As I talked about in my blog post for Women’s Running Magazine, running has been more of a labour of love for me this year. Usually I run to chase PBs and get the thrill of a medal, but this year I’ve been trying to just run for fun. But, after a good year and a half out of racing, I decided to enter the WR10k series. It’s a friendly, no-pressure race, where most entrants run it just for fun rather than to clock a certain time.
Ugly running photos (keep reading for that…) and watch mishaps aside, I had a great race and think my love for races has definitely been rekindled.
Chasing the Pacers
Despite saying I wasn’t running for a certain time I was drawn in so easily to the “must get XX time” mentality. When I saw a friend at the start who was a pacer for the race she asked me what I was aiming for and before I could even think the words “around 55 minutes” came out of my mouth.
Now 55 minutes is quite a way off my PB of 49:12, but at roughly 9 minute/mile I knew it should have been a fairly achievable, but still challenging, target for the very untrained me. Even still, I wasn’t going to hold myself to it. But when the gun went off I noticed the 55 minute pacer… and she was ahead of me! Of course my competitive spirit kicked in and I picked up to try and close the gap so I could be sure of sticking to my newly formed target. I’m such a sucker for a target.
Off Pace Fail
Last in the WR10k series, the Finsbury Park route is two laps of the lovely park, with a couple of “undulations” (some might call them hills) that made for a nice change of pace throughout. Mostly on pavements running through the park, there were a few patches of running on grass and gravel; a welcome break for my shins which have been known to play up in the past. The two laps also meant that the support was better, as people were less spread out than they naturally would be on a single lap course.
About halfway round I could still see the 55 minute pacer quite a way ahead of me. Despite the slight hills I was sure I’d been running at faster than 9 minute/mile for the first couple of miles, so why was I behind? As the miles ticked by I decided to play around with my watch when I realised that it was set to current pace and not average pace! I changed the setting and saw that I’d been averaging just over my “target” pace.
Great, now I might not even make 55 minutes.
For some reason the sun and the park got to me, that mixed with a bit of a race high resulted in a foolish decision to try and get some funny photos for my efforts. You know that moment where you think “why don’t I just pretend to be Mr Muscle?”…. yeah, that.
Shortly after the horrendous photo I told myself off for failing to be a normal person for just one race and set to focusing on reeling in the time a bit. Picking up the pace when you’re busy kicking yourself for being a twat isn’t easy, plus it was pretty hot by this point. As I turned the final corner out of the belly of the park I could see that there was about 600 metres left so I picked up my feet for a last push to the finish line. I crossed the finish in 55 minutes and 10 seconds. Not bad for an under-trained, clearly not quite “all there” effort.
Luckily my finish-line photo wasn’t quite as awful. Ok, ok… I said not quite.
How To Take Part
Details of the 2015 Women’s Running 10k Series are already online. As well as an extra date, Women’s Running have also added a 5k option to the mix. And, if you enter before 31st December 2014, you will pay just £20*, a saving of £6 off the standard entry price for the 10K distance or a saving of £2 off the 5K distance.
*plus booking fee
Head to womensrunninguk.co.uk for more information.
Photos courtesy of: eddiemacdonald.co.uk for Women’s Running Magazine.