Race Report: Winter Run 10k

‘Guys, we need to sign up to this race! It’s through central London and there’s fake snow and polar bears and everything!’

Skip forward a few months and our team had dwindled right down for plenty of very valid reasons. However, despite an awful race prep and freezing cold weather, this race was momentous for me and here’s why….

The Training

There was no cardio training to be seen in the month leading up to the race. In fact, my last run had been a slow 4k on New Year’s Eve in Nice that felt really rather tough. 

I’ve been doing lots of strength training and because I’m bulking I’ve not been using calories up on cardio. So while I’m definitely stronger I had serious doubts as to my cardio fitness which has never been a strong point of mine. 

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The Race

I’d spent all day before the race in bed with a migraine so the immediate prep was going really well. Not. 

I managed to get some sleep the night before, after cramming in some rice and woke up feeling quite fresh which was a nice surprise. The morning was grey and cold, just right for running… We got down to the welcome area nice and early and I warmed up outside Downing Street before I felt remotely comfortable taking off my coat to leave with Simon. 

The start line was a little bit chaotic as although we’d all been given wave times there didn’t seem to be any checking or order to how people were starting. Everyone was crammed into the start area and they were just letting 2,500 people go in each wave. It meant that I ended up doing the warm-up 3 times before I even got to the start line!

Anyway, off I went feeling pretty sceptical about how it was going to go. However, I surprised myself by feeling really quite comfortable all the way up until 5k. 

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At that point though the problems hit. My hip flexors tightened up first, followed by my back and finally my left ankle. By the time i hit 8km it had become a mental battle. 

I didn’t even notice the fake snow zones or cow bells along the route although I do remember being a little underwhelmed by the novelty of the race. Just being able to run on closed roads along the Thames was enough of a novelty for me.

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I could hear my normal pace running away from me through my headphones so I just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and ticking off the ½ km markers. This was one race that I was going to finish running, whether my muscles wanted to or not. 

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With 200m to go, I normally step up a gear and go for a big finish but this has to be the slowest sprint finish I’ve ever done. But I did it. I proved to myself that not only can my base fitness carry me through a 10k without walking but I can also run by myself and self-motivate. It was a good feeling to cross that finish line and hold my head high. 

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The Results

1st km: 07:10

2nd km: 06:50

3rd km: 06:54

4th km: 06:47

5th km: 07:16

6th km: 06:21

7th km: 07:19

8th km: 07:21

9th km: 07:04

10th km: 07:30

TOTAL TIME: 01:13:12

Now that I’ve got the bug back, I’m itching to sign up to EVERYTHING. But while I fight the urge, I’ve got a sprint triathlon in May to get training for so watch this space for training updates.

Race Report: Women’s Running Series 10k Finsbury Park

In a moment of endorphin-induced madness, the day after my first ever 10k, I signed up for my second ever 10k only two weeks later. Well, no pain no gain as they say… 

The Training

After taking a few days to recover from Run To The Beat, I managed to pack in two short but speedy runs, one 8.5k run in the glorious French sunshine, two extreme spin bootcamps, a quick 30 minute PT session and a #PumpSweatandBurn class. No way was I going to let my fitness disappear from my first run… 

I managed to taper on the Thursday and Friday before the run and spend two days sitting around eating huge quantities of food to celebrate the Jewish New Year. 

All in all, not bad preparation but not great… 

The Race

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Having slept awfully the night before the race and eaten far too much for dinner, I dragged myself up and forced down a Nakd berry bar. My enthusiasm levels for this race were distinctly lower than the last one… 

We arrive at Finsbury Park in plenty of time to have a nose around the little tents that were set up and have a good stretch and sit down. It was only a small event, the smallest that I’ve done but there was a great tent run by the Scouts that was serving tea, cake and biscuits. 

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After an energetic and useful warm up we were ushered to the start line and Heron and I tucked ourselves in behind the 70-minute pacer. That’s what we were aiming for at Run To The Beat and as the course here was much hillier, we were just aiming to stick with the pacer and not go much faster. 

The hills hit pretty quickly, at around 1.5k but we plodded up and down until we realised that the course was taking us back round for a second loop. I’m not a fan of laps on courses because generally I lack motivation to do the second lap, something that kicked in here as I knew all of the hills that I would have to tackle again. 

However, there’s no excuse to stop. So I didn’t. At around 6k I started struggling up the hills and Heron kicked away from me. I fixed my eyes on her back and promised myself not to lose sight of her. 

Helped by that and by the brilliant pacer, the hills on the second lap seemed to be easier as I overtook some walkers and powered through. By 8k I was ahead of the pacer (but not by far) and so when I came to the 9k marker and heard my last pace update through my headphones I put the accelerator down and flew the final kilometre. 

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Coming round the final corner the clock read 01:08:29 which surprisingly gave me 34 seconds to get home to beat my RTTB time. I legged it. As you can see from the photo… 

It was only when I crossed the finish line and received my chip time that I realised I’d come in at 01:07:59, knocking a whopping 01:03 off my previous PB. 

Chuffed faces all round. 

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The Results

1st km: 06:56

2nd km: 06:58

3rd km: 06:44

4th km: 06:40

5th km: 06:57

6th km: 06:41

7th km: 07:03 (this is where I struggled)

8th km: 06:46

9th km: 06:48

10th km: 06:20 (this is where I legged it!)

5k split: 34:15

10k split: 33:44 (woohoo for negative 5k splits!)

TOTAL TIME: 01:07:59

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I’m pretty booked up with library and classroom sessions for my Personal Trainer course from now until January but my next race is booked in for 1st February, the Winter Run 10k along the Thames. 

If anyone fancies some cold-weather running in the meantime, let me know! 

Race Report: Run To The Beat 10k

When I started running a year ago I couldn’t even run the 2 mile journey home from work without walking and it annoyed me so much that I refused to accept it. I’ve spent the last year getting fit and working on my running to the point that I decided to sign up for my first 10k, having never run further than 5.5km. Big challenge… 

The Training

I completed a 6 week training programme, you can read about part 1, part 2 and part 3 here. It went pretty well despite having a cold in the middle of it so I went into the race feeling really rather excited and well prepared, something that I’ve never had before going into a fitness challenge!

The Race

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Having slept like a baby the night before I woke up feeling fresh and excited. I scoffed some porridge made with oats, water, strawberries, flaxseed and chia seeds in the car on the way over to Wembley and tried to drink as much water as possible. 

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The race village was bathed in sunshine and had a few food and drink stalls set up although most of it was just the bag drop. I ended up swapping my Run To The Beat t-shirt for an Allergy UK t-shirt to support Heron, who I was running with, and to make it easier for the boys (Simon and George) to spot us as we made our way round the course.

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Heron and I made our way into our pen where we had quite a long wait with some very annoying Fitness First warm-up people. They would have been better on a cruise-ship rather than warming up runners…

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Once we were walked down to the start line we were only waiting for 5 minutes before we hit the course which helped keep the nerves under control. After a quick good luck hug we were off. 

The first 3k flew by as we were shouted on by the boys at 1km and we found our pace. The first small hill came at 3k and we powered up it, skipping round all of the people who were walking and feeling pretty proud of ourselves. 

Pretty quickly we reached 5.5k where the real hills started. Between 5.5 and 7k there were a number of steady inclines and steep hills. We put our heads down, dug in and climbed those hills without walking. Looking at the splits, we didn’t even slow down too much! 

When we reached 8.5k (further than I’d ever run before) I hit the wall. Heron hit her stride and took off and while I tried to keep up for a bit, I lost her at around 9k.

The last 1k was one of the most difficult bits of running I’ve ever done. My arms and legs were like jelly, the sweat on my face had dried and become salty and the sun was very hot. 

When I turned the final corner the finish came into view along with the clock. It read 01.08.00. I’d been pacing myself to a 70 minute finish so I had only 2 minutes to make it round the next corner and down the hill. 

Cheered on by one final sighting of the boys I flew down the hill. stopping the clock at 01.09.02. Success!!

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The Results

1st km: 06:53

2nd km: 06:18

3rd km: 06:47

4th km: 06:31

5th km: 06:51

6th km: 07:04

7th km: 06:54

8th km: 06:46

9th km: 06:51

10th km: 07:07

TOTAL TIME: 01:09:02

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Now the real question… what next?! 

I’m definitely going to be signing up for the London Triathlon next year and I’m eyeing up a Spartan Race or two… Any thoughts on new fitness challenges for the next 6 months? 

 

Race Report: Run Hackney 5K

I’m not what you’d call a ‘natural runner’ but then I also thought that I wasn’t the kind of person who would enjoy kale in the mornings. I got that wrong.

I see running as a challenge, one to be conquered and therefore I’m going to try and overturn my aversion to running by… well… running. 

As a Hackney resident I was getting massive FOMO about the Run Hackney half marathon until they announced a 5k to be held the day before the big race. I immediately signed up. 

The Training

I didn’t do anything extra on top of my normal 4-5 weekly fitness studio sessions and the odd run so yes, the training went swimmingly

The race

Saturday dawned bright, hot and sunny. So I had a green smoothie and then went back to bed. By the time Simon and I finally left the flat, the sun was burning and we drank plenty of water on our 1.5 mile walk down to Hackney Marshes.

The race village was very well set up with lots of space, a clear bag-drop (which we didn’t use) and a smattering of food stands selling sushi, burgers, smoothies and coffee.

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We quickly lined up at the start having missed the warm up and waited nervously with a couple of hundred people of all shapes, ages and sizes. 

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And off we went! The first 1.5km was along a nicely shaded path and I smashed out my first km in 06:20. Although I was quickly being overtaken by a lot of people, I stayed steady at my pace as I didn’t want to burn out too quickly. 

The next 2 kilometres were run in a horseshoe around the football pitches. This was hell. It was very hot with no shade and all you could see was how far down you had to run before you could make the turns and run all the way back up. Torture.

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Once we’d finished the horseshoe of hell we turned onto the canal and ran in its delightful shade all the way back down to the entrance to Hackney Marshes. With Simon pacing me, we sped up as I wanted to make sure that I completed the run within 34 minutes (my previous unofficial PB). 

I’d somehow kept a bit in reserve as I started sprinting when I hit the plastic matting leading to the finish and powered through the finish. 

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The Results

As this wasn’t a timed race I used my Runtastic app to time myself and allegedly the course was 230m short of 5km! I felt a little cheated because of this BUT my average pace was 06:32 which is my fastest yet. 

I’m well on my way to hitting my goal of sub 30 minutes for a 5K so I’m using this as practice before I do Run To The Beat 10k in September. Eeek! 

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