Yesterday was the London Summer 10km, in Regent’s Park. The race was three laps of the top of the park (up near The Hub, and along by the Zoo). It also so happened that yesterday (ex-)Hurricane Bertha decided to rain down her glory on London. Needless to say that by the time the Neon Toddler and I got to The Hub to meet A we were drenched. Well, Neon Toddler wasn’t as she’d been tucked up in the buggy. A had cycled to Regent’s Park and looked like he had been sitting in the bath fully dressed. Anyway – we hung about for around fifteen minutes before I left A and NT to squelch over to the start line.
I don’t mind running laps, really. I know a lot of people don’t really like it, but I think it can actually work to your advantage in some cases. It does give you an opportunity to get to know the course a little bit. There is one thing I particularly don’t like about racing on a lapped course and that is kilometre markers. Obviously you know which markers are the ones for the lap that you’re on (no one is silly enough to think that they are passing 6kms on their first lap, for example), but it can mess with your head a little bit. Seeing the 8 and 9km markers on your first lap reminds you that there is still a long way to go (relative to the length of the race), and similarly seeing the 1 and 2km markers on your final lap can make you feel a bit tired. But, I like knowing where the markers are, so on the first two laps I specifically look out for the 8 and 9km markers and start to plan a bit of a strategy relating to the course itself.
This all sounds very calculated and technical, and really it’s not. It’s equal parts time filling and distracting.
But yesterday it kind of worked out well for me. I had slotted in behind a girl in yellow and black tights. She was running slightly faster than my regular hard pace, and I thought if I could run with her for a bit then I might get into a kind of rhythm. My goal for this particular race was to try and run hard – the Gunnersbury 10km last month had been just a regular training run of sorts, but this was specifically to push as hard as I could over the distance, so that I can use this time to figure out my pacing for the Ealing Half. This is why I was happy to keep up with this girl running a little bit too fast for me.
Anyway – nothing particularly exciting happened during the first two laps. Going through the water station on the first lap a guy in front of me tipped a cup of water over his head. It was still raining. I giggled about that for a few hundred metres, but then it was back to the regular grind. Somewhere on the second half of the second lap I decided that if I was still close to yellow-and-black-tights at the end I would try and beat her. Around the same point on the third lap – still about five steps behind her – I looked at my Garmin and
realised that I was close to running sub-60. Which I haven’t done in over 18 months. After that I kind of forgot about beating yellow-and-black and concentrated on the clock. I overtook her just after the 9km marker, and stayed in front of her until right at the end, and she ended up crossing the line just ahead of me. But, that was secondary to the fact that I knocked around 4 minutes off my 10km time from last month, for a new PB!
So that’s it. You can see the full break-down on Strava. The official chip time was 59:44, by as you can see my Garmin recorded 59:46. I’m not super fussed about the two seconds. Today I’m down for an easy 5km, and this week sees really serious half-marathon training commence. It’s an exciting time to be running!