Tag Archives: 10k

An unexpected 10K race

In the UK this week has been Woman in Sport week. What better way to celebrate this than to  take part in a race? To be honest, I hadn’t intended to take part in a  race this week but I saw a competition on Twitter that simply involved a retweet and I thought why not? I will never win anyway. How wrong I could be. On Wednesday I was told that I had won and was now running the Womans  running UK 10k down in London. A huge thanks to @ukrunchat who are the brains behind an amazing running community on twitter, Womans running UK  a fab magazine and Endomono who is another sports community, activity tracker.

My first thought was to contact my running friends to see if anyone fancied coming with me but they were all busy :(. Not to be put off I started to make plans to go on my own anyway :).The forecast was good (if a little hot) and it was the right side of London to make it easy to get too for me.

Getting there

Sunday morning came after a night of little sleep but I got up, ate my porridge and set off. The car part of the journey took an hour and the tube about half of that! (The tube cost me £11 which I thought was a bit steep for only going about 7 stops – 20 pence more and I could have got all the way into the centre of London!)

The first thing I saw when I got to Finsbury park was the queue for the toilets. Not too bad – a good sign. Because my entry into the race had been late I had to collect my number on the day. This was a really easy process. I put my bag into baggage and headed for the toilet queue with 20 minutes to spare. . I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t make it but I had plenty of time.So far so good – everyone was as friendly as I had hoped.

It was a nice 'small' event with a good range of pacers.

It was a nice ‘small’ event with a good range of pacers.

As you can see the sun was shining for once and I wasn’t at all cold waiting for the race to start. I chatted to a couple of people (who had come all the way from Sunderland!) and then it was time to go to the start.

I have never been so close to the start line!

I have never been so close to the start line!

There was a 5k option too and these started at the front with us 10kers further back.

The course

On the day before I had found a course map and looked at it. I made the assumption that being in London it would be fairly flat and, looking at the map a bit demoralising too as there appeared to be a few up and backs where you would be able to see the people ahead of you.

map_finsburySource

In reality the out and backs weren’t a problem as you were separated more than it looks and so were not really that aware of those ahead of you (thank goodness!). It was however hilly (well coming from the fens hilly). My Garmin says it had an elevation gain of 85m. To be fair, at the end everyone was talking about how hilly it had been so can’t just be the fen girl’s opinion.

The upside to hills are the down hill sections and with these I wasn’t disappointed. There was just one hard hill in the last Km that was a bit mean but once up that it was downhill all the way to the finish. 🙂

Before the race, when I saw that there were 2 water stations I was a bit surprised but to be honest today I was really pleased that there were (3!) stations as it was soo hot. There was some water poured over my head!

The Finish

The finish was a very welcome (as you would expect). What was a really nice touch was the way everybody had their name shouted out as they approached the finish line. This does make a big difference so a huge thank you for that. As always with a race a huge thank you to all the encouraging comments and big smiles from all the marshals – it all makes such a difference to how the whole feel of the race is.

Probably the best bit of the whole event, however was the goody bag:

For a smallish race this was awesome.

For a smallish race this was awesome.

There was also some sort of ice cream that was yummy as well as a drink. Also:

We musn't forget the bling!

We mustn’t forget the bling!

No expense spared - there was even an engraving on the back!

No expense spared – there was even an engraving on the back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions:

This is a great race. Really friendly and far from intimidating. Being small and so encouraging it is a great run for those who feel a bit unsure or are just starting out (with the 5k being a good first option). Everyone is made to feel as if they have achieved something really worthwhile. The pacers make it good for those getting used to running races and who want to try to keep to a pace. Being a fairly small event with wide paths keeping with them would have been easy unlike many of the other races I have done.

The course itself is challenging enough for runners looking for that bit extra and the goody bag is well worth it. Had I not won the competition would not have gone but I am more than pleased that I did – running in a different place is always welcome and a good challenge for me. I shall not always dismiss races in London as although I started quite early I got home in time for a late lunch and a rest in the garden.

There is another one in September and I would encourage you to consider it. It really is 5 mins (or less) from the station so if you are in London there should be no excuses. Why not make a weekend of it like those girls from Sunderland?

Thank you ukrunchat and Womans running Magazine for a really lovely Sunday race.

Note: All views are my own.

 

 

 

 

MINDful training

Thank you to all who have commented on my last post. It is definitely great to be back. Look at me 2 posts in one week!

At the weekend I did something that I am slightly embarrassed to admit. I went to London….on….my….own. I know that it sounds mad but it is true. I got dropped off at the station. Got on a train and sat down to crochet with everything…..quiet. Yep, no chattering children but a VERY noisy old train. Oh well everything couldn’t be perfect could it?

My reason for going was for a get together for everyone running the London or Brighton Marathon for MIND.  Amazing!

This was where we met… the London Marathon Shop.                                         Source

This is the entrance. The TV’s showed the race. I had no idea that there was such a place. Right by Liverpool street should you be wondering. The best bit was that MIND runners get 20% off all the goodies in the shop. How tempting is that?

Inside there are a lot of lovely things. Some really nice tops and lots of shoes…….

This was one of my favourite bits….examples of the medals for each of the races.             Source

Downstairs was amazing. There is a ‘locker room’ with showers. The doors were amazing as they were really well hidden.

When they were shut that is!                      Source

All this showers bit was very important because we were going on a training run before lunch and talks. Don’t want to be all smelly for the rest of the day! The run was a 10k which was great because I knew that I could do it. The worst bit was the worry that I may just get lost. There was someone at the front and someone at the back but I was unlikely to be at either of these points so needed to ensure that I kept a close eye on those in front. This was harder than it might appear because London is full of people. (I know, shocking concept!)

This is a picture of the route.

This is a picture of the route.

Reading the blogs of people lucky enough to run in London regularly (Lottie of London) this was a really big thing for me as I read their posts and wish. We went past the London Eye, Big Ben and the houses of Westminster as well as some lesser known parts.

One thing that I had not appreciated before Saturday was the problem that people cause. I run on my own more often than not, in quiet streets. The only time people are a real problem is when I run in organised events. Even then the people are generally moving in the same direction but in London there is no order whatsoever. I now have a great deal of respect of people running in cities. Dodging takes on a whole new meaning! I am also convinced that I ran a bit further than the 10.2 they said I did.

On an entirely different note, my Garmin took some adjusting to working in London and being surrounded by tall buildings so it didn’t record the full 10K as it took a while to find a reliable signal (at one point the pace was 03.00 minute miles!!) I do think that I did run quite fast – probably all that dodging about!

As far as my husband was concerned I actually came away without spending any money despite being very tempted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saffron Walden 10k

 

Last Sunday I ran my first ever 10k race. The good news to this is that whatever time I ran would be a PB! The not so good news was that I did not really read the small print before signing up.

logo

Trusting

I trusted my friend who said their were a ‘couple ‘ of hills but you get a free t-shirt. Sounded good to me. However, when we arrived and I read the posters properly it said that it is a ‘challenging course’! Hmmm. I did, however know that it was a trail run (90%) so didn’t expect a quick time.

My t-shirt!

The Start

The start was well sign-posted and we went down, having registered easily with plenty of time to spare. There are no chips provided in this race but I had my trusty Garmin with me. I don’t know about you but I really hate the first mile or so until everyone spreads out a bit. It is just so stressful having people all around you, pulling out in front without any warning and  having to get around those running slower than you.

Hills

We immediately set off up a hill, off the road from the start. The track was one of those with two wheel tracks and the uneven  middle. This restricted the amount of movement you could do easily to dodge other people. The wind was also a factor during this race as it was quite strong and took my breath away at times.

The Course

The first part of the course was there and back which was a bit disconcerting when I first realised this. It is always hard running when you can see all the runners that are ahead of you. Of course it is easier when the tables are turned. I also liked the fact that there were a lot of hills at the start but on the way back there were fewer and it felt as if you were running downhill more of the time. That is to say until mile 5 (ish) when they somehow managed to import a mountain to the Essex countryside! I kid you not. I think nearly everyone walked for a bit up that hill. It was probably quicker than running it.

 

Negatives

The only main negative that I can think of is that there were parts of the course that were totally single file with no room at all for manoeuver. I didn’t have a particular problem except that (and here comes my excuse) I had a bit of an asthma attack and did not have my inhaler. As we got further around I found it harder going as my lungs closed up and was a bit conscious that I may well be holding those behind me up. Not a feeling I liked very much.

My number – the cross shows that I had collected my t-shirt, not that I was disqualified!

Summary

Overall I enjoyed the race and I would run it again. It reinforced that I can run faster than I think when pushed. (Yes, even with an asthma attack!) I completed it in under an hour which I was really pleased with, taking into account the hills and my lungs. I did apologise to my friend. 🙂

Did you run this race, or have you run any recently? What were your experiences?