French Bloke Runs

Shut up and run!

Tag: Indifferent deer

Bushy Park 10K in August

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.

Deer at Bushy Park

Deer at Bushy Park

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!

Bushy Park 10K

Sunday 7am, the alarm rings. YIKES!!! What on earth went through my mind when I signed up for this race at the other end of London at 10am on a January Sunday?

Nah, just kidding. Actually I don’t mind getting up early. Without the alarm I would probably have gotten up before 8 anyway. Yes I’m a lark, and I’m happy about it: it leaves me plenty of time to do lots of things. Successful people get up early. Take that, owls!

Back to my story. Sunday 7am, alarm rings, eyes open, body leaves the bed quietly to avoid waking up the other occupant (who’s an owl) and dresses up quietly, mouth gives a light breakfast to stomach, hands prepare a thermos bottle full of hot tea because skin tells it’s freaking cold outside, brain manages the commute alright with a little help from smartphone, reader is tired of terse sentences so author switches back to legible style.

I arrived very early at Hampton Court because I was afraid I wouldn’t find the race start. In the end it was really easy to find but I didn’t regret arriving early because it gave me enough time to go 4 times to the bog to empty my bladder from all that hot tea. It also gave me time to warm-up a little, even though I don’t have a set routine yet. Apart from a little jogging and that silly dance we invented with a Polish bloke, one of these nights we ended up as drunk as lords (the French expression is “as drunk as a Pole”, it may be derogatory but it’s appropriate here) raising our knees very high up one after another on the beat of the music.

The race begins. We’ve been warned that the track is muddy and slippery at places but the first kilometre is good. Too good even and I have to restrain my enthusiasm as I had decided to underperform slightly for the first 5K lap in order to save myself for the second lap. The marker for kilometre 3 shows up and shortly after, the muddy part begins. I struggle to keep my pace but I have to if I want to reach my target. My feet get bogged down at each step and it becomes really hard. I manage to stay at the same pace but my heart pays dearly for it: it rushes up to 206 bpm, that is 16 bpm more than my previously recorded max HR! The deer on the side of the path chew some grass, they clearly don’t give a fuck.

The second lap begins and we return to a more passable terrain. I follow the plan and speed up a little bit. Even though I was running alone most of the first lap, I’m now following a dude in a black tracksuit with red edging. I realise I should accelerate even a bit more. So I overtake black-tracksuit and my new pacemaker is a girl with an orange top. Clearly she’s a better runner than I am and the distance between us grows little by little. Then comes the dreaded marker for kilometre 8. If you follow and if you remember your maths from kindergarten you know it’s the same as kilometre 3 of lap 1. It’s where the muddy part starts.

My shoes stick to the mud, my heart goes crazy again, the deer still don’t give a single fuck (do they ever?) and black-tracksuit overtakes me. That’s a bit of a downer innit? Soon the finish line is in sight, I hear another guy catching up with me, the volunteer in the last curve shouts something like “Sprint now, don’t let him catch you up!”. So I do. I don’t know where I find the energy but I do.

I cross the finish line, check my watch, 44:47, I did it! I ran a 10K under 45 minutes and almost 2 minutes better than my previous PB! I love you volunteer! I could kiss you! But you’re a dude and anyway the one I really want to kiss now is probably rubbing her eyes in our bed at this very moment.

© 2018 French Bloke Runs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑