The Scribbler

8 November 2009

Heaton Harriers memorial 10k

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 18:30
Tags: ,

Oh how my heart sank when I saw the rain this morning. That was definitely not forecast. And Saturday had been such a gorgeous day. I listened to it lashing against the windows for a while as I snoozed and started pondering wet weather gear.

The main dilemna going through my mind was glasses on or glasses off. I usually run with them on, but that can make things a bit tricky when it’s lashing it down. I can see well enough to run without them, but again it’s a confidence thing. Going to have to invest in some contact lenses methinks.

Porridge, banana, blueberries and honey for breakfast, bag packed with a variety of wet/cold weather gear and off I go. First stroke of luck was finding a parking space and a nice lady with her kids offering me her ticket for the day. Next was bumping into one of my work pals Kathryn who runs for Wallsend Harriers as I arrived looking lost and wondering where to go. A short bimble around by the cafe showed me parts of the course would be wet and muddy – a first for me.

I also spotted Ian and Kelda thanks to the huge blue umbrella she was carrying. I think Kelda may be my lucky charm as she’s been there waiting patiently at the end of all the races I’ve really enjoyed.

The line up at the start was surprisingly busy. One woman asked if I’d run this race before and told how she’d fallen 800m from the end of this year’s Great North Run, so this was her first race back. I sensed she was nervous and wanted to share that for some reassurance. We wished her good luck.

The crowd of bodies on the start line were a welcome warmth as we stood in silent remembrance.

I didn’t have a plan for this race – just run and enjoy it, with no eye on the clock. Ian was soon away. At the first sign of space he was off like a rabbit over the muddy grass and out of sight. I spotted Kathryn and another Wallsend Harrier as I rounded the lake and determined to keep them in sight for as long as I could. My first kilometre was a heck of a pace for me as a result. But I felt good, wanting to be moving to warm up cold hands, breathing easy and feeling strong.

I lost Kathyrn just after the 2km mark and settled into my own run. I wasn’t really taking in anything much. I started to get confused with the distance markers – was that distance to go, or marking the distance it would be on the next lap? I settled for the reassuring beep of my Garmin and ran my own race.

After the first initial surge from the start line I just kept feeling people going past me all the time. But I was happy, in my zone, running well, stretching out. Finding my own space.

A couple of times I felt someone on my shoulder. The first, a guy wearing a yellow Blaydon race shirt. He’d drawn level with me and then fell back. “Keep it coming”, I said. And he replied, “I’m tired already”. I think we were about 3.5km in. Then a blonde girl in black. I encouraged her past me, then overtook as she slowed for drinks at the half way point. Because I felt generous today. It was part of taking the pressure off. Still running, yes. Still trying. But enjoying it. And sharing that.

This is a nice flat course, but in parts there were huge puddles and muddly leaf strewn corners that could have you sliding if you weren’t carfeul. After giving my right foot a real soaking in an unexpected pothole at the gateway back onto the town moor on the first lap, I just piled on through the puddles, figuring my feet couldn’t get much wetter.

Muddy trainers

Don't think I'm going to take up cross-country anytime soon

I’ll use waterlogged shoes and socks as a convenient excuse for slowing down a little between 5 and 6 km. I struggled a bit, felt my concentration going and my pace slipping. A short runner in a blue top that I’d passed on the first lap overtook me and I couldn’t match her again. I dug into my shorts pocket and treated myself to some dried mango, telling myself to hang on until 7km.

There’s a spot on my regular long running route that’s about 15 mins from home (so around 3 km, roughly). I mark it everytime I pass it. And from there it’s just running home. So that’s what I imagined as I passed the 7km mark.

I determined to keep in with the group of runners I’d been with for a while and try not to fall back any further. A runner wearing a Welsh dragon vest was my marker for much of the last few km.

By now I was completely confused by the distance markers. I thought I’d see the 1km to go and then kick in, but either I missed it or it wasn’t there. Because it came as almost a surprise to be heading for the finish. My kick in lasted about 100m and I stopped my watch at 51:55.

1. 04:50
2. 05:08
3. 05:08
4. 05:02
5. 05:11
6. 05:31
7. 05:31
8. 05:19
9. 05:15
10. 04:54

So a shiny new PB and a comfortable run – that’s a pretty good early birthday present to give yourself isn’t it? 🙂

Race results

Thanks to all the organisers and marshalls.

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