I have only been running two years, coming from a cycling background, so dealing with injuries has been a bitter pill to swallow. But realising what irritates the injury most, fitting in the correct exercises to strengthen and visiting my sports therapist, I have not been deterred.
You would think before running two half marathons and a 10 mile race , that I would have run a 10K before. But some how, I have missed the distance out. So, as my on going achilles injury has plagued my training this year, I decided that a few shorter distance races would probably be advantageous.
The race night arrived, the promised rain during the day, hadn’t materialised and the air was still very close and humid. We also had a brisk headwind for the first 5K of the race, so that was going to be a challenge. The course is mainly flat, open to the elements but known for good finishing times. My aim was for 1hour 3 minutes, based on current training and I hoped the wind conditions would work in my favour for the homebound leg.
I kept telling myself, that I was just out for an hours run, but as I lined up on the start line, I can’t lie I did have a few butterflies. The horn blew and we were off. From taking part in my previous races, I knew it was important, not to carried away and go off too fast, so I tried to settle down and find my rhythm.
As I concentrated on my breathing, lifting my legs and thinking about my technique, the KM’s slowly rolled by. The headwind was tough but at the same time cooling and as I passed the 5K drinks station, I grabbed a cup of water and slowed to take the fluid on board. For the next 3K, I had someone very close behind me, getting a drag and breathing heavy. I stuck to my running rhythm and thought he will pass any minute. He finally did at 8K and as he kicked, I couldn’t go with him, so no chance of a little drag for myself as payback. I kept him in sight and gained on him but he did alas finish just ahead of me.
By the time I was 2K from the finish I realised the wind had dropped and wasn’t aiding me at all, the humid air was making the last few Km hot and sticky. Thankfully I had water with me, on my running belt, so instead of drinking, I doused my head in the cool liquid, it felt good. As I passed the last 1K, I picked up my pace in the hope of catching the two guys in front. As I sprinted for the finish, I nearly caught one of them, he came in 2 seconds quicker. The biggest surprise was looking down at my Garmin and realising that I had finished in under 1 hour, 59.04.
I’m not going to lie, it was tough, the headwind was a battle but the sense of achievement is amazing and it is addictive. Its a great way to end a working week, running with like minded, healthy people and pushing yourself hard and benefitting from the results. I’m already looking for the next one.