As I mentioned previously, Bushy Park was my first ever 10k race (and, until today, the only one!) My previous time was 1:02:49, and today I reeeally wanted to get under 1:02:00, as I’m trying really hard to push for a 9:xx pace.
I got up at 7, and it was dark, windy, and raining heavily. I would have LOVED to have gone straight back to bed. Instead, I had some toast and peanut butter, grabbed some water (with a citrus Zero hydration tablet, yum) and got into my running gear. By the time we left at 7:45, it was still dark. And cold. And windy. And rainy. I was starting to regret the whole thing, if I’m honest!
We got to Bushy Park at about 9:15, and the rain was just beginning to ease off. It was still wet and muddy underfoot, with occasional showers, and it was a bit breezy – but the sun was trying to push through the clouds:
I’ll say one thing, Bushy Park is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And once the race started, the conditions were perfect; it was bright, sunny, and cool. Lovely. There were loads of deer and huge stags, too – we got very close at a couple of points on the course! One of the stags warned us off during the first half, making a loud noise that sounded a bit like a cow (I’m clearly an expert!)
I felt really strong for the first half. Admittedly, I’d forgotten just how tough it can be to run off-road, and my right ankle niggled a bit on the bumpy/muddy/uneven bits. But after about 3k I settled into a comfortable pace, and just enjoyed the scenery. This is the first race I’ve done where I haven’t worn a watch or my iPod, and I really enjoyed it. It took the pressure off, and meant that I simply ran at a pace that felt comfortable. I didn’t check my time at regular intervals, or fuss about how far off the next KM marker was – I just zoned out, and focused on my breathing, my footing, and the surroundings. Starting towards the back meant I was able to pass quite a few people, too, which worked as a bit of a boost!
I kind of look like I’m playing a flute or something there. Or the piano, possibly? I have NO idea what my right hand was doing, in any case!
I also didn’t run with any drink this time round. Instead, I grabbed some water at half way (there was a water stop) and took the opportunity to walk for a few metres to break up the distance (not that the distance is all that far, but still), and to have a few sips without spilling it all over myself. This mainly worked – though I did end up with a load of water in my face, too. I had barely wiped it off when a huge, wet leaf fell off a tree and smacked me in the face. More water, yay!
I felt good until about 8k, and then my calves and quads began to feel the strain of the uneven ground. There was one part of the course that was on a tarmac path, up a slight hill, and we were running directly into a strong head wind and had the sun blazing down. On the first loop, this was lovely – a bit of warmth with a much needed breeze – but by this point I was beginning to get a bit tired so I struggled a little. I made a deal with myself NOT to walk though – and to help, I kept picking someone ahead of me to match my pace to, and keep up with. I did this right until the end, where I managed a sprint (ish) finish, before nearly falling on the (mildly alarmed) lady who was removing the timing chips from our shoes. Whoops.
What can I say? Standing on one leg doesn’t work when said leg is nackered! 😀
Despite that little incident, I made it, and got to pick up my shiny new medal and a chocolate bar! (Priorities, people).
I really loved this event. It was organised by Capital Runners, and went off without a hitch. Race numbers and instructions were posted out in advance, the course was clearly marked, and getting my timing chip barely took 5 seconds. They even had pots of safety pins, which was SUCH A HUGE WIN, as I could only find one at home .. The marshals were so lovely, too. They all smiled and clapped and offered encouragement, and all the supporters near the half way/finish point (same place) clapped and cheered for everyone. This makes me so happy!
To add to it all, in true Lucy style – as with my 5k earlier in the year – I beat my target time by a whole second, coming in at 1:01:59 😀
Hey, at least I’m consistent, right!? And that’s 50 seconds off my previous PB!
As a base line for my marathon training, I’m really chuffed with this. It’s a steady 10min/mile pace, which was comfortable to maintain, and gives me a predicted marathon time of 4:44:51. Obviously, the goal for Brighton is simply to finish – but anything under 5 hours would be awesome, and knowing that I have the ability to do that is great.
Today was a real confidence booster, and although I know that I probably could have done better had I trained more thoroughly, this is a starting point. And I’m excited for the journey ahead 😀