It was all planned to go so well.
I’d found a race a week before I went on holiday, I’d found a 6 week training plan, I’d got no trips for work to contend with and my ankle (remember my mysterious ankle injury?!) seemed to have disappeared. I set myself a pretty adventurous goal of going under the elusive 40 minutes and smashing my PB by a massive 3 minutes (well, 2 minutes and 59 seconds). The stage was set.
Training went fairly well. I really enjoyed the short speed sessions which left my legs burning and my face red for hours afterwards. I worked hard in the tempo run sessions – not hard enough though, looking back – and really enjoyed the long, slow runs on the weekend. It was fun. I had worked hard and had tried to be sensible.
The day arrived and I felt good; I felt ready. I’d done the whole eating pasta and laying out my kit the night before thing and drank heaps of water, just to make it feel like a proper ‘A’ race. All prepped for it to be a good day.
It was a beaut of day too. Sun’s out, gun’s out. I love running in the sun: I think I’m solar powered and so this was excellent. It went downhill a bit early on, when I had to make a full on sprint from the car to find a toilet. I was so desperate I did an actual cry, I was tempted to go for a cheeky pee in the sea. Bez thought it was hilarious.
The start was buzzing, lots of keen beans in very small vests and shorts, lots of groups of charity vests and lots of nervous looking people obviously running their first race. There was a crackly countdown where it sounded like the announcer was being attacked by darleks. And we were off!
I’d love to say it was the hardest, but most rewarding 40 minutes of my life. It wasn’t. I ran hard for 1 km. I ran a bit harder to 2km, 3km, 4km, but quickly realised 40 minutes was too much for me. I then began to feel that aching, familiar, awful feeling of a stitch creeping up into my right side. I pushed on… just make it to 5km, then it’ll go… but it just got worse. I get stitch quite a lot, and normally it goes if I slow a bit and ignore it. But it didn’t. It just got worse and I couldn’t really breathe or run properly – both vital in a 10K, or any race for that matter. So I stopped. Stopped on the pavement and had a stretch. Bye, bye 40, even 41 minutes, bye bye PB. Ah well. I walked a bit and jammed my arm into my ribs to get rid of the pain, then just sort of jog-ran and tried to enjoy the atmosphere and the sunshine. The longer I’m out, the longer I have to tan, after all.
I found Kev and his son at about 8km, so stopped and had a chat and debated whether to wait for our mate Paul who was trying to break 50 minutes. We decided I should: until our big boss came round the corner. I couldn’t let him beat me, so I pegged it to the finish and came in just over 45 minutes. Not even close.
I’m pretty annoyed with my body for not doing what it was supposed to but it’s just one of those things. I didn’t PB when I wanted to, so today was a running failure, but I still had a nice time and had pizza for dinner.
I think there are a number of reasons why I didn’t run well today. First and foremost, I’d completely overestimated what I could realistically achieve in 6 weeks and set myself up, essentially, to fail. 40 minutes is super fast, and to shave 3 minutes off an already relatively decent 10K time is not easy to do. I’ve never gone under 20 minutes for 5K – not even close, and so thinking I could run that quick was pretty stupid really.
I’ve also had a really quite stressful time with what I’m doing at work (in that, I don’t know what I’m doing!), as my contract is up on Friday and I’ve currently got nowhere to go! I’ve been applying for heaps of stuff, which is mentally incredibly draining, and really demoralising. I had a job interview on Friday too, which was a really long and draining day and this probably didn’t help. I’ve just been all over the show mentally and not in hugely positive place, which definitely affected how I approached training sessions and my attitude to the race. It’s not often I start a race wondering what the point really was and feeling like I should be doing something more productive, but today I did.
I’m not making excuses for why I didn’t manage ‘Project Sub 40’, but I am really not too surprised that I didn’t. I’ll be back though and definitely will PB at least before the end of the summer – sub 40 might be a bit of an ask…
Well done to everyone who raced at Worthing, and thank you to all the cheerful marshals and medal and water giver-outers. I’ll be back next year, for sure!