Bushey 10k, July 6th 2014

I did not sleep well last night but that is nothing unusual before a race! Yesterday I felt phantom pains in my legs, feet and back and this is also nothing unusual pre-race . What was unusual was the fact I woke up feeling very relaxed and I could feel no pains – in short, I felt prepared for today’s race – I didn’t feel I’d overdone my training, nor did I feel undercooked. I felt just right and so had a very laid back morning.

I took on a litre of water over the morning, drank a cup of delectable fresh coffee and ate some muesli with almond milk. There was not one point where I felt nervous or worried about what was to come. My thinking was somewhere along the lines of ‘It’s just a speed workout’ and ‘Just run hard and finish with a smile – it’s just another race’. Adding to my relaxed and happy feeling were two texts from Gabrielle this morning, direct from Paris! She sent me a run selfie as she had managed to get out for a run before her trade show and made it down to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and then told me that there was a ‘good luck’ note waiting for me hidden under the mattress. A real positive start to the day that carried me all the way to the start line with a smile on my face!

The Bushey 10km is a really low-key family affair so I didn’t feel particularly intimidated by the warm-up and start line gathering as I sometimes do! I completed a 1km 3:50 warm-up around the grass track and then did a little stretching interspersed with about 300m of strides and sprints. By the time we started to gather at the start line I was feeling really calm and ready to get going. I was doing my usual tip toe bounces and pacing at the start line when all of a sudden an unexpected spectator appeared right in front of me – I was startled out of my focus, and pleasantly so, by the appearance of my Dad!! With a broad smile on his face he gave me a quick hug and wished me luck, all I could manage in response was a bit of a blush and “Thanks Dad, on your way!” as the start was mere seconds away.

The hooter sounded and we set off at a very reasonable pace. This set my mind at ease from the get-go as I realised this was not going to be an all guns blazing effort – I wasn’t setting the pace and after a few hundred metres I found myself sitting in eighth position and was cruising along quite comfortably. As this was a local race I knew that around the 1.5km mark I could expect to see one of my housemates standing at the top of the very road on which I live as the race passed by! He took a few snaps, none of which came out particularly well as cars got in his way but one he did take shows me gliding along with pretty good form:

Good form at the 2km point. In 7th, where I remain for the next 8km.

Good form at the 2km point. In 7th, where I remain for the next 8km. (Black singlet & shorts, white shoes)

I’m not sure what else I can say from here on in! I sat on the shoulder of the guy who eventually finished 5th from about 2km onwards and exchanged places with him from 5km to 7km – from here I set the pace and he stayed with me the whole way. On the turn at 8km he regained 6th position and from here he upped the pace a little – I wasn’t willing to risk my highest ever potential placing by trying to follow suit and stayed at my pace with my eyes set ahead. I watched him take 5th and then upped my own pace and felt I might be able to gain 6th for myself over the last 800m or so. Alas, it was not to be! I kicked at 400m and was bearing down on the runner in 6th with about 200m to go but he kicked with about 150m to go and I couldn’t match the move – so, I set my eyes on the clock and ran as hard as I could muster to make it in under 38:00! I’m pleased to report that I did manage this and finished in 37:50. The 8th place finisher was also first female and came in with a time of 38:43. I was pretty pleased to see I finished 4th overall in my age group too! Another positive from the performance was that I went through 8km in 30:59 which is new PR and, obviously, the first time I’ve ever ran under 31:00 for five miles!

The top 10 - Bushey 10k Road Race 2014.

The top 10 – Bushey 10k Road Race 2014.

After the race I was pleased to see my Dad standing just beyond the finish line. He’s never seen me run before and I was made up that I could put in such a good performance for him, it meant a lot to see him there as he is not the most mobile of people and I enjoyed hanging out with him afterwards for an hour or so! He took the photograph on the left just before I headed off to get changed into my civvies:

Count the fingers, see the smile!

Count the fingers, see the smile!

We walked back to my house after the race, shared some coffee and some chat and then he made his was home. Afterwards I took a shower and then headed back out for a few beers with my best friend Michael and followed the USATF Mountain Running Championships on Twitter. Three American craft pints, a hot dog and ‘slaw later and I found myself back at home sitting here writing this! I think I might kick back and have a nap before dinner now!

Post race recovery. American Ale festival with barbequed hot dog and 'slaw. Following US Mountain Running Championships on Twitter and generally relaxing on the sunshine with friends!

Post race recovery. American Ale festival with barbequed hot dog and ‘slaw. Following US Mountain Running Championships on Twitter and generally relaxing on the sunshine with friends!

Peace & Blessings

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