As soon as the entries opened for 2017 I was in there like swimwear, as they say.
I did the double last year and it was brilliant, mostly because I got to meet the UKRunChat crowd after the race and spend some time in the pub with them.
It was also my first proper blog post (who’d have thought it was a year ago now) – https://bigcarlrunning.com/2016/06/05/vitality-mile-10k%EF%BB%BF/
Only the difference this year is I roped my poor Dad into joining me – it did mean he didn’t have to do the Buxton Half Marathon (again) one of the hilliest in the UK.
Saturday as everyone knows is Parkrun-day,. so I registered dad on the Parkrun site (he did know), printed off his barcode and headed off for the Common. I knew Dad would love our Parkrun as he enjoys Trails and a few hills (no real hills on our parkrun).
I’d tweeted Jo (race director) the evening before to make sure we made him put his hand up for the “any first timers” shout – and we did, he got a big round of applause and Jo gave me a shout out to follow me on twitter – aww shucks.
Onto the run, I have to go into Parkrun with a plan, otherwise I get demoralised and bored, this time – run all the way. Dad has never seen me really run a distance before and I kind of wanted to show off my improvement – that may have been a mistake if you keep reading!
Long story short, we had a great morning, I ran all the way for the first time at Parkrun, dad did back and forth between me and the next bench, tree etc and ended up running 3.5mile. I chatted to a lady from Chew Valley Runners and Dad was behind chatting to a lady power walking it, I love how friendly our Parkrun is. All in all we had an awesome run before joining Paul for a glass of Champagne and cake for his 60th Birthday – Parkrun, Champagne and Cake?? Doesn’t get better than that…..
Dad doesn’t do Parkrun back home but I really wanted to show him how friendly it is, between us we must have spoken to half of the 500 strong field and came away saying he really enjoyed it – mission accomplished!
Sunday, is it Sunday or Saturday again, I’m confused. Again, gorgeous day and we arrived in Green Park nice and early and did a little walk around the event village looking for the meeting point for the 10k on Monday, they clearly aren’t as organised as me and hadn’t put the charity meeting points out yet.
Next up was the first of 3 or 4 toilet stops before the race start and then off down to find the Sweatshop Running Club tent
We applied copious amounts of sunscreen before having some selfies outside the palace and down the Mall and meeting up with Sarah and Frankie and then Sophie who we walked down to the start with.
I wasn’t as nervous this year, unlike last year, but Dad admitted he was. Before last year I’d never done a singular mile and stopped and it’s a weird experience. I remember thinking, will I be last, will I fall over, will I do a decent time – it’s all a bit of an unknown as I didn’t do any training specifically for the mile.
After a little while we were off, and joined by the Rhino going at the same pace as me. I had a lovely chat with the Rhino and chatted about how heavy it was (obvious question – 8kg btw) and that her plan was to do the British 10k in July and London Marathon next year. The Rhino began walking and we powered on.
I was picking people off up Birdcage Walk and keeping a really good pace and feeling ok and my breathing was comfortable.
There was one person in front who was run-walking and every time I caught, he’d run – oh challenge accepted, you’re going down….
Dad was keeping me going and telling me to keep pushing and we’d get him. He also told me that he was going to do the same thing as he did at Parkrun yesterday. He was going to tell me that the person behind is catching me even if they’re not – hold on, if I know that it’s not going to work is it?
But anyway, I was still running but hurting a bit at the 200 metre sign, then the corner approached and I got the signal to go for it – like I wasn’t going to. Couple of shoutouts from the crowd (Matt Bodkin & co and someone on my right that I didn’t get to spot, maybe Jo as she tweeted to say she’d seen my finish).
Over the line, stop the watch and a new mile PB of 12.21 – rather a satisfying number too!
We stayed at the finish line with Sophie and cheered the Rhino and all the little ones coming in after us right until that last person – always love this about the Sweatshop wave. Back to the tent, sandwich and bags picked up, and we were off to get our goody bags and medals.
And what a medal it is. They follow the same theme as the London Marathon, same design for three years, first bronze, then silver and finally gold before they change the design again – this year was Silver and I’m thinking I might have to go back next year so I get the full set. For the price of the race and with it only being a mile you really cannot complain.
Dad and I said goodbye to Sophie and we sat under a tree for an hour or so in the sunshine eating our sandwiches before making our way home via a nice walk back to Victoria Station and somehow managing to rack up 11,000 steps during the morning.
Monday, or Sunday as it felt, the bank holiday had pretty much everyone confused, but it was definitely Monday.
This was it, the big one, if I am honest, my ‘A’ 10k race of the year – my PB race from last year and one I enjoyed so much I registered again as soon as it opened. This year, I had my dad running with me and organised the UKRunChat meet-up prerace and there were tons of legends coming!
My Goals for the race were:
a) PB = <1.26.55 from Brighton 10k on a stupidly hot day and a couple of inclines.
b) Run all of it
c) Run 90% of it
d) Enjoy it
e) Under 1.30.00 – should be easy for me and I don’t expect to do a 10k longer than this unless it’s going up
I was insanely excited about the London 10,000 mostly for the reasons above, but also because it’s a cracker of a race and superbly organised. I wanted to show my Dad I could do it and have just enjoy the race as it’s a favourite.
Alarms were set for 7am, out by 8 & at the meet-up point by 8.45. Porridge wasn’t a success – don’t try anything new on race day they say. I tried rolled oats not the instant packs and it was either too much or too soggy – basically our version of the three bears, only it was just the two of us so neither got a great porridge.
We managed to get there by 8.30 in the end and it meant getting out of Green Park tube was a breeze compared to last year and we went and made use of the loo’s while the queues were non-existent.
Then we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive while also mulling around with members of my club who were also out in force, conveniently meeting at the ‘W’ sign – the fact I told everyone to meet at ‘U’ for UkRunChat was pure coincidence…..
There was a lovely group of us and it was nice to meet some for the first time, others for second or third, everyone was chatting away and there was as great buzz around the park – to be expected with 13,000 people! About 30mins before race start, myself, dad, Lil and Katherine wandered down to bag drop, no queuing, just handed our bags over and we were on our way. By that stage I was bursting for the loo again (didn’t realise I was a nervous pee’er). We queued and took selfies (loo queues were the place to be pre-race, some of my IG friends found each other in the loo queue). I decided to get a gel onboard (I needed all the help I could get, despite not usually using them for 10k’s) and it was off to get in our pens.
We were in the pens about 5mins before the first wave was about to set off and they were pretty tightly packed, even asking us to move forward a bit to allow some room at the back. We were joined by Hannah and Caroline and I remember saying to Caroline that my legs felt heavy already, but I put this down to pre-race nerves. It took us about 15-20mins to get over the start line after each wave was held for 5 mins to clear the route ahead, we wished each other good luck and off we went!
I have a dreadful habit of going off too quickly, so I kept a very close eye on my watch, aiming for 13.30-13.45 for the first mile, before we got through Admiralty Arch I’d told myself to slow it up a couple of times and was pretty much in rhythm by the time I got on the Strand – although stopping momentarily to give Becca a hug did push the pace back to 13.54 a bit but seeing as we hadn’t even gone half a kilometre it wouldn’t take long to get that back.
The plan, I was toying with the idea of running the whole way, but after Parkrun (ran the whole 5k) and Mile PB the day before I didn’t feel it happening, so changed it up to the same strategy I used for Brighton 10k – run to 1 or 2km, walk 1min, run to next km repeat until 8.5 where I’d run for the finish.
I passed 1km, not feeling like I had a lot in the legs but carried on all the same and got within 20yards of 2km mark before stopping for a walk. My legs felt awful, I was dying for a walk break and it couldn’t have come soon enough. I wondered if taking it slow out of the blocks had somehow not woken my legs up. So, I took my minute or so and decided I wanted to run up Chancery Lane as it’s a bit of a hill and it was busy so wanted to get it over and done with sooner rather than later. I knew if I ran to the top there was a nice downhill all the way down High Holborn and I traditionally run to the traffic lights at the bottom. However I got to the top of Chancery Lane, shattered, I had to have another walk break. I felt like I was missing out on the opportunity of running the downhill but my legs just didn’t want to go. I ended up walking most of the way down and only got running when I got near the BT Building. It just wasn’t getting any easier, running was horrid and I just didn’t want to run – some points I barely did 10 strides running. I aimed to go down Cornhill to the corner of the Bank of England before walking again – and I did it, fortunately seeing Katherine and Andrianna as we were approaching and I was determined not to walk while they were running & we had a nice chat. I got to the corner and had my walk break as planned.
5k came up and my watch was ticking over 46mins – unless something miraculous happened I wouldn’t even get home in under 1.30. I hoped this would spur me on a bit to get moving and I tried by saying I am going to run from the Traffic Lights, only to get there and have no energy to start running. The only times I ran during the second half were when Rebecca-Louise passed us (I still can’t believe my dad gave her a kiss on the cheek, I just went for the awkward side mid run hug – and I get called a Dark Horse? I’m so telling mum). We ran with Sophie for a little while before dropping back and just after Alex, Kim and Steph came flying through and from then on it was just a hard slog to the finish.
We turned down Fetter Lane and I admitted defeat. I said to Dad, “I’ve gone, I’ve got nothing left” and asked for my phone. I decided to tweet a little hoping to get a little bit of support from Twitter and it came in droves. From there on I didn’t really even try to run, I just knew it would happen for long and I just wanted it to be over.
Along the Strand I saw Rogue_runner & the guys from Chasing Light Collective – I got a couple of big hugs from the guys and a quick chat – I love these guys to bits and although Thursday’s run is cancelled I can’t wait to get back with CLC and show them my appreciation for their support.
Passing the Trafalgar Studios on Whitehall there were some perfectly positioned paving stones that looked perfect for a sit down, just the right height, despite being cold, hard concrete, it looked like a three-piece lounge chair at that stage. Whitehall is a long slog when you’re walking, there was some good support from the police outside 10 Downing St and a few tourists mulling around. The turn onto Birdcage walk for me must have felt like something comparable to those doing the marathon – i.e. thank the Lord it’s nearly over!
I ran for the photographers (well of course you do) but mostly walked up praying that they didn’t move the crossing to the other side of the road so I didn’t have to go around.
Dad was preparing me for the final finish “take some deep breaths, get to the corner and pick your feet up and go….drop your hands to your sides….oh you already have…….I’ve had my hands here for the last 45mins”.
As I turned the corner I could finally see the finish and I had a jog over the line, there was no sprint finish like the day before. All I wanted to do was sit down and stick my head between my knees and pray it was all a dream.
But it was done at least and it was off to collect medal/tee/goody bag, however there was only a sign for XL which I thought was a bit weird. It turns out all the skinny bastards had already finished and nabbed the smaller shirts – no problem for me, but for Dad it was a bit of a disappointment. I did overhear that the Info tent had been exchanging a few tops but I didn’t really expect much. We collected our bags from bag drop – seamless again, and made our way to the toilets as I was almost bursting. The Info tent did have an extra box of t-shirts to my surprise – and they exchanged Dad’s XL to a Medium – happy days.
My time: 01:39:55 (technically my 3rd slowest but I’m going to say 2nd slowest 10k as one of them included going up Box Hill 7 times). My slowest 10k was the British 10k in 2015 which was my first ever 10k (1:45:46).
Yes, I am disappointed, really disappointed and no number of tweets or motivational posters is going to change that (sorry guys). I know I can do better than that and yes, it was warm, it was humid but Brighton 10k was boiling hot and I smashed that, I tend to fare well in heat.
I am disappointed for my Dad, he wanted to run the whole way, which I know he can but he had to stop with me, despite me telling him to run on and wait at the finish – he wouldn’t. But I also wanted to prove myself to him and to my friends and this was the perfect opportunity to do that and yeah, I feel like I let myself and others down.
My nutrition was on game, I even took gels and Caffeine shots (provided by SiS) pre-race which I wouldn’t normally do for a 10k but I wanted that bit extra. Everyone seems to be suggesting that Parkrun and Mile PB on Saturday and Sunday was too much – I can see that but 4 miles (4 quick miles granted) I wouldn’t expect to have that kind of effect on me.
On that point, a few people (I don’t mean Katzenjammer guys, despite our chat yesterday) have questioned my sensibleness (if that’s a word) in doing Berlin in September – yeah I get it. Add another 20 miles on that from Monday and it isn’t going to be pretty. I do have my training plan from my awesome coach @Shellmoby and she’s put in a few runs where I’ll be running on tired legs – for example this week: Easy Parkrun then London 10 Mile and it also includes Recovery runs after Half Marathons. I should be used to running on tired legs by then.
It’s now Wednesday (I think, totally confused with the Bank Holiday) and I’ve spent the last few days in a total grump, sorry twitter and IG peeps. But, I guess I can take something out of that. I am disappointed I finished a 10k, 6.2miles, 10,000 metres and I’m disappointed – tell that to 30 stone me from three years ago and I might have laughed my head off.
– I finished
– I didn’t bail (I wanted the bling and Dad wouldn’t have let me)
– 10 miles over three days I guess is ok distance?
– I met some awesome people
I do have to thank pretty much the whole of Twitter and Instagram for your messages over the past week – yes I’m still a grumpy arsehole but I really appreciate your messages!
Next Race: London 10 Mile (Sunday 4th June 2017)