Well, this was the 3rd race in as many weeks. I was never registered for this early, and made an abrupt decision to enter this race, full knowing that I would have done many weeks of racing. If you have followed my blog, you would have learnt, that I smashed my 10K PB in the previous race at Dronfield 10K, so wasn’t really expecting any drama here.
This was the first race, that I didn’t have my family with me, as this was the first race outside of Sheffield that required on the travel, I set off really early. I wanted to make sure that the traffic or parking wasn’t going to be an issue. Then again, it was Sunday, why would there be traffic. I ended up in Leeds one and a half hours early. I managed to find the bag drop soon after I arrived. I passed those along, and then had a long wait to the start time.
Normally, as most of the races are near home, I’ve not needed lavatories, but today was different; I made sure that I went just before I went to the relevant coloured zones.
Arriving in the Red zone, I found that when I registered my time entry would have been too low, so really needed to move up to the next zone. So I decided to move to the blue zone which was for people doing sub 55. Some people may have thought, “wow, he’s fast, he’s already in the mix with the blue numbers”, but n-fact, I started with them, so not much to entertain there. As per usual with any race organised by runforall, there is a big warm-up conducted by someone local from a fitness centre, which is aired on the big loudspeakers.
There were 2 races today, the wheelchairs and the standard road race. The wheelchair race started about 5 minutes before, which they counted down on the big speakers. The race was counted down in a similar fashion.
I crossed the line approx 1 minute after the gun and started off with a good speed. It felt quite comfortable, and I went into a rhythm, and the speed felt really good for the first 2 miles. The weather was extremely hot, so it was very important that the speed and the hydration combined were very important. I started feeling the heat at mile 3 and had to drop the speed down slightly, especially the fact, I am not great at drinking and running at the same time.
My overall plan was to keep in-tact with the 45 min pacer, and up until the turning point he was in sight. As we did turn the sun was right in your face and in front of you. With no breeze, the mouth and head started to think “this is tough, why do I run in this heat”, but I had to keep going. I did slow down and was looking for every opportunity to find any shade and any water. So all I was thinking was to just finish the race and get back home.
There were at least 2 opportunities to take in water, but this was primarily used to cool me down. There were at least 2 people spraying water from hose pipes, and water sponges between 7 and 10km, these were coincidentally very useful in cooling us down.
Nearing the end, there was a small hill, and this just felt terrible, as we just wanted to finish the race, but struggling to get up the hill, then end was near, and we could see the finish line. “I’ll have loads of water, just sprint towards the finish line”, was my thought at the moment. So I just picked myself up, and just tried to get to the end as fast as I could.
As you can imagine, I was just glad to finish, didn’t really care about the time, and I was just looking to see where I can re-hydrate. The volunteers were handing out water and an orange sports drink, and these were very timely. I believed at the time, looking at the clock under the finish line, that I was just over 27 minutes, about 10 seconds off my Dronfield 10K time. I was pretty pleased with that time, considering the temperatures.
After taking a breather, walked towards getting my bag, I started looking on my phone, and gasped at the amazement, that I received a text showing me ythat I had actually bettered my time quite considerably at a time of 46:08, which is 1:29 better than Dronfield in the previous week. Who would have thought that with the heat and the struggles I was facing in that race.