One week on from the Great Birmingham 10k I am at it again, SIMPLYHEALTH GREAT BIRMINGHAM 10K 2017 RACE RECAP, this time running 2 laps around Heaton Park. Spurred on by last weeks sub 45 10k despite the large number of runners and by three consecutive weeks of PB’s at the local Congleton Parkrun, I was feeling confident and finally starting to get some belief in my running. It has taken me 12 months to get from the sofa to where I am now and to be running 5k in sub 21 and 10k sub 45 it is a great achievement for me. So will this new found confidence carry me on to another sub 45 time or to a new PB (current 10k PB is 42:42), well after having a quick glance at the course profile, something I don’t normally do but should make a habit of, I noticed that there is a big climb around the 2 and 4 mile mark. Maybe that sub 45 time is asking a little too much this week.
The event is ran by Run Through.co.uk who also put on the Cheshire 10k in March. I have always had good experiences with Run Through and Heaton Park looked to be another, they had even put on some sun and warm weather for us. The start area was well organised, race number collection was a piece of cake and the coffee van was a hit as always (not for me this time, I am a pro runner lol). This week I had my wife and daughter there cheering me on, Sienna had great fun playing with the cones marking out the course, I think she was making a secret shortcut for daddy.
I lined up in the sub 46 area, planning on taking it steady for the first mile, get up that hill and then see how I felt. Looking at the runners around me who were all wearing their various club vests, I couldn’t help but think I am going to get smoked here.
The claxon went and as I always do, race plan goes out of the window and I set off far to fast, overtaking people left, right and centre. The bonus this week was that there were a lot less runners meaning I could find my own space and run the pace I wanted to from the get go. The big hill first time around was fine, I powered up it making huge gains on those around me, the downhill section after was even better, I now have this new strategy of lengthening my stride on a downhill giving me more pace for the same effort, this is probably second nature to every other runner but previously I would just plod along the course in the same manor. I made it around the first lap in what felt like a pretty decent time.
Mile 1 – 3: 6:54, 7:10, 7:01
The second lap I knew I had to hold back the pace somewhat on the first mile knowing that hill was coming up, having ran it once I was now conscious of how much effort it was going to take and I think it had mentally beaten me before I even got to it, I made it up but there were plenty of thoughts of “shall I stop and walk this bit”, “no lets keep going”, “get to that bench” “I am dying” you know the thoughts, we all get them. Nevertheless I got to the top without stopping, a few guys in front of me had walked in places so after running a good 3 miles by myself, I was now 3 – 4 meters behind a couple of runners, this gave me a bit of a kick to now keep pace with them and work on catching them at the finish. I did gain some ground but sadly I didn’t have the energy to catch up at the finish. Over the line I went, doing my now usual party trick of not celebrating the finish, instead putting all my efforts into stopping my watch. I have seen no end of finish photos of me and I am looking down at my watch. I never learn.
Mile 4 – 6.2 7:03, 7:39, 7:24
So did you get that sub 45 time I hear you ask??? Well yes, surprisingly I got around in 43:54, 1 minute faster than last week. 25th overall and 3rd in my age category. This now makes me think that if I run on a good flat course, then that PB of 42:42 will go, given I was just over 1 min of it on a course with a badass hill.
All in all, I really enjoyed this 10k and definitely recommend you taking a look at the next Heaton Park 10k but remember, don’t go all out on that first lap otherwise you will burn out like I did.