So the preparation for this one could have gone better. Yes, I have had a good 8 weeks of running in the bag as part of my Run Streak but I had a setback on Thursday when I was knocked off my bike meaning that pretty much every muscle in my body has been aching Friday and Saturday. Come race day my body was starting to feel a little better but still not 100%, salt baths and foam rolling over the past two evenings has at least got my legs in running condition. How I felt on Friday I was considering not running this weekend so things have improved somewhat.
I have been looking forward to running this 10k all year, the route is pretty flat so this one has good PB potential written all over it, similar to the Cheshire 10k I ran earlier in the year. Funnily enough I went into the Cheshire 10k after 5 weeks out injured so missed that opportunity of a good PB run. I tested my legs out during the Congleton Parkrun yesterday and once I got going I found that it was ok to run, the calves felt tight so they were targeted by some vigorous foam rolling last night.
We started our short drive to Knutsford at 08:45am, it was nice to head out at a decent time for a change, calling at McColls on the way to pick up the now traditional pre-race Cinnamon Swirl. This is something that began at the Liverpool Marathon weekend and continued at the Potters ‘arf, so far, the pre-race danish has resulted in a 100% PB success rate. Who needs lucky pants when you can have a lucky cinnamon swirl. We landed at Colshaw Hall just after 09:30, walked the short way from the car park / field to the start area. Pushing Sienna’s pram across a farmers field was a tricky way of warming up, certainly got the legs going. Once we got into the start area, the queue for the toilets was huge! literally a good 100 people, but all in one single file queue, it was very British and civilised. To be fair the queue went down pretty quickly, I took this time to take my Science in Sport Caffeine shot, I had tested one of these out on Friday and found it did give me a boost so the plan was to take this 30 mins before the start of the race. I had a quick warmup and game of peek-a-boo with Sienna then lined up for the start.
Mile 1 – 6: 6:59, 6:40, 6:40, 6:54, 6:43, 6:33
My heart was telling me to go and line up close to the front, the competitive instinct kicking in already, a week ago I was testing out a sub 40min pace in training but my mind said no, you are not 100% step away from the start line, don’t get in the way. So I set off, thinking a 7min pace would bring me home around 45 mins, which lets face it, is still 7 minutes than what my PB was at the start of 2017. If you have read any of my previous Race Recaps you will know what my track record is like at sticking to a planned race pace. This weekends race didn’t break from that tradition either. During that first mile, despite a crowded start and having to weave around people (clearly not everyone took the don’t get in the way advice I had given myself) and having to stop TWICE!!! to tie my lace. Now, me and shoe laces are starting to have a problem! this has happened a number of times across different shoes and different brands, clearly I am not tying my laces right, tight enough or I run funnily that unties a shoe? Any advice on elastic laces is very much welcomed here. So despite all of the above, I actually hit my planned pace on that first mile. That got me thinking, maybe I can give it a bit more beans and see how it goes. At this point my legs felt ok, the whole right side of my upper body was not happy and I couldn’t fully bend my arm still, but the legs felt good so here goes, lets push on a little.
Just after the first mile there was a small downhill followed by a small climb back up, I thought this was a flat course? oh well, no biggie, I was running up a 42% fell climb on Thursday so this 30ft 4% climb is as good as flat. The next 3-miles were flat and on closed roads, running around the country lanes around Cheshire so plenty of room. I was starting to pick people off now and getting into my stride, constantly moving my goal posts, there was always someone a little further down the road I can chase after. Miles 2 and 3 were a consistent 6:40 pace, putting me 41 seconds up on my planned time. Actually thinking that put me off my stride somewhat in mile 4, I slowed the pace down to 6:54 for no reason, I was feeling tired, I had my breathing under control and I wasn’t boxed in, I just lost concentration and slowed.
Going into the last 2.2-miles knowing I was around 47 seconds under a 45 min pace I thought if I kick on now I can bring this down to under 44 mins, maybe even break into 42’s, no sooner had I thought that, than we were on a downhill and a cheeky little sign and the side of the road saying “Did we mention the hill?” I had a chuckle at that sign and thought to hell with it, I am not slowing my pace down one bit, turned out the hill was tiny, only 50ft of gain at around 4% – 5%. I missed what my mile 5 split time was when out on the run and didn’t realise until 6.45 miles in that actually I am looking at a 42 minute 10k here if I can keep at the 6:40 pace, someone came past me at this point, that was just what I needed, he was running strong and quick so I was going to chase after him, more in the hope of making me run quicker than actually overtaking him but it did me good. The last mile was my quickest of the race and the last 0.2 to the finish was at a 5:48, that sprint or more accurately “slightly faster” run to the finish brought me home in an amazing (for me) new PB of 41:53 finishing up 55th overall, 50th male and 22nd in the senior male group.
Now here are a few photos from post race, I usually take my phone out with me and get some start line photos but left it with the wife this time. Maybe that is why I ran quicker?
So the cinnamon swirl danish PB streak has now moved on to 3 races, will next week’s 10k race make it four? I have mixed feelings at the end of this race, really pleased with how I ran and the PB, more so given I was not at 100%, but then a little disappointed that did not have the chance to run this race 100% fit through no fault of my own. I think I could have ran quicker but that is for another time now, this was still the fastest I have ever ran a 10k.
Thoughts on the event? on the whole, this was a great event, no issues to report. Well organised, great little race village, the medal is huge (see below) and the volunteers around the course were fantastic, these guys gave so much support and everyone of them had a smile on their face. Oh and the best thing about the whole morning? the post race flapjacks, omg they were so nice!!