As part of my training for my next Half-Marathon, I have to run a couple of 10K races and I decided to run the Bushy Park 10K again. I already ran it last January and I accomplished the feat of establishing a new PB despite the cold and the mud, so I thought I could repeat this achievement in the summer. But I had a sub-optimal preparation for this race: I ran all my hills, intervals and easy runs but I spent the past 2 weeks drinking – first for a stag do, then with a very good friend who came visiting for a whole week. Not only that, but I had to get up at 5am the day of the race to bring said friend back to the station, so saying that I was tired before the race is an understatement.
Anyways, I arrived at Bushy park early, which gave me time to rekindle with my friends the indifferent deer who just care about chewing grass. As part of my usual routine, I went to the loo, tied a double-knot on my shoes and I then warmed up for the race with the usual 10 minutes easy run followed by some dynamic stretching and some more funny running warm-ups (skipping, side steps, high knees, high heels, etc). I then showed up on the starting line with my brand new Serpentine running vest, it feels good running with colours to represent. There were runners from other clubs but I was the only one from Serpentine and I figured I had to do well for the club.
When the start signal was given, I started running a bit too fast so I paced myself. I was aiming towards beating my PB so I kept a pace between 4:00 and 4:10 minutes per kilometre. By chance, another chap was running at the exact same pace right from the start! So I used him as a pacemaker (or maybe he was using me as a pacemaker), we ran alongside each other for the bigger part of the first 5k lap. It was hard but I though I could sustain it. Then, a few hundred metres before the 5th kilometre, my legs didn’t want to carry on and my pace dropped slowly. My pacemaker carried on and I saw him take the lead on me little by little. I finished the first lap in 21:09, which was perfect for my target of beating my PB: I just had to catch up on my pacemaker and that would be it! But my legs really didn’t want to carry on and my pace continued to drop. At the 6th kilometre, another bloke caught up on me and asked me if I was alright, to which I answered that I had started too fast and that I now didn’t think I would be able to run under 42:22 as originally planned. He too overtook me after a while, with a bunch of other runners. After the 7th kilometre, my legs were so reluctant that my only goal was to finish the race and not to give in to the desire to walk. My pace continued dropping and I was now even slower than my Half-Marathon pace and I was dangerously approaching my easy run pace. But my legs were hurting more and more and I was just fighting to continue running. The 2 weeks of non-stop drinking really took their toll on me. But because I was wearing the club’s colours, I had to carry on at all cost. One of the deer even jogged alongside me for a couple hundred metres and this gave me a bit of courage. And I did it, I ran until the end despite the fatigue. I finished 14th with the lame time of 44:56 but I was happy anyway because I hadn’t given up. It seems I wasn’t the only one to under perform: I had a chat with a guy who finished 2 minutes slower that he expected. Had I finished 2 minutes and 30 seconds faster, as originally planned, I would have finished 9th or 10th, I would have loved it!
So the general feeling after this race was disappointment, but it also gave me motivation to get back to a healthier and less alcoholic lifestyle. Hopefully I can beat my 10K PB in September!