British 10k 2018

When I was pregnant, after I’d stopped running, my thoughts were on my return to racing. It had been over a year since I’d really dug deep and raced.

I wrote down all my PBs across distances from 5k to half marathon. And then I took a calculator and added 10%. This, I decided, would be my target for the next year. They still looked pretty challenging for someone who, by the time she was properly running again, wouldn’t have set a PB in two years.

I hit my parkrun goal last month, and now it was time to take on the 10k.

I headed to the British 10k, courtesy of a PR place. It’s a big race with a lot of people to get over the start line. I was in the third start pen in the first wave, so I was quick to get away and the runners thinned out pretty quickly once we got over the line.

I’d run this race before a couple of years ago, but I’d forgotten how the gradients you never notice walking round London jump up and smack you in the face during the route.

There’s out and back sections on Regent Street, Charing Cross Road, Westminster Bridge and Victoria Street where you can have a look at what’s going on ahead and behind you, as well as spending all of the out wondering where exactly the back starts.

It was a hot day and the organisers had warned that we should be on high alert and take care. There was water available in the start pens, showers on the course and small amounts of shade which saw many of us forgetting the racing line and heading to the cooler tarmac.

Around 4 miles I took a bottle of water which, without exaggeration, was the same temperature as my son’s bath water. It was then that I had to stop telling myself that it wasn’t THAT hot.

10k races have never been my strength. The feel hard like a 5k but last longer. Race time predictors are problematic but both my 5k and marathon time suggest my 10k PB is on the wrong side of 45 mins. But my +10% calculations put my goal for the race at 50:05, rounded down to sub-50.

Somewhere in mile five, on the stretch along the Thames towards Westminster Bridge I gave up on that goal. It hurt and I wanted to walk. But then I had a few sips of Nuun just before the bridge while I walked to drink from the cup. I started running again and passing the 8km marker, I realised I could still make it round in under 50 mins.

The last mile was a bit of a blur. An out and back past parliament and then the home straight finishing just past Downing Street. There were no 400m or 200m to go signs and I panicked that the finish was further away than I needed it to be. But then it was over, I stopped my watch and 49 mins and 22 seconds after we started, I collected my medal and headed home.