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:
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!
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:
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!
Peace & Blessings