One in Ten

I am the one in ten
A number on a list…

After blowing my best chance of making the top ten in the club Grand Prix by missing the penultimate race where I could have scored good points, it was going to take a huge effort at the last fixture. Regardless of what I did, I was also reliant on the top 3 runners not being too fast, and that others vying for the top ten either not turn up or not improve their score.  Even then it looked like 11th would be the best achievable.  However I had no control over others, so all I could do was put in a good performance and que sera.

Then, to reduce my chances further, everyone in the world around me started coming down with viruses the week before. A 10.5k steady packrun on Weds was followed up by Tod park 5k race 2, aiming for the same time as race 1 and came in 7 seconds faster at 20:12. GPS

On Saturday, we had a stop off on the way at Preston parkrun for a steady 4.5km, with a mad blast along the last 500m for 22:05 – oops, slightly ahead of the 24 min target. It was then straight back in the car and off to the other side of Preston for Wesham 10k. GPSmi myra prestonpr 5

After an easy warm up I was raring to go, and popped to the loo with 5 minutes to go, then headed towards the start only to find 400 runners had vanished! Err… spotted a couple of runners in other direction and discovered start had moved, jogged down the road, and along, and along and half a mile later arrived along with the last few runners with seconds to spare.

The plan was simple, run an even pace around 3:55 km pace depending on the undulations for about 39:10 or so.

We shot off down the narrow start lane, felt much too fast and glanced at watch to find it had failed to start. Not good when I was due to rely on it heavily. Started it, unsure how far we had come, maybe 0.5km give or take a couple of hundred metres, clueless but let it slide as there was no point worrying. Stick to the pace plan and everything would be fine. Then we turned and it became apparent the route had changed as well. Arse!

There was another Tod runner, John, just ahead which was going to be distracting, so I decided to overtake to get him out my sight line and went through my first (recorded) km at 3:44. Too fast and adjusted as we hit a tough railway bridge, but decided to track a Lancaster girl. Stuck with her for a while but pace was feeling just a little hard for this early so let her slip away, and hit next two km’s at 3:54.  That gave me a boost as I was near bang on target, just needed to stick at this now.

I ended up a in no man’s land and regretted not going for it. Some noisy negative chatter kicked in and I slipped back slightly for a 3:56 which was ok with the undulations. Got caught by a couple of runners and we interchanged a bit through next couple of km but both 3:55 gave hope again that I had my pace perfect, as long as I could keep it going to the end.  Let the negative thoughts go and concentrated on the positive pacing so far.

The next two km were 3:54’s to further boost mood and around the 4 mile mark John came past looking strong, distracting as I kept him in reach and as we approached 5 miles I knew the up slope was nearly over so pushed on to pass him back. As we turned a corner I expected a bit of down but it was still slightly up and after another corner we had a bit of new route and a down and tough up. Fortunately a Wesham woman who was finishing well came alongside and I tried to work with her, although it was more like hanging on, and somehow managed to go through next km in 3:56.

It was hard mentally keeping up – lot of negative chatter in my head again – but I knew my pace was right and despite what my legs were telling me, I knew they could keep going. I half expected John to come back past but by keeping pace up just managed to stay ahead. It was all about my time though and the last 0.6km was at 3:54 pace for a very pleasing 38:51 – and 6 seconds off my PB! GPS

Legs felt great on the Sunday but my HR was about 10-15 up so decided against a planned long run despite feeling well – the power of the mind appears to have held the virus attack at bay for just long enough to achieve my goal.

There then followed the long wait until Monday evening for confirmation that not only had I successfully made the top ten, but by 0.1 squeezed into 9th place as a bonus. Highest ever GP finish, and the reward of a little trophy to go with the certificate.