Wow it's been ages since I raced! I have to say I've missed it, but enjoyed the rest! I was actually due to run a 10k Race For Life in Milton Keynes a while back, but changed my mind on the day - just wasn't in the mood! Today wasn't like that though, today was a good day!
I went out for a long run last weekend and my ankle really twinged, so I stayed off it all week (running wise anyway). Which is a good thing as I never taper so I guess I was forced too and with the NSPCC MK Half coming up next weekend I wasn't about to take any risks!
I hadn't really thought too much about a plan for today, but I met up with a nice young gentleman called Darren at Wembley Park station and we traveled together so target were discussed as always! My basic plan was just to do what I could and whatever my ankle allowed me to do... Luckily it allowed me to do really well! My last 10k was the Bupa 10,000, which I completed in just over an hour (1:00:40), I had really hoped to come in under an hour and was quite disappointed with my time. If I could get under an hour I would be happy, but would my ankle hold out under the pressure?
The journey this week wasn't too disrupted by Transport for London's engineering works and the tension started to build in me as I saw more and more runners getting on at various stops. Not having run all week, I was a mass of nerves, Would I make it, would I do okay, Would I get under an hour, would I be carried home on a stretcher? Far fetched I know, but I was seriously anxious for some unknown reason! Talking to Darren helped to keep me focussed and we made our way to the baggage area which was quite easy to find, but could have done with some signs once we exited the tube. From the baggage area to the start was a complete mess - people everywhere and no sense of organisation whatsoever. The toilets were so few, which such big queues that we decided to give them a miss and apparently there was a 50p charge! I didn't even see the start line until 30mins after the race started. It was actually located on the opposite side of the road from where we were all queuing, I can see the logic in it given that there was a parade that went past us whilst we waited, but at the time I just wanted to see the start line! Given that we started after 10:00, official start was 09:35, the elites would have been done and dusted before my trainers even got sweaty!
I took my time at the start, got my iPhone playlist ready, made sure my earphones were in properly; I was still nervous and I needed the ritual before I got going. I started well and after the first 1km checked my pace 06:00, slow start, but I could still get under an hour. Because I started so far at the back I had a lot of people to run around for the whole race! I spent a lot of time running up on the 40cm pavements that ran alongside the underpasses! The atmosphere was really good, lots of people calling your name or charity out. There was a Scope cheering point so I got a good cheer and gave them a wave on the way round too, which was nice. The underpasses, well the one underpass that we ran through twice, really shook my Garmin up, lost reception then jumped to the next km once it returned. Jumped to 5km then 6km in mere minutes, wish I could run that fast really!
The toughest part was 7-9km, I couldn't rely on my Garmin anymore as it was way out and there wasn't a 8km marker so I felt like I was running forever! Didn't have much left to sprint at the end, but I did what I could to pick the pace up once I could (finally) see the finish. Finish did feel a bit strange though as I'm used to people giving out goody bags and water etc. We got given water and Gatorade, but had to make our way back to the baggage claim to get our sparse goody bags with our bags. The BG was unimpressive, as was the medal, consisted of a asics pen, asics wrist band, my fav granola bar, those herb sweets and some menthol chewing gum...
The route was great, much better than Bupa 10,000 and it didn't feel so hard, less climbs I think. The crowd and atmosphere were great too, I would have like more signage and guiding people to the baggage area and start, pens based on finish time and much more goodies please! All in all a good race and I will be back next year!