Sunday 6th May - the day of the Sutton 10k. After picking up Danny and Kirsty en-route, we made it to the start about with about an hour to space - enough time to get parked, apply a drop of sun-cream, find the toilets, drink some lucozade sport, have a warm-up, find the toilets again, check the entry list, and then line up for the start.
My target for this race was to go sub 40 minutes - which is one of the “big” barriers in 10k racing. My times over recent years have been as follows:
- 2002 - Nike Run London - about 75 minutes (including a toilet break half way round!)
- 2003 - Blenheim Castle 10k - 55:27 (a bit of a hilly course this one)
- 2004 - Bognor Prom - 52:59 (beautiful sunshine)
- 2005 - Bognor Prom - 46:28 (beautiful sunshine)
- 2006 - Bognor Prom - 44:26 (wet and windy)
- 2006 - Arundel Castle - 44:35 (hilly)
- 2007 - Chichester - 43:32 (coming back from injury)
So, this leads me to this past weekend. I’ve been running seriously for just over a year now, and have been training hard to go sub-40 at the Bognor Prom race in a couple of weeks time, but chose to try and break it at Sutton.
Once we’d started I was a little caught up in the crowd of people so pushed ahead but not too aggressively. I didn’t see the 1km marker (apparently it was on the other side of the road!), so was unable to get a realistic pace time until the 2km mark - which I hit at 7:36 - which would mean a 38 minute finish time at that pace. This was far too fast and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up! I needed to ease off slightly at this point but some of the damage had been done. I just had to keep the pace up, but pace myself better.
By the 5k mark I came through at around 19:28, which was still quite fast, but my first 2k’s accounted for that. In the second half of the race I was overtaken by Clare, a fellow runner from The Stragglers running club who was looking strong so I just made sure I kept close to her (size-wise she wasn’t ideal for me to draft off of), and keep running hard.
As we headed into the final kilometer I had just over 4 minutes to work with and provided I still had energy in the tank I could do this. Thankfully its very flat for the last k, and not much wind either which was a good thing. I don’t recall any mighty “kick” near the finish but I do know we ran pretty hard and before I knew it I crossed the line in 39:45. Sweet.
Its great to get a sub-40 time in what I’d say isn’t a really ideal course for breaking records - its very twisty-turney with kerbs and roads to go up/down/cross-over, and topped off with a bit of a breeze during parts of the race. However, that’s all behind me and I’ve moved to the next level.
The afternoon was spent round at Clare’s (and her fella’s place) for a BBQ with a number of other friends which was a great way to round off the day. I was tempted by a few celebratory beers but I’m still in fairly hard training, with a half marathon next weekend and then the 10k I’m been looking forward to for a long time the week after.
My alcohol consumption at present is almost nil, which I’m kinda enjoying - meaning I can use those saved calories on other things…like chocolate!
Finally, before you all fall asleep from reading this, I thought I’d share a graph I put together showing my splits and heart rates for this race and the previous 10k, the one in Chichester from February. I did this purely for my own interest/benefit but maybe one of you readers will find this of some interest.