It was my birthday request to my husband, Brian, to have him run a race with me. I carefully floated the idea of a 10K race, and set about finding one, which was a suitable distance of time to allow for enough training. Then low and behold I found the RunUK 10K race in Hyde Park – on my bloody birthday. It was like all the stars had aligned when I told my Brian of the plan, and he agreed.
We set about training for the race, and because we were juggling the kids on most days, we only managed one run together. Although since we are fully connected and tracked on Strava, we were able to pour over each other’s statistics after each run. (Click here to follow me on Strava)
In the last few weeks, Brian fell foul to some shin splints, and although he soldiered on, it was inevitable, and he had to pull out. He promised to run another 10K later in the year, once he figured out what was wrong with his little legs. Bless.
Why oh why
Now, let’s backtrack a minute. Why on earth would you want to run a 10K on your birthday, it’s not exactly the most relaxing, pampering activity out there is it? Aside from hoping that Brian would fall in love with running during his training, I was also hoping to go Sub 50 (running the race in under 50 minutes). My previous race 10K PB set in Feb 2017, of 50:55, I felt I could get under this. Some sort of silly, hey I may be getting older, but I’m getting faster.
Okay, so that’s why I’m doing this. I’ve almost failed on one count – Brian professing he hates running after every training run, but if he’s promised to race again later in the year, we’ll close the chapter, but not the book, and keep the hope alive.
So next, can I still run a PB at this race? My training was a little derailed by running with Brian and Ellis and in turn running for them at their paces, and not for me at the paces I needed. I also had a cold, which stopped me for just under a week. But these are all handy excuses – the real problem was that I found training for a 10K on its own, quite hard.
There was so much speed work, with long intervals, and no lovely long mind clearing runs to look forward to. Plus, with my 2 day-a-week cycle commute, I struggled to adhere to the all the MyAsics runs and couldn’t see a way to substitute a run for a cycle.
When I look back, when I’ve run my fastest (over both 5K and 10K) when I’ve been doing some 20K plus LSR (long slow runs) as a part of training for a half marathon.
Anyways, I was hopeful that the race day enthusiasm would pull me through, and in training I was comfortably hitting 52 minutes for a 10K.
So, onto the race
I at Hyde Park Tube station and dutifully plugged the post code into google maps, and starting walking, as I blipped digitally along the path. Now, it was pure luck, as the direction I was walking from, I could easily spot the race inflatable start/finish line, which was much sooner on the map than the pinpointed post code location.
Once I arrived, I collected my race number, and asked the lady about changing the name on Brian’s race entry (which I had pre-arranged with the very friendly RunUK team on email). The lady was a little confused I didn’t have to pay a name change fee – but RunUK said I didn’t have to on email, and she seemed happy enough when I explained that.
We were told prior to arrival that the loos cost 20p, and to be aware of this, as everyone likes a pre-race tinkle. By the time I got to the ladies, the loo attendant must have given up, and the barriers were open, score, 20p back in my pocket!
The race organiser gave a little welcome speech, and reminded everyone to stick around at the end, in case they won a prize, as there lots of categories to claim glory. Unfortunately, he broke the music system while giving his announcements, and an eerie quietness descended after he’d finished his welcome. This quietness continued through the warm-up, which was a little cringey (in fact a lot cingey) but that made us all giggle a little bit and weakened those pre-race nerves.
The race marshals where all very supportive and well placed around the course, which was important as there were quite a few twists and turns. Plus, with a field of less than 160 runners, often the person in front of me disappeared just out of sight.
I pushed hard for the first loop (5K) and was right on race pace, and then I just gave up. It was hot, and I was tired and it was my birthday. Lots of negative thoughts started to creep it, and I didn’t want to kill myself on this course, on this day, I just wanted to finish. I walked through the water station and then dropped my pace for the second lap. I finished 51:34, so less than a minute over my PB of 50:55. For basically having thrown in the towel half-way through, I’m more than happy with this time.
The race medals handed out at the end were a pretty bog-standard affair, but the colourful ribbon proved a hit with my 3-year old. The race times were up on the website almost instantly – and we were all glued to our phones analysing our results. We stuck around for the presentations, and my friend Pip got 3rd female. The female who took first place went missing, but my 3-year old jumped up onto the podium and they gave him the trophy to hold while they took a photo – too cute.
And I guess that sums it all up – a not too serious race, with personality, and a friendly field of runners. Well organised and for a reasonable price. I would recommend RunUK races if you come across one in the future.
Would I recommend running a 10K on your birthday – jury’s out…
Have you tried to convince a loved one to love running? Have you ever ran a race on your birthday? Have you every used a MyAsics training plan? Please share, I’d love to hear your thoughts.