Having come off the back of the marathon leg of The Lakesman my plan was always to do a few 10k’s as I started building up to Chester Marathon in October.
The best thing about the 10k’s that I had chosen were that they had fun runs setting off before the main races. This meant that I could also take the boy and we could do a run together beforehand.
So first up was Appleby 10k on Sunday 26th June.
We had done this run the year previous and it entails a 4k fun run at 10:30am followed by the 10k at Midday.
Luckily we’ve become well versed as a family in getting organised and getting out of the house so we were on the road by 08:45am and en-route to Appleby.
On arrival the boy and I went and got our bib numbers for the 4k and I grabbed mine for the 10k. The lady behind the registration desk said; “Ooh, you’ve come a long way.”
It was a strange one because we didn’t consider 40 minutes down the road by car a long way. But there you go.
By the time 10:15am rolled around the boy and I headed over to the car park to join in the mass warm up. This basically entailed dancing to ‘Sexy and I know it’ by LMFAO. This was fairly entertaining as it’s one of the boys favourite songs at the moment so he was having a good dance to it.
We set off for the 4k at 10:30am and there was a fairly large group doing it. We haven’t quite worked out pacing with the boy yet so, as usual, he set off at a sprint. He was, however, better than last year because he managed to get to 1k before he tired and stopped running for a little walk. The next 2k was a lot of stop/start until we got to the final 1k where he started running because he wanted to get back to see his mummy and have a burger. He finished in a decent time of 33:49 and definitely earned his burger. He was also chuffed that, as he ran to the finish line, a few DH Runners who were taking part in the 10k had turned up and had started cheering him on. It gave him a great feeling to be cheered to the finish line and to get his medal and he didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, I had to get myself sorted for the 10k. A change of trainers and vest and I was ready to go. Once sorted and warmed up it wasn’t long before the race was due to start. Simon and I headed over to the start area and placed ourselves where we thought it best to start. Little did we know that that would effectively be at the front. As other club runners gathered around us we possibly started to realise that we were maybe too far forward but it was probably a little too late as we were given the ready, set, go and we were off. I definitely started off a little too fast as I found myself at the front of the pack and then in the top five for the better part of the first mile. Normality returned though as I settled in to my pace and probably round about where I should be at the moment as a few passed me over the next mile or so. On the approach to 3 miles though I was aware that there wasn’t many in front of me and there wasn’t anyone in sight behind so I was in a bit of a no-man’s land. As I came to four miles I started to advance on the two runners in front of me and overtook them but the dreaded slog from four mile to five mile was coming. It seems everyone suffers a dip in pace at this point for whatever reason. With the approach to mile five coming up I knew that there was a lot of downhill coming up so I decided to just go for it. It was at this point that myself and another runner had been trading places and we continued to do so right up to mile six and the approach to the finish line on the grass field. He suddenly shot off and I couldn’t keep up with him. Due to us racing each other though we’d gone past four other runners so we’d both moved well up position wise.
I finished with a time of 45:20 and was surprised to find that I’d finished 37th out of 136. I’ve been moving up a bit position wise lately so I’m more than happy to finish in the top forty.
Last year I missed out on the pork and apple burgers so, having ran a bit faster this year, I dispatched Mrs C from the finish line to go and buy one, only to find that the person in front of her had just bought the last one. Genuinely gutted. In a good turn of events the guy covering the stall ended up chucking an extra sausage and onions in my sausage butty to cheer me up.
The Appleby 10k and fun run is organised by Appleby Rotary Club. Sponsorship money raised from the 4k fun run is spread around local schools.
The following Sunday, 3rd July, saw the family head out to Workington to take part in the Festival of Running.
The Festival of Running was organised by CN Events as a way of promoting the opening of the new leisure centre in Workington. The event comprised of a 1k fun run, a 5k run and a 10k run.
Given that the boy has been doing 4-5k for the last year or so he didn’t really want to do the 1k fun run so we got him entered in the 5k with me doing the 10k after that.
The 5k set off at 12:30 with the 10k at 13:30 so it was going to be tight to finish the 5k then get sorted for the 10k but the main thing was that the boy enjoyed his run.
There was a lot going on around the registration tent with bouncy castles, clip and climb walls, football, face painting as well as ADHD awareness and MIND stalls for people to have a chat.
We had a little game of football and then the kids sat and ate a picnic while we waited for the 5k to kick off but 12:30 soon rolled around and, despite having ran around for the better part of an hour, the boy was fired up and ready to go.
Having gone off his previous times for 5k’s I knew we were looking at around 45 minutes and I knew that there were going to be parts we were going to walk some sections so it was just a case of trying to keep him motivated so he didn’t walk all the way round.
I’ve found a few handy tips to keep him motivated during a run which include getting him to run to the next marshal and getting him to run to a sign to tell me what it says and then, when we’re close to the end, I tell him that mummy is just around the corner which keeps him going.
He ran the first 10 minutes this time before tiring and having to walk. We then hit the cycle path which was a mixture of some uphill and some downhill so we walked most of the uphill (although he stormed up some of them when he had the energy) and we ran the downhill sections. He did really, really well and kept saying he wanted to get his medal at the end (and a burger) so that gave him the motivation to keep going. We reached the approach to the finish and he started a little sprint for the line and crossed it in 42:32. He was chuffed to bits with himself and kept saying how proud he was.
But, with the 5k over, it was time for me to get sorted for the 10k. I only had about 10 minutes to get changed, go to the toilet and make my way over to the start line so it was a bit of a rush but I managed it with a few minutes to spare.
120 toed the start line for the 10k. My plan was to try and be in and around the time I’d finished Appleby the previous week which pretty much meant starting off at a decent pace and maintaining it.
As usual the first mile or two was torture. With my asthma it takes a few miles to settle into a regular breathing pattern so the first few miles are never great.
Having ran a few local races over the past few years I’ve now got a general idea of people from other clubs in the county so I can always gauge if I’m where I should be in a pack by the people around me. I’d gotten this race right as I’d found myself in pretty much the same pack of people that I’d been in and around at Appleby.
The route itself was some uphill and some downhill with a decent climb uphill to 5k and then, following a turn, a decent downhill on the way back. I love a good downhill and, since listening to an interview with Hayley Yelling, I’ve been throwing myself down them and seem to have enhanced a very good downhill technique.
I had a good idea where I was position wise following the turn just after 5k and I’d worked out that I needed to overtake another two runners to finish in the top 30. Having overtaken one on the downhill section it was a case of catching up with any of the runners ahead of me and seeing what I could do.
With 2k to go there were only two runners ahead of me that I could probably catch. I knew there was a fairly decent downhill section coming up on the approach to the 9k marker so my aim was just to take that at speed and then do my best to hang on for the final 1k. I managed to overtake one runner on the approach to the downhill and then another on the downhill section. After this there was only one runner in the distance ahead of me, fellow DH Runner James, and probably not enough time make up the distance to catch him so it was just a case of hanging on to my position from there.
With 400m to go I found a bit of energy and put a bit of a spurt on to gear up for my sprint finish.
I crossed the line with a time of 45:16 and a finish in position 28th.
This is my highest race position finish so far. I’ve been doing well this year and improving times and climbing finish tables so I’m fairly happy where I am fitness wise at this time.
With the finish done it was time for food. Did someone say bacon and egg butty???
All in all the boy and I have had a really good time doing fun runs over the past couple of weeks. It’s enforced his love of running and he loves taking his medals in to show his teacher. I have seen some parents taking the fun out of the fun run as they try and push their kids too hard to the point where they’ve taken all the enjoyment out of it. Just chill out, let your kids enjoy it for what it is.
Anyway, next up for me is Ullswater Standard Triathlon. This is my first attempt at this distance and I’m utterly bricking it. Wish me luck…