I was looking for a race I could do with my friend Hollie, and this one popped up, a 10KM evening run at Olympic Park. I was pretty sure Hollie would be in, as the race was in the evening – so childcare was sorted, 10K – a do-able distance, and the last piece of the puzzle – it was easy to get to. And I was right, Hollie was on board, so we booked it up!
Now, after my birthday 10KM (you can read about it here), I’d pretty much written off the distance as one that I want to train in. 10KM is hard. I mean you pretty much have to run fast the whole way, and that is tough, as it’s not exactly a short distance.
What training plan?
So, this time around I didn’t do any specific race training for it. My weekly mileage is quite high (for me) topping out around 25-30 miles a week, as I am in the middle of trying to finish off my #run1000miles in 2018 challenge (read more about MyMindMiles here). I’ve also neglected doing any speed work, not even attending any Sweatshop Thursday night intervals sessions (check out the Teddington SRC FB page if you are local). So, no real plan for me.
Hollie did lots of her training on hills, so it felt tough and she wasn’t sure she was in sub 60 shape, which was her goal. I offered to pace Hollie to sub 60, but she wasn’t keen. Fair play. So I was on my own, with my own mental battle deciding between if I was going to run for fun, or give it some welly and see what happens ⚖️.
I had planned on working in the office that day, and going straight to Stratford from Hammersmith. But at the last minute my husband had a meeting in Richmond which clashed with school pick-up, so, I worked from home. While at home, I may have over indulged in Melktert (it’s a South African thing, and very yummy). But it did make me feel very full and I was concerned this was not ideal pre-race fuelling.
It was pretty easy to get there, train straight to Waterloo and Jubilee line over to Stratford. I was grateful Hollie was there at Stratford to guide us straight to the Orbital.
We easily found the number pick up, and got everything attached, number and timing chip, and then proceeded to bag drop. We were pretty shivery and constantly reviewing what we were going to run in. One vest or two, gloves or no gloves, jacket or no jacket. Decisions made, we left the bags with the friendly Runthrough team, and went off in search of the loos.
I’m always thankful for an indoor loo, and these were great, lovely and warm, bright and clean. With 15 minutes to go, the queue looked big to me, but there were so many toilets, we sailed to the front for that essential pre-race wee!
We headed outside and the pre-race warm up was going on. We were too far in the back, so no idea what was going on and just jogged in place. Hollie did some impressive high kicks and when I tried them I nearly fell on my bum (tight hip flexors or what 😂), so I just settled for opening and closing the gate (a bit more my flexibility level – like this).
The start was a little haphazard, we weren’t sure what was going on, and much like at the other RunThrough race that I did (Wimbledon Half) the numbers were being called out left right and centre, and we weren’t sure when to get into the start funnel. In the end, we just piled into the start funnel and went.
From my previous 10KM personal best (PB) of 50:55 almost 2 years ago, I knew during that race I started off faster, on feel, more so than I normally would. So, I did the same here, music on, I just went on feel, a bit faster than I would normally. There was lots to distract me, enabling me to keep the pace up, the marshals were all waggling their tambourines 🕺, the runners clad in hi-vis and glow sticks, and the orbital glowing red as a constant beacon.
This course was 4 laps, and I thought I would hate the laps, but actually I loved them. As a runner, I’m constantly mentally breaking up my runs, half way, ¾ way, and the laps did just that, but in a much more physical way, and at just 2.5km per lap, they seemed short.
The runners were all very friendly, and due to probably missing my start time (amidst all the confusion) I had plenty to pick-off and pass. I wasn’t cold as the air was really still, and it was near perfect conditions. I didn’t stop for water, every time I passed the table (3 times), I didn’t want any, and I didn’t want to slow to drink, as I thought I was on the cusp of my goal pace.
I kept my watch covered for most of the race, and kept trying to run to feel, and I was pretty much right on my goal pace each time a peeked at it. During the last lap, I kept my watch out, as I didn’t want to let the pace slip away by not paying attention. It hurt, and I was struggling at times, so I just tried to embrace it, and kept saying in my head, ‘don’t let it go, it hurts and that’s okay’.
There was a final little incline and I saw a male runner in blue, just up ahead, I tried to take the inside of the corner, and he cut the same corner a little tight. After the near collision, we powered on to the finish. I opened up my stride and started to go for it, and out of my peripheral vision I could see he was doing the same, we were neck and neck. I smiled and thought, game on. We kept pushing and crossed the line together 🏁.
I was surprised to see the time on the clock in the 48s, as I thought I was just squeaking in under 50. I shook hands with my finish sprinting buddy. I’ve never been so proud of a medal. I quickly got my bag to get my hoodie on, as although I was warm now, I knew as the sweat dried (lovely right) I would get cold. I was busy texting some friends at the finish line, while waiting for Hollie and she sailed in, at 58 minutes. Queue – big hugs, lots of laughter and congratulations and selfies by the finish!
We didn’t stick around for too long, just collecting her bag, and we headed off in search of food! Just like last time, the photos were up on the facebook page very quickly, and of a great quality. Love the free race photos!
As my second RunThrough race, I can easily say that these races are well organised, fun, reasonably priced, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any runner doing one!
Are you keen on doing a RunThrough race this year? There are still plenty of options – check out their upcoming races here.