lot of running, ran more consistent 20 miles ish a week mileage than ever before, and ended up running the same, if not slower, than at the start of the season!

Got up early, headed to the bus, then got the Met, and wondered, as the tram meandered through Salford Quays, whether I would be there in time to use the loo and get warmed up! Ended up jogging to the loos, did what I needed to do, and jogged back to the start line. My ankle had been a bit tender, but was Ok as soon as I started running. Also felt on twinge in my calf, but that was it.

Set off and it was the usual crowded start of a bigger race, had the Garmin pace alert etc off, and didn’t really look at it, just relaxed into running, and decided every time I felt good, to push harder, and just keep running to how I felt at a solid pace. Felt OK at 3k and went a bit quicker, when we hit the hill near Old Trafford I sprinted up it, and kept the pace going. It was pretty hot, but I’ve run season’s best times when it’s hot! The water station was welcome, and I tried to run and drink but it was hard, so I stopped briefly to chug some water.

On the long run out, before the roundabout, I was starting to feel it a bit, and paused to take a drink, when I heard one of the Sweat shop running community ladies shout out “go sweatshop” and promptly started running again. I was suffering a little, but knew I could keep going and Jenny’s encouragements would really help me in the latter stages.

I had no idea what pace I was running, but started overtaking people in the last few k. I was melting and gasping but still kept pushing. As we got to the bit where you see the finish line, only to have to turn and run about another km, Tony Hillier the coach at sweatshop yelled my name and I started to pick up speed, then fade, then pick up speed, then fade. I thought I might be in with a decent shout of a good time with all the running I’d done with the club and my increased mileage, and in the last 200 metres powered to a sprint finish despite feeling half dead. I crossed the line feeling quite ill and was sick, first time that’s ever happened, my body was really not happy with me!

I checked my stopped Garmin and swore under my breath at a time of 56:17 – a minute slower than the City of Manchester 10k, after a lot of training and hard work. It all suddenly seemed a bit of a swizz, and certainly not worth running to the point of being sick over. I gradually calmed down and got a drink, and then went off for my goody bag, feeling a bit bemused.

I caught up with the sweatshop runners and we hung around for an hour for Tony to get his prize, there was some kind of cockup with the timings, and most people had gone before the winners were announced. Tony was winner of the V65 I think, but they said they would post out the prizes so we had waited around for no real purpose! Jenny was kind enough to give me a lift home, and I felt pretty shattered for the rest of the day.

Looks like it’s back to the drawing board if I ever want to run close to 50 minutes for 10k again. I’ve suggested this might be my age, with some saying that’s nonsense, but I don’t know – for 2 years I was getting close to 50 minutes quite easily and often but for the last 2 that’s pretty much gone and even going sub 55 is becoming a challenge.

Watch this space!

Hill Reps with the Hyde Sweatshop Running Community Torturemaster General!

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 under 10k, Club Runs, Hill Work | No Comment

Another Monday night with the Hyde Sweatshop Running Community, next run I will have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, ha ha!!!!

I knew it was going to be hill reps tonight, was slightly in two minds about I felt about this, given the oddly warm July weather for the last couple of days. Anyway, I arrived and saw some familiar faces, and then we set off for a warmup jog, I kept my pace nice and sedate, and had my Garmin going, but forgot that I had the fast pace alert set, so it started annoyingly bleeping at me, I tried to fiddle with it on the move but it kept flashing lap times at me so I elected to just switch the damn thing off!

Then we arrived at The Hill, and did the first reps with a sort of relay, I didn’t find the hill too bad and just took it easy on the recoveries. Then we started the hard work, doing walk then sprint between lamposts for 5 minutes, followed by jog then sprint (I think) and then we had to run to the first post, then back down, then the second, and so on! And then finally we had to kind of run as fast as we could to the top. Overseeing this ordeal was Tony H, who offered gentle encouragement and the odd admonishment to those who took the hills too fast early on!

I say it was torture/an ordeal with tongue firmly in cheek as I really enjoyed it, there have been plenty of runs where I’ve struggled and sworn and got frustrated in the past, but I felt at home on this hill and felt good and strong, though breathing hard of course! A picture was taken with a genuine grin on my face which was a nice thing because I had not really had the best day before the run!

Sweatshop running community hyde hill reps july 23rd 2012

Demented, Delirious victims released from their torment!!!

We went a longer way back to the shop and I once again experienced the other runners stretching ahead in front of me before I found my 5th gear again and cruised to the front with some of the more experienced runners. It started getting tougher in the last mile or so but I stayed with the pace and felt I could have gone on for a while yet.

So all in all a great outing, felt strong on the hill reps and was able to maintain form afterwards. It will be interesting to see how these harder sessions with other runners affect my pace, as I it would be good to get closer to 50 minutes for 10k again, on this evidence it may just be a possibility, who knows!

Next time I run I should get my 5-week bonus prize of a Sweatshop Running Community Technical top, like the yellow ones in the picture – I will no longer feel like the new boy, lol!!!!

We Love Manchester 10k 2012 – 55:14

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 under 10k, Races, Season's Best | No Comment

After Wednesday’s adventures, where I ran 10k at race pace by mistake and got lost in the woods, I had been resting and had no idea really how my body would respond. I managed to get up, and get out on to the bus towards Ashton, where I would catch the 216 into east Manchester. As I got off the bus to make my connection, a young man asked if I was carrying the Olympic torch and what the route was. Turns out my bus route was the torch route, but thankfully the timings meant I missed all the fuss.

Got to Eastlands and my first task was to find a loo. Conveniently, a set of Tardis-like portaloo conveniences were scattered about the place, so I entered one of these and emerged some years later… Although the thing flushed, the wash water had run out, so I nipped into another one on the way, as I was in plenty of time. I had hoped to bump into Neil and Dawn or one of the runners off the forum, but it was like spotting a needle in a haystack so just went and lined up pretty near the back of the amassed mass of humanity about to start the race. It was pretty damn cold and some drops of rain started to fall just before we got underway, but it mostly held off.

The horn or gun must have gone off as we started to move forward. My plan was to start right near the back and just work my way forwards, rather than experience the burn of faster runners and then end up getting overtaken later! I set off at a very gentle pace, though was going past quite a few people already; I mentally checked out my ankles and feet, which had been a bit stiff and achey since Wednesday, but didn’t experience any problems, and coasted through to the 1k marker with no problem and with a big smile on my face. Had to laugh at one of the spiderman lads early on who said “not long to go now!” Although I had the Garmin with me I turned the display to time of day and barely looked at it, planning to just run how I felt and enjoy myself (if the discomfort of running a race can be described as enjoyment, it seems to be for me!). As we turned onto Alan Turing way I felt myself accelerate and took advantage of the slope, getting into a nice rhythm, and started to reel people in bit by bit. A few went past me early on, but not that many, and was to be expected in a field of this size, where faster runners might be a bit late and start at the back.

I felt I was going pretty quickly, and was feeling it at 4k so just eased off a little, knowing the minor hills at the end can be a problem if not accounted for! Just after this I saw a bloke dressed in a sort of bear costume and took a moment to pat him on the back and say I liked his costume, which he appreciated. And then it was into the serious stuff, and the second lap, I got some water at the water station and seemed to lose my way a little bit, but took on water, regrouped, and then knuckled down for the last 3k. Although I was breathing really hard and struggling ever so slightly, I was still passing people which was a good sign, on the second trip down Alan Turing way I had a brief chat with a bloke who said he wanted to beat his age, who told me to go ahead but then sped in front, not long after we hit the uphill and I powered up this and left him behind, also taking over a few people. I was hurting now, but was just in the zone knowing the finish line was close. I took the next hill and then we were almost in the stadium. The crowd noise as I entered really gave me a lift and I kind of bounced along the athletics track and put on a real burst of speed, burning away some people in front of me, then promptly almost dying, and a few got their revenge until I got another burst of something and did a final sprint for the line. Garmin ticked over in 55:17 but for once the chip time was a few seconds quicker at 55:14 – not bad considering my exploits midweek, and thankfully my legs felt fine, no sign of any niggles or problems!

I looked around to see if Neil was around, and got a bit confused about where the goody bags were as there were no people around and I had to ask someone, then a 15 minute queue to get inside the indoor bit ensued, they must have set it up inside expecting the worst rain, but thankfully that held off.

One I got my goody bag, thankfully with some water in it, I headed back out and applauded a lot of the later runners into the stadium, before heading to the finish line to watch the presentations. It was there I spotted the chap from the Sweat Shop run, Tony, and indeed he won the 1st prize in the VM60 category. My friend Neil’s name was called out but he didn’t appear, so he must have run it but had to dash.. Pity as he won 2nd in the VM50!

I then stuck around for the little toddlers race which was fun, and then headed off, bumping into another chap from the running club as I paused to admire a presentation display of Usain Bolt’s run in Manchester a few years ago.

All in all a great day, my goal now is to see how close I can get to 50 minutes, it amazes me I was running around 51 minutes pretty regularly a few years ago, seems I need to work harder as I get older, but I hope another sub 50 will happen one of these days!

Looking at my splits I was around 5:30 or thereabouts most of the race, though one km there was a lull, 5:58, while the last one I managed to do in 5:11 but that was pure endorphins and adrenaline by the end!

My First Club Run With Sweat Shop Hyde Running Club – Bit Embarrassing! Approx 10k in 1 hr 15 mins

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 under 10k, Club Runs, Milestones, Trail Running | 2 Comments

For some reason, aware that my local SweatShop in Hyde has a running group, I decided to give it a try. Perhaps it was the fact I have just finished my course. The weather was nice and I had been discussing the summer solstice with a friend, I thought it would be nice to get out an celebrate this part of the year with a nice evening run with some other runners. I checked the website and it said their intermediate/experienced group was for sub 10 minute milers. At my current pace that didn’t give me any cause for concern as I’ve been managing 9 minute miles on my 5 mile runs, and I figured I could run with the slower runners at the back and have a nice easy run in preparation for Sunday’s race and meet some new people as a bonus. I rang the shop and they said they were running 5 or 6 miles so I said I would be along.

I set off for the shop and enjoyed the cool breeze that was about, although it was quite hot in the sun. Got to the shop and saw some people there in running kit, the chap behind the counter saw I was new and sorted me with a membership card. It appears the SweatShop Running club, at least at this shop, is not only free, but you kind of get running air miles, and win prizes along the way, including a Garmin or pair of running shoes… Anyway, I endured the ordeal of a newbie as loads of people who all seemed to know each other turned up, and made some conversations along the lines of what sort of pace the group would be running at. My idea was to just have a nice easy run at the back of the group with the slower runners. One lady said her PB for 10k was about 51 minutes, so with mine being 49 I figured I should be ok. A few people said they were doing the City of Manchester 10k on Sunday, so it was nice to know. As we set off a couple of these people advised me to just take it easy, they would be too, saving themselves for Sunday. That was certainly my intention!

We set off and made some light conversation until I found myself in a pocket alone for a bit, realising too late I had forgotten to start the Garmin, but started it anyway just to get an idea of the distance and time. The pace didn’t seem too demanding as we headed down to the canal, and I felt quite comfortable, there was a pack in front of me and one behind, and I settled in, looking forward to the run.

Not long after this the pack behind me came past me, and as we crossed a bridge I looked back to see I was at the back by now. The chap from behind the counter (one day I will know the names!) told me not to worry as someone would always stay with me. By now I was already feeling mildly anxious about what I had let myself in for! Then I recognised where I was as we headed up some stairs cut into the side of the Tame valley, suddenly Sunday’s long run was being replicated! The stairs were quite painful and I seemed to be matching some of the back runners, but then they pulled away again.

It seemed a friendly group, and they kept waiting at certain points for everyone to come together again. At one point the leaders went the wrong way, and the counter chap made us all turn around to go back to the planned route. At that point I had thought we might be heading back already! The real torture began when we ran to within 100 yards of my house along St Lawrence Road. When we turned left I joked that my house was to the right, and was sorely tempted to go home at that point, but thought it would be worth sticking with it.

I didn’t however bargain on the remainder of the route being all the way down Stockport Road and all the way through Denton Woods, again replicating my long run on Sunday. Checking the Garmin a few times along the way I realised I had been running 5:30 or quicker per k in places which was total madness, and by the time we got to the woods I was struggling to keep going never mind try to keep the back of the larger group in sight. I had a real sense of cognitive dissonace as my running spirit was telling me to push and work hard, while my commonsense was yelling at me that I had just done my longest run of the season 2 days before and I had a 10k race in 3 days, and this sort of hard slog was the last thing my body needed – I think my body itself had also come to that conclusion!

A very kind lady stayed back with me and could tell I was struggling, she suggested we take a short cut and at that point we lost the rest of the group as there was some confusion about the rendezvous point. We spent about 5 or 10 minutes waiting for the group when they had already gone past we later found. I plodded to a somewhat painful finish, finding the hills towards the end a struggle, and starting to feel sharp pains in my feet. I really appreciated the way they made sure someone stayed back with the slower runners. Erm, I mean runner – Me!

Pretty much the first time I have come so far behind in anything and I felt rather embarrased and annoyed that I had held the other runners up. Was a very humbling experience as I’ve been feeling nice and confident about my running lately and this made me feel, to put it bluntly, slow and crap! The chap behind the counter said they have another group on Mondays that takes it easier, so maybe I will try that, though I can’t help but feel if I had gone with fresh legs expecting a pacy run, I would have been OK. That thought about the race at the back of my mind wasn’t helpful and I hadn’t really recovered from my long run fully, so I was bound to run out of steam.

I did enjoy the company of the group (before it vanished ahead of me) and it’s nice to know the group is there, but next time I will make sure it coincides with my plans for a hard run, or if I want an easy run, join the beginners 5k that starts about an hour earlier!

If any of you read this many thanks and hope to see you again, but maybe not the back of you disappearing into the distance, ha ha!!!!! 😀

BUPA Great Manchester Run 2012 – 56:45

Posted on May 20, 2012 under 10k, Races | No Comment

After my struggles in races and injury woes last season, and my more recent calf injury scare, the Great Manchester Run 2012 was a comeback and a challenge. My main plan was just to enjoy the atmosphere, run how I felt, and hopefully get a time of around 55 or under. But most of all enjoy the day.

Had not gained any recent experience of running earlier in the day, so wondered how my body would react. Just getting up was a trial in itself and it wasn’t until the second cup of coffee that my brain actually acknowledged that I had got out of bed 🙂 My plan had been to go in the blue wave if I was running late, but as it happened all was well and I was up in plenty of time to start with the white wave!

On the way into central Manchester another runner sat next to me and we had a chat about training and how hard it was to get sponsors these days, and then he went off to meet his chums and I went to hang out in Manchester Piccadilly station to keep warm and use the loo. The queues were not so bad this year, and I only went once (sometimes I go about 5 times to make sure!) I walked down to the assembly area, wondering whether to pay a final visit in a portaloo, but there were long queues and I felt fine. Until the white wave started to move forward ready to start! At that point he bladder gods decided that they wanted me to make another sacrifice… I resisted the urge, thinking it was probably adrenaline, and that it would go off once I started running. But that 10 minutes or so before I got through to the starting funnel played a few mental tricks on me, and I had visions of having to stop mid race to use the portaloos!!!!

I had the Garmin on, but only showing the time of day and distance. I heard it beep before the first kilometre marker so I was glad I had decided not to pay too much attention to it! The only time I did glance at it the display said 6.66km and it’s surprising how often the number of the beast presents itself to me in random ways like that, eek!

I didn’t feel that I was going particularly fast or slow, but at 4k I was starting to get pretty hot and was breathing hard and wondered if I’d gone off too fast, but I managed to keep going at that pace. I was finding the cheering stations, the music, and the crowds really inspiring, and was enjoying running with others for the first time in ages, and soaking up the atmosphere. By 5k I was feeling pretty relaxed and knew I had enough to reach the end so decided to really get into the spirit of things and made a beeline for the sidelines where I started giving high fives to kids who were holding out their hands, and then I started encouraging adults to give me high fives as well and most good naturedly went along with this! When we hit a sort of techno band/DJ at about 6km I started doing a techno run dance, waving my arms in the air and bobbing my head about. I ran through the shower to cool down, and screamed mock-shocked at the chill! More high fives with kids and grownups, and then on the long stretch to the finish line. With 3k to go I was feeling pretty good, so increased the pace bit by bit, although the race nearly ended in disaster when I turned my head to shout encouragement to a colourful parrot going along the other side of the road, at the same time as someone on front of me decided to stop running so I had to kind of bounce off this chap…

All seemed OK though, and there were more high fives, and then I got my head down as I could see the Beetham Tower getting closer as the finish loomed. I gave the crowds at both sides long thumbs up as a way of thanking them for their support and cheers, and then headed to the finish with a big grin on my face. It probably looked more like a grimace, but I was smiling inside and out because I had really enjoyed the whole thing.

My chip time was 56:45, though on the Garmin I went through 10k in 55:40 so my pace estimate was about right, and what’s an extra minute or 200m anyway?!

I saw something on an advertisement, which said something like “I am made of every stranger who cheered me on today” and that kind of sums up my feelings about the whole thing, and fits into my philosophical views too. Sometimes, all too briefly, we join together and do something good together, and that’s what today was about for me.

And a big thankyou to all those – both friends and strangers – who kindly sponsored me, I think I ended up raising more than last year in the end 😀

A Sunny Evening 10k in 1:03:09

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 under 10k, 5-10k, Long Runs, Season's Best | No Comment

Handed an assignment in today, so needed to celebrate, and what better way than an evening run in the sun! Was aware that I have a busy couple of days Fri and Sat so won’t be able to run, so wanted to make this one count.

My target was 10k, at a leisurely pace, so set off not quite sure of a route, and ran down a street I’d not been to the end of before, only to find it coming out at the big hill I ran down the other day, so some impromptu hills followed, along with a little trail stretch past Broomstairs nursery and then another uphill. Began to feel quite in the zone at 6k and despite slowing down posted a sub 6 minute km, and had to keep slowing myself more, because the idea was not to go at breakneck speed and possibly injure myself, but just to get around 6.2 miles!

Legs and bum felt a bit numb at one point, but kept going, my strides deliberately short and heel striking, rather than trying to stretch the legs and run on my toes, at this stage was generating quite enough pace. Had to stop a few times for traffic, but didn’t really mind, and at one point a fierce looking dog came up to me in my path, so I stopped and stroked it and it licked my leg, and it’s owner said “you keep on running” so I did. Felt just fine, running very comfortably, and could have upped the pace but felt no need to at this stage.

Last bit was uphill, and coasted to a stop on just over 1 hour 3 minutes, which is a season’s best by 3 minutes and an achievement in itself as I haven’t got to 10k many times since last summer, in fact the only time I’ve run 10k that fast in months and months was the Salford 10k 2011 and I really struggled with that one!

It seems to be clicking and ironically the rest I had with the calf injury probably did me a world of good! I am learning to run within myself, as I could easily have pushed to try to run under an hour, but at the moment the minutes are falling off my times without hardly trying, I am feeling good when running, and hopefully I can save the big performances for races!

A Freezing 10k – 1:06:40

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 under 10k, 5-10k, All Weather Running, Long Runs, Milestones | No Comment

Decided it would be a good idea to try getting up to 10k, and it seemed a fitting way to mark my early bird entry to the City of Manchester/We Love Manchester 10k later in the summmer.

Left the house and it was pretty cold and a bit misty with a threat of rain in the air. Set off down the road walking to warm up while I got a Garmin signal – and walked, and walked, and walked, by the time I had walked about 600m I was getting a bit frustrated as time was starting to slip by. Eventually it got a signal and I set off, aware I was going a bit too quick and also aware of a bit of pain in my feet and lower legs, which seemed to be down to the freezing concrete.

Planned a long looping route that takes in a lot of roads, and not a lot else, but there are a few big inclines over motorway bridges and the like. At 2.5k felt ok, but a bit puffy, and had to keep slowing myself down, reminding myself that the only aim was to reach 10k, not run it in any particular time. Was going OK but when I got to one of the big inclines I wilted a bit and stopped to get my breath, before ploughing on, and would have to stop a couple of times more just to collect my breath. I saw the canal was totally frozen over at one point so it was maybe colder than I thought.

I did start to struggle in the latter stages – after all, I had only just done a fastest of season 5 miler a few days ago and have not run more than 5 miles for a few months. But I kept going, and by the time the Garmin got to 9.7k I was ready for falling over, but somehow staggered the last few hundred metres to post a respectable (at this stage) 1 hour 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

I have the distance, the idea now is to steadily bring the 10k time down with a view to running a good time in the Great Manchester Run, and of course I now have another bite of the cherry later in the year in the We Love Manchester 10k. I may even enter some more races at this rate!

City of Salford 10k – a strange 57:39!

Posted on Sep 04, 2011 under 10k, Races | 1 Comment

With the last 2 runs not being quite what I expected, I tried to lay their ghosts to rest and start with a clean slate. Was up early, having not really slept much. Last race I took some Nytol the night before to ensure sleep, but wondered if it had interfered with performance, so this time settled for a restless 6 hours with the saturday night wailers penetrating the ear plugs at times… Had breakfast of porridge then went to get the bus, then hopped on the Metrolink to Harbour City in Salford Quays, seeing some of the Manchester Frontrunners on the tram and a couple of others too, so I knew I was heading in the right direction (last time I got a taxi but the tram is rather cheaper at £2.20!)

My friend Chris had texted me that she was there already, so looked out for her but couldn’t see her, headed to the loos in the Lowry Outlet Mall, and when I came out saw Neil and Dawn in the distance so was nice to catch up with them a little. Wasn’t long to go at that point, so we went and lined up, and there was a bit of a delay as a big boat had gone through one of the adjustable bridges, and as we were running over it we had to wait for it to be lowered again!

So we set off and I kept to a sedate pace at first, running how I felt and feeling OK, wondering if this would be the race where the training actually paid off. Was quite cool and cloudy which was a help. Anyway, we went through MediaCityUk and out into the industrial part of Salford Quays approaching Trafford. My Garmin bleeped and I couldn’t resist a peak at the KM time – it read 4:40 for the 2nd km, so far so good I thought, I felt I wasn’t going hard and could maintain that pace. However, a good while after that the official 2k marker came up and it wasn’t long before I realised that the Garmin had gone a bit crazy and was short counting for some reason (when I looked back, they were all out after that one, including one that I did in 3:30 – yeah right!). So good job I wasn’t really relying on it!

At about 4k the great Ron Hill overtook me and as I know Ron runs about 50-52 pace these days, and he went past me quite quickly, I got a bit dispirited, but resolved to keep keeping on. Got past the 5k mark and someone shouted out 28 something, it was some way past the 5k mark but I kind of thought that was pretty slow considering my perceived effort at that point. Got a bottle of water at the drinks station and then really started to struggle as I saw the runners coming back the other way. Stopped and walked a few times to take a drink. Made it down the long stretch to 7k then turned around the little roundabout, and kind of jog-shuffle-walked for the next 2k.

Got to the last bridge and could see the end in sight but had no pace left at all, just forced myself to keep going up over the bridge, knowing this course has a cruel little trick whereby you run straight at the finish line, then turn and there’s actually another km to go in a loop before you actually get to it, along a tree line boulevard. Saw Neil as I turned the corner and he shouted some encouragement. I sped up past a veteran lady, and then realised I could only hold that gear for about 20 seconds and there was a long way to go, so I slowed and she caught me again, and we duelled a little until the last stretch, when I was able to put on a finishing burst that was pretty fast and powerful, and won the duel, but had my heart hammering and I felt sick for a few minutes on finishing. Was nice to have my name read out as I crossed the line. Was so off the pace I didn’t even bother to stop the haywire Garmin (which was probably caused by a lot of winding in between tall buildings early on) but the official time eventually came out as 57:39. Which wasn’t awful, but 4 minutes slower than last time I did this race, and well off the pace of the City of Manchester 10k. Wasn’t really an improvement on last week’s race, as am sure I would have been over an hour if there had been a few hills! But it was flat as a pancake really!

Had a chat with Neil then went to get my goody bag, and then saw Chris lining up for hers so Neil went off to find Dawn who was doing some shopping, and I caught up with Chris while we had a coffee. Caught a few of the presentations and then it was time to go home and I went off feeling rather tired and deflated, without a good time to finish my 10k season, but at least no nasty injury!

I know have to figure out what went wrong over the last month. Possibly my half marathon training run took more out of me than I thought, although I did rest very sensibly afterwards, and I tapered somewhat down tot he final 2 10ks of the season, to no avail. I’m also aware that I’ve not done many all out 5k time trials this season (in fact none!) and this may have taken off some of my edge and mental toughness – I do wonder if it was partly to try to protect myself from another injury that I’ve unconsciously been trying to take it easier than I have in the past!

Oh well! Time will tell. Will now get in some base miles and enjoy it a little bit (after a rest of course) and maybe start doing some 1 mile and 5k time trials once recovered, to see if I improve over the next few months! And then maybe enter the Stockport 10 mile and possibly even the Wilmslow half next year…

East Manchester 10k – A 1hr plus personal worst!

Posted on Aug 28, 2011 under 10k, 5-10k, Races | 1 Comment

Given my training this year, with long runs, and a sub 54 in my last race, and feeling good in the week, I had some hopes of a reasonable time in this race, possibly sub 52. But it was really not meant to be!

It was quite a chilly morning, I had to stand in the sunlight at the bus stop just to stop shivering, and was glad to get on the warm bus! Got to the venue in plenty of time and did the usual stuff of milling around and finding the toilets, before doing a gentle jogging warmup and joining in with the mass warmup a little bit.

They lined us up in 3 waves, fast at the front, medium, and walkers etc – though I wasn’t really sure what fast or medium meant so just put myself a few rows back. We had a countdown, then the horn didn’t go off, then it did, and off we all went! I started the Garmin but just had it set to show the time, and set off running how I felt, trying not to go too fast early on.

There was a bit of an incline then a descent, where I gathered speed, and then another descent. Then, as I thought, the payoff was some hills going the other way. I took these slowly, determined to conserve a bit of energy for the second half of the race, and tried to go back to a more normal pace when coming off the top of them.

At around 3k I tucked in behind another runner, and had a mini race with her, sharing the work, and it felt like we were doing a pretty decent pace, I was starting to breathe hard, but kept going, then we came to some more hills. When we got to 5k I glanced at the Garmin and to my chagrin in was showing 10.30 as the time. The race had started bang on 10, so it looked like my pace was actually horrendously slow… A little further on there was water station, I stopped to get a quick drink, at which point my companion seemed to speed off into the distance, I could see her for a while after that, and set myself a challenge of trying to catch her again, but it wasn’t happening. At about 7k there was a squall of torrential rain, which I would normally relish, but just found it irritating as it washed suncream into my eyes. By that point I had given up on the race, really, and decided to just use it as preparation for next weekend’s season finale – there was no point trying to push the pace and risk an injury. My Garmin felt much the same as when I glanced at the time for a prediction of just how bad my time would be, I saw that it had died in protest!! I got overtaken by people who had been a long way behind me, tried to stay with them, but couldn’t. By 9k I just wanted to see the finish line and stop, I walked a bit, a lady from the Steel City Striders gave me some encouragement, which helped me to actually run the last half km of the race.

As I approached the finish arch I saw the clock, I was surprised in fact that it was only just over the hour, as in my head I had got the time to 1hr 15 minutes!!! I smiled to myself as the PA man said “Stop being so casual about it number 46” as I guess I had just gone into a nonchalant jogging mode and to be honest had nothing left!

Felt really shattered after getting my t-shirt, and after cheering in some more runners, went and got a coffee in the cafe tent and sat mulling things over. I really had felt I was doing a half decent pace, and have run close to 50 minutes on courses with worse hills, and even my most unpleasant race ever which included the Vernon park mega hill 3 times on a monstrously humid evening, had not resulted in a time over one hour (in fact 55 mins I think). So I have no idea what happened apart from the fact it was just an off day. My last race was sub 54 in blistering heat, and I have done quite a bit of training since then, so didn’t really expect to run my SLOWEST EVER 10k race!

At this stage there is not much to be done before the City of Salford 10k next weekend, but once that’s done maybe I need to look at the drawing board again. I have complained of feeling slower in my intervals this year compared to last, maybe I am just getting slower. One thing I have not done this year is much in the way of 5k time trials, or tempo runs, so maybe that has been my achilles’ heel, or maybe I just had a bad day.

Will see how Salford goes. At least it will be very much flatter! 😀

City of Manchester 10k 2011 – A very hot 53:48!

Posted on Jul 03, 2011 under 10k, Milestones, Races, Season's Best | 3 Comments

My third race of the season (and my third outing to the City of Manchester 10k) began with a largely sleepless night, went to bed quite late and couldn’t seem to get off, then woke early. Fortunately this meant I got up in plenty of time to have coffee and breakfast! Was looking forward to seeing Neil and Dawn at the race, and also Chris.

It looked like it was going to be a scorcher. I chose to wear my Nike running singlet, and spent a bit of time liberally applying factor 50 to all the exposed flesh which included pretty much all of my head and face! Got the bus up the road then towards east Manchester, and had fun walking past the building where I used to work. Arrived at Sportcity and spotted some toilets, so joined a line, finding the athleticism it took for some to hold a faulty door shut while using said toilet to be somewhat admirable… I chose to use the one without the broken lock 🙂

I headed into the indoor track where I have seen Neil and Dawn before, but no luck, and tried to spot Neil at the front but no luck either. Positioned myself relatively near the front and we waited while they allowed the ladies’ loo queue to diminish so they could join the field. The sun was already starting to feel hot as the Lord Mayor of Manchester got us underway, and I set off at a gentle pace as we wound around the track. I had the Garmin set to just show the distance and the time of day. As usual at this race, the Garmin clicked over 1km long before the official marker, I accidently saw the lap time which was 5:01 – so a little quick, but I decided to ignore the bleeps after that.

Even 2k in it started to become clear just how hot it was going to be, I could see people tearing off in front of me, felt they were going far too quickly, but just ran my own race and resisted the temptation to speed up early on, as I knew by the end I would be suffering hugely if I ran the first half of the race too quickly in the sun. At 4k I was starting to get really puffy, but just held my pace, and at 5k a chap asked me what time we were roughly on, but I couldn’t tell him, I also asked him if he knew if there was a drinks station as my mouth had started to get dry, he didn’t know, and said he needed to catch up to his friend, and off he went.

At some point, maybe after 6km, there was a sign or someone said water ahead. Eventually we got to the water, and I took a bottle, which was a plastic bottle with its top off. I stopped to take a drink, and poured a little over me which gave me a shiver, and then ran with the bottle for a bit, stopping every now and then to drink until it was finished. By that point there was just over 7k to go, so I knew I could complete the race and the heat hadn’t devastated me, though it certainly felt tough running out there.

city of manchester 10k 2011 pictures road runner rob

I ran in the shade of some trees for a short while and the Garmin went a little crazy and didn’t move, in fact by this point it had been behind the KM markers anyway. I didn’t really care, just needed to run how I felt, and did stop a few times to get my breath, particularly up the last hill, and I could see the stadium and hear the announcer saying 50 minutes had just ticked over. I knew then I was going to make sub 55, which had been my target, and thought I could maybe get around 54, so just maintained my pace, and although people were doing mad sprints for the line I really didn’t have much left so just went at a decent pace. I looked out for Neil cheering me in like he usually does but there was no sign, and Neil and Dawn weren’t at the finish line (they said they’d wait, but no sign, so I figured maybe Neil had to pull out).

In any case, I’d done it in 53:48, over 4 minutes off my Great Manchester Run time, and I was even more pleased to have smashed 55 minutes in such heat. I thought I could catch my friend Chris coming in, and went and cheered in loads of runners, but no sign of her, so wondered if she had turned up either 🙁 I chatted to a bloke about the oases of the shady bits and the water station, and cheered in lots more runners, then headed back to the start line and cheered more people in and observed with some concern the people in ambulances – it was so hot that people had been collapsing with the heat and dehydration and breathing problems 🙁 I felt really fresh and buzzy once I had got my breath back, and enjoyed wandering around, then had a bit of banter with the elites as they went up to get their prizes. I watched the toddler’s race and presentation before finally drifting away.

city of manchester 10k 2011 pics road runner rob

Got home in time for Wimbledon final, and looked up Neil’s name on the results page – he’d done it in 39:01 so it looks like he was there, but they didn’t wait around at the finish line, so I don’t know what happened. It also turned out that Chris had done really well and got well under the hour, so she hadn’t come in that far behind me – so had finished by the time I got to the stadium entrance to cheer her in.

So a day of achieved times but missed friends, but all in all I had a fab day, and really enjoyed the sense of having survived the heat and achieved another milestone for the season. I have begun to think it may be possible to go sub 50 again before the end of September, who knows – I have entered the East Manchester Legacy Event 10k, and am looking around for other races. Who knows, the Offerton 10k is happening this Wednesday, couple of years ago I ran that a few days before the City of Manchester one… I will see how I feel and maybe roll up for an on the day entry. Will see! 😀

Edited to add City of Manchester 10k 2011 photos. 🙂