On Wednesday 7th June I took part in my fourth Carlisle Tri Club 10k.
Previous attempts had seen the following finishes:
2014 – 48:14 (74th/139)
2015 – 47:24 (114th/228)
2016 – 45:29 (76th/250)
I was fairly confident that I could pull a good time out of the hat this year. I just had to have belief and confidence in the fact that I could start fast and maintain the pace. Previous years have seen me have a slow first mile and then a slow mile from 4 mile to 5 mile.
This year I was determined to have a faster first mile and not fade between 4 and 5.
It was time to try out a new pair of racing trainers following the retirement of my old ones at the end of the Liverpool Marathon. I’d been considering both the Ravenna 8 and the London Launch 4 both by Brooks. I’ve been a massive fan of the Ravenna and have been running in the Ravenna 5’s for the past couple of years. However, I can’t quite get away with the 8’s yet as they don’t seem overly comfortable. Maybe they just need broken in a bit so I’ll try them out on a couple of shorter runs first. The decision therefore was made for me and the London Launch got their first race outing.
As I stood on the start line I eyed up those around me and quickly gauged that I was around the right company for my pace. I’ve always been a bit of a bugger for hanging around in the middle of the pack and losing a bit of time working my way around people. Yet again that’s a confidence thing on my part but as I’ve gotten faster and I’ve been able to gauge my pace better I’ve been able to work out where I should be standing at the start and, if it’s a local race, who should be around me.
By 7pm we were off and I soon settled into a fairly quick pace. The first mile was over and done with in 6:46. I was soon joined by an old work colleague (Fiona) who was comfortably running a similar pace to me and we came to mile two in 7:05 pace.
While she was cruising along and chatting to me occasionally I was struggling to catch my breath. This isn’t uncommon with me as it can sometimes take me around three miles to settle into a pace before I’m comfortable. I’ve always put it down to my asthma but it could just as easily be psychological. Regardless, I came up to the third mile marker at 6:43 pace which meant that I was just about halfway through in 20:32. Not too shabby.
Mile 4 was finished in 6:36. I’d become aware that not many people had passed me for the last few miles and, instead, I was passing other runners. This is all still fairly new to me as usually in a 10k it’s the other way round. Having passed mile 4 I was now in that dreaded territory where I tended to die off in this race. Not this year though, I was determined to keep the pace up and not lose it. I came up to the five mile marker in 6:51. I’d lost a bit of time but certainly not as much as I usually did in this mile. With just 1.2 miles to go it was now time to grind it out back to the race course.
There were a few people ahead of me that I could conceivably catch and that was my goal to the finish. Having caught them just before the six mile marker (6:47 pace) it was now just a case of staying ahead of them until the finish.
Coming up to the gates of the racecourse meant that the afterburners were now on for a sprint finish and I was over the line in 42:12 finishing 33rd out of 276.
Having crossed the finish line it was now time to cheer in my team-mates and revel in their achievements. It was yet again another fantastically organised event by Heather and the team over at Carlisle Tri Club and everyone enjoyed the night…despite the heat.
The improvement over the past 18 months for me has been amazing.
All I can put it down to is sensible nutrition, gym work and regular mobility exercises (hip yoga is a must try). All of that mixed in with the different runs has made me into a better runner.
Having said that, there is more work to be done as well as more improvements that can be made.
I think that is what excites me the most.