RunThrough – Chase the Sun
I’m doing this for the bling, I make absolute no bones about it!
As it was Lent & I wasn’t supposed to be spending on ‘unnecessary things’ I didn’t sign up for the first race until an hour before I left the office. I signed up for the season pass £85 and you get to do all of the races during the Season (17 in total) as many times as you like and choose either 5 or 10k on the day.
The bling is also something to behold as they always are for the RunThrough races and always bespoke.
First one up:
Olympic Park 5k – 12th April
Like I said this was a last minute decision but was looking forward to it as it’s only a couple of stops up the Jubilee Line to Stratford from work in Canary Wharf.
There was due to be a good crowd there too with Nic, Kaya, Matt, Caroline and a few guys from The Running Works, plus others that were tentative.
Before I’d got to the registration desk to pick up my number I was stopped to ask if I was Carl, well I am so yes. I met someone who had read my blog previously called Penny and we have a lovely chat before going our separate ways and collecting my number.
Pre-race included chatting and selfie-taking as number collection and bag drop were as effortless as it always is with these guys.
Plan for the race: have a trot round, enjoy it and get used to using KM’s instead of miles. I wasn’t too fussed about chasing a PB as I’d come off a PB 10k at Brighton on the Sunday and didn’t think I’d have it in my legs, plus there’s a funny story about my PB.
5k PB, 2015: 52min, 2016: 43.18, 2017: 43.03 (although this technically isn’t true).
My 43.03 came from Parkrun, but my Garmin that day said 44.52 so I don’t know how they timer got my time, but it’s on RunBritain (not that I bother with it) so at some point I wanted to beat that.
The race kicked off and I was with Nic and Caroline and followed Nic for the first KM, not great as that was far too quick for me, especially when on the train home Nic told me she’d gone off too quick too – so I was doubly too quick. I was hoping to build on my RunningWorks longest non-walk run of 30mins but I had to pull the plug as save something with going off to quick.
The course is ‘undulating’ but nothing too severe and ends up with elevation gain of 1metre – it’s a nice course and I really enjoyed it as you get to mix with the quicker 10k runners and keep tracks on your fellow 5k-ers on some of the switchbacks.
First lap done and a hi-5 from Matt Wood who was cheering everyone along before the finish. I had another bit of a walk going under the tunnel and I found it hard to get going again but as soon as I saw the 4k sign I knew I could push for the finish, I did have a minor case of jelly legs but I got over that.
I took a look at my watch and I had two minutes to PB, but I couldn’t even see the finish at this point and thought it was out of reach so didn’t really push. Before long the finish was in sight and I was joined by Nic and James who would run in with me. They left me 50yards from the finish before my sprint finish that I was pretty proud of.
Cross line, stop watch, look at watch…..never!, no way, I must have stopped my watch by accident before I crossed the line…
As it turns out I had PB’d by 2minutes!!!
Could not believe it, 2mins over 5k was not expected, that would be a huge improvement for my 10k or Half nevemind 5k.
Wimbledon Common 5k – 26th April
There’s more to this one than just rocking up and doing a 5k – I have demons here (and i don’t just mean the angry wombles). RunThrough Wimbledon Common Half was my first DNF and my head was not in the game, blog is here: https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/04/04/runthrough-Wimbledon/
So I had a mind over matter thing to sort out and I hadn’t really tested my endurance since the end of my Running Works beginners group where I ran for 30mins non-stop (approx. 2mile), could I go all the way?
Plan for today, walk to the common, nice to walk to an event instead of having to get public transport, do instastories on the way, pick up number, put number on slanted, chat with friends, run, pub, home.
1 – Run more than 30mins (previous longest)
2 – Run most of the race (+80%)
3 – Run all the way
If you’re on Twitter or IG, you already know what happened but there is more to it than that.
Pre-race selfie, photos of pre race selfies and plenty of chat and it was time to get lined up for the start.
The start was quite packed with Matt doing a good job in trying to get the faster runner close to the front – it is quite a tight course when you turn off Windmill Road so you needed to be careful where you placed yourself.
You trundle over some long lumpy grass for the first few metres before crossing the road and following the road around to the golf` course and then onto Windmill Road which is a long road which goes all the way to the Windmill – the route is 90% trails.
In my head I set of slowly with the full intention of running all the way/more than 30mins. I got half a km in and thought my breathing was far too heavy for a relaxed pace – it was and I instantly slowed it down.
It was a struggle to keep going at first but I said to myself run to the turn at least – I overtook one or two and most of the field over took me – “don’t worry, run your own race, you’re not chasing people today.”
Got to turn, “right, now run to the Windmill, you know you can you’ve done it before”. I started to concentrate on my breathing, not something ive done before but I wanted to stay as relaxed as possible and it helped take my mind off what i was doing.
Two people passed me, “they’re getting way ahead now, hardly anyone in front for a long way now, stay calm, there’s still people behind you, run your own race”
Windmill Road is really long, you go through 1 & 2km on this road and it isn’t flat, you might not notice it at first but it definitely isn’t until you run it the opposite way and then you notice it.
“Run to the 2km sign, my legs are tired, keep going until the turn at the Windmill”
I could hear footsteps behind me, quite a high cadence but not quick enough to be a leader – it was on a tight stretch so I stayed over to the right, someone was power walking it. For the next 10 strides I subconsciously kept pace “drop back let him go, nearly at the next corner”.
3km passed and the thoughts telling me to stop were drowned out by a voice saying “Imagine telling your folks you just ran 5k non-stop, what are you going to tweet, I would love to tell the guys at The Running Works, where is the bloody turn?!?”
Heading back into the Common I could hear the leaders of the 10k coming and I stayed to the left this time and let them come through and a few said a few words of support. “4k!!!! No way am I stopping now”
You get so close you can hear Matt on the finish, for the first time in the whole race I checked my watch, .5km to go still!, didn’t even look at the time or my pace, I really wasn’t bothered about it.
One final turn and there is the finish – boom! “I’m actually going to do it, I’ve done it!!”
FYI – there was no sprint finish, more of a slow trundle.
I was planning on saying hello to Sophie from Instagram and she was waiting for me at the finish and even before saying hello I just blarted out I’d just run the whole way – sorry for not saying hello properly Sophie – hope the ankle is ok for Sunday!
We had some selfies and Sophie headed off and I joined Matt under the marquee and he was trying his best to get my on the microphone but that wasn’t happening – maybe next time I’ll give commenting a go.
How did I celebrate – cup of tea of course!! I am British…..
And that was that. I definitely had more in the legs, at least another KM or two and I’m probably not too far away from being able to run a whole 10k – could I run the whole way round Royal Parks in October?? (two weeks after Berlin so walking itself might still be a challenge).
I am doing Wings for Life with Nic in a couple of weeks and she gave me a good idea of going as far as I can there – I am not restricted by just doing 5k, so I can carry on and do more than 5K, but if I run 7k and crash I won’t ruin a good 10k as I’ll just get caught by the Catcher Car!
I’ll be trying to get to as many of the Chase the Sun races as I can, list is here: http://www.runthrough.co.uk/?event=chase-the-sun-summer-series-pass-2017
Come along and say hello!!
Next Race: RunHackney Half (Sunday 30th April)