I ran my first race of the year today: Stubbington 10k. I’ve run it four times previously, so I knew what to expect.
I got up early and went to collect some friends: Rodolfo, Khalid and Khalid’s wife and son. I had been worried about the drop in temperature and thought I might have to de-ice the car, but it was milder, so there were no problems with ice. However, I did have to fill the car with petrol, so was a little late to meet the others.
We had a good chat in the car and arrived in plenty of time to collect our race numbers and t-shirts. I was a little perturbed that most of my friends were in the white wave, which was faster than mine, but then most of them were expecting to finish in under 50 minutes.
Getting to the start of Stubbington 10k
Originally, I had hoped that I would be in PB form, but after being ill, I was just hoping that I could finish in under an hour. I thought that it might be possible for me to finish in around 55:15, as that’s close to two of the times I’ve achieved when I’ve not been running well.
When I was getting ready for the race, I met my old friend Lawrence. I first met him about 8 years ago. He was my first karate instructor, so he’s always been a great role model for me. It was a lovely surprise to see him and to be able to catch up.
I also bumped into fellow Japan cyclist and parkrunner, Jez, who was racing in his new club colours for the first time. Hopefully, he enjoyed the experience of having people shout encouragement for his team at him 🙂
My race plan
I went to the start line with a group of friends. Teri managed to catch up with us and she took a selfie of us at the start. The focus isn’t perfect, but the picture is so much better than any of my selfies – I always get the angle completely wrong!
I’ve learnt several things about myself and running:
- I always set off too quickly
- It takes me at least 2km if not further for my pace to settle into a rhythm
- I get despondent if I see a really slow pace on my watch
I decided that I should try to run based on feeling and that I would try not to look at my watch. I also decided that I would try not to set off too quickly. That’s hard as it always feels much easier when you’re fresh at the start of a race.
I set off at a reasonable pace and knew that I was probably going too quickly, but I decided not to try to chase after my teammates, as I know that most of them are capable of running much faster than me.
During the race
A few LRR ladies ran past me during the race, but it didn’t bother me as I was totally focused on running my own race. My breathing wasn’t good, but I decided that I should just carry on and do the best I could.
About 2km in, former LRR and fellow Cornishman, Mike, ran past me. We had a brief chat, but he looked like he was capable of going much faster, so I let him speed onwards.
The marshalls at this race were great, with the vast majority of them clapping enthusiastically and shouting encouragement, which can make such a difference. It was also great to see friends out on the course: Sonia, Gary, Lisa and Tim, in particular.
The finishing straight
Finally, I reached the home straight. I didn’t really have enough energy for a finishing sprint, but at least I hadn’t slowed down significantly:
I managed to finish Stubbington 10k in under 55 minutes, so it was my 3rd fastest [or 3rd slowest, for the pessimists!] attempt at this race.
After crossing the line, I saw Aurelio. I hadn’t realised that he was just ahead of me, although I had recognised Kelly who he was running with. I later saw that their chip times were identical to mine!
As the chips were embedded in our numbers, I didn’t have to stop whilst someone detached something from my shoes. This was a relief as I need to keep moving when I’ve been running, otherwise, I faint. I collected a banana and a bottle of water and then headed over to my friends.
How did my friends do?
It was great to catch up with Ruth, Khalid and Rodolfo. Ruth was one of a trio of friends who narrowly missed out on going under 50 minutes (Teri and Paul were the other two who were very close). Likewise, Rodolfo nearly managed to guide Khalid (who is visually impaired) to a sub-42-minute time, but they missed it by a few seconds. It was quite a busy course, so I think they all did brilliantly.
As we were leaving the finish area of the race, I was given a New Forest Running Festival buff. It’s dated 2015, but it was free and should be useful to keep in my saddle bag, in case I get cold when I’m out cycling!
Overall, I think this was a great race. Every entrant received a long-sleeved technical t-shirt, which I think is a great idea. Very few races give away long-sleeved t-shirts and I only wear technical tees when running, so this is a shirt that I’m likely to wear in the future.
I’ll be back again next year to do this race (I hope). I didn’t do enough running training in 2015, so after a fast start to the year, things ground to a halt. This year, I’m aiming for a negative split: start slow and build up to a stronger finish!
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?