My original plan for Sunday 26th July was to take part in the X-Border 10k from Gretna to Carlisle.
Since deciding upon this something had been niggling in the back of my mind about this date which had stopped me from signing up to the run.
It was only five weeks before that I worked out that I was actually going to a gig in London Saturday 25th so there was absolutely no chance of me doing the X-Border this year.
I was heading down to see the wonderful Do Me Bad Things perform a reunion gig. It had been nine years since they split up following the release of their debut album Yes! I’d seen them live once as support to The Darkness and it was there that I first took notice of this little known support act. Following that gig I got more and more invested in Do Me Bad Things and thought that they would go on to be a big act with a great future. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be and in 2006 they called it a day.
But for one night they were back and I was going.
Anyway, getting it back on to the subject of running. So with a 10k planned that I now couldn’t attend I had a look round in London to see what was available race-wise. There were two available options; The Regents Park 10k or a Half Marathon in Wimbledon. Having checked the logistic it seemed that Regents Park was a 5 minute walk then 10 minute tube ride from my hotel whereas Wimbledon was a near 50 minute train ride. Regents Park 10k it was then.
The week leading up to the run I had an incident where I pulled my back after bending over to pick something up. I really thought the run might have been in jeopardy but as the week progressed my back eased up a lot. It was still niggling but it wasn’t likely to cause too much of an issue if I took it carefully.
So I went down to London and saw an amazing, intimate and interactive gig from Do Me Bad Things. It’s such a shame that it was a one off but hopefully they’ll do it again one day and I can be in the crowd again to experience it. Not only did they do the vast majority of the songs from the Yes! album but they also managed to fit in a magnificent rendition of Sledgehammer and Crazy, Crazy Nights. As always Chantal Brown was a powerhouse of a singer and even better live, Mark Woods, with his gravelly tone, belted out one of my favourites in ‘Molly’s Wood’ and Nicolai Prowse was enigmatic while he drew the crowd in and played the showman. The main highlight for me was my favourite song off the album ‘What’s Hideous’ and to hear it live was electric. I absolutely love this band and nothing has come close since their split. Their album has helped me through some of the dark times which I’ve spoken about in this blog before but has also helped me enjoy the good times too. It’s worth checking out if you’ve never heard it. You can buy it from Amazon here. Also check out Mark Woods band Junkyard Choir. I bought the album while I was at the gig and it is brilliant…visit here for more info.
Anyhow, as this is a running blog let’s get back to that. After a not so bad sleep it was time for an early start on the Sunday to get sorted to head down to Regents Park. After arranging for a wake-up call from the hotel which never happened it was a good job that my body clock kicked in and woke me up just before 6am otherwise I could’ve been in bed all morning. I headed to the tube station at 7:30 with the intention of being at Regents Park for around 8 in time for registration opening at 8:15. What I hadn’t factored in though was how big Regents Park was. After a few wrong turns and misreading of maps I finally found the hub in the centre of the park where registration was taking place. By this time it was 8:45 but luckily registration took a matter of a couple of minutes and for once there were plenty of toilets on hand as well as somewhere to get changed.
I’d packed light for a change so I only had a small bag for the bag drop this time around which was lucky as all bags were just being dumped in a waiting area which was to be locked up and space was very limited. I’d read nothing about the run in the build-up to it so I had no idea that it was three identical laps around the park. Essentially it was just one big parkrun.
Five minutes before the start it started chucking it down and as the countdown to the race started I was already soaked through.
But it soon turned 9:30 and we were off. My aim was to get to my last lap without being lapped by another runner. Over a 10k like this I imagined that the winning time was likely to be in the early 30’s so I had something to aim for.
Not much to report in the early stages but about 2 mile in I became very aware that someone was trying to race me. He’d popped up a few times before and I thought nothing of it at first but having passed him a couple of more times I noticed that he was going past me and then trying to put some distance in but then looking around to see where I was. I was running my own race though and wasn’t really up for hammering myself for the next four miles. I kept him in my sights and let him get away over the second lap safe in the knowledge that my third lap would be where I pushed harder.
With the approach to the end of the second lap I was content in the fact that I hadn’t been lapped. But just as I was about to pass the line a guy absolutely belted past me to take the win in 32:33. Fair play to him because that is some going in the weather we were enduring. With 3k to go it was time to get a shift on. I knocked out a very quick 1k from 7k to 8k and spotted the guy who had been racing me just in the distance. It wasn’t long before I passed him and took off and started moving up the field a bit as I passed a few more along the way. By 9k a check of the watch revealed that I was looking for a finish of around 48 minutes. I’d take that in this weather.
With about ½ a kilometre to go my mate arrived again intent on getting past me. I’d been training at the track lately though and I’ve already got a fairly decent kick. What I wasn’t sure was about though was whether I could sustain kicking so early and hold it until the finish. I was about to find out though as I opened up and started my sprint for the finish a lot earlier than I ever done before. As I did so my fellow competitor was heard to utter “Oh for fuck sake”. That was when I knew that he had been definitely been racing me. I finished in a time of 48:39. It wasn’t my greatest 10k ever but it certainly wasn’t my worst. I was absolutely soaked but I had a train to catch so my plan was to run to the tube station and get the tube back to Euston and I’d get changed there. It wasn’t long before I was drying off and I was heading back home having fitted in another action packed weekend.
Coming up I’ve got the Carlisle Tri-Club Triathlon and London Triathlon on 2nd and 8th August respectively. At the end of the month I’ll be back up to half marathon distance when I tackle the Fleetwood Half Marathon.
To close out I’d like to take an opportunity to thank everyone that came out to my fundraising night for Cure Rett. The night went really well with nearly £700 raised in total which will bring my total up to around £1200 all in all. With a night of raffling, eating and dancing it was nice to see friends and family turn up and get behind a great cause. The main thing was to get awareness out there and I’d like to thank those that did turn up for sticking with me as I tried to get my words out and exhibited my lack of skill in mathematics. Public speaking is definitely NOT my thing.
Fundraising does continue over at just-giving so if you haven’t donated and you’d like to please do head over there by following this link.