It’s been roughly six years since I first introduced my legs to running. In that time span we’ve had highs, we’ve had lows, we’ve been best friends and we’ve well and truly fallen out, but one thing we’ve never completed is a 10k race. I’m not sure why, I’ve covered most of the other distances with varying degrees of success but racing over 6.214miles has eluded me. When I saw that most of Instagram had signed up for this one, I knew it was a bandwagon that I wanted to ride. With due optimism I filled out all the required forms and waited for my race number to arrive.
Fast forward a few weeks to race day. I’ll use a few words to paint the scene for you. Picture this, Buckingham Palace, the mall and hordes of runners. You wouldn’t be far off if you’d just imagined the finish line of the London Marathon, except this time, these landmarks represented the start. I had been here 24 hours previously for the Westminster Mile but that didn’t help tame those pre-race butterflies. I briefly flailed my legs around, trying to convince other runners that I knew what I was doing and that warming up before a race was something I was a veteran at. After a few minutes of highly convincing leg based activities I joined fellow runners and Instagrammers in the Blue coloured pen. One of these was runners was Jon (or @Jayz_run_and_cooks if you’re on instagram), I’ve ran track with Jon a few times and he’s going to pop up again in a few kilometres so I thought I’d introduce you to him now.
Minutes of time passed and the klaxon sounded, we were off. Despite being in the front pen it felt like everyone was already ahead of me; I try not to get too involved with the people dodging but it was unavoidable this time round. After the first couple of KM I was able to settle into a steady, mouth drying rhythm. At the 3K point I spotted the water station and decided to wet my whistle. Now, I’m all for the reduction of plastics in our everyday lives so I wasn’t going to bitch about the cups, but alas, here I am really tempted to bitch about getting water in a bloody cup. I managed about 1/17th of a mouthful, the rest I unintentionally threw over my face, up my nose, and in my eyes. It was at this point Jon, from earlier, ran past me. I knew he was after a sub 41 time and I was feeling particularly confident at this point so I headed after him.
I caught Jon a few minutes later and I knew if I could stay infront of him then I could possibly have a new 10k PB on my hands. My game plan had changed, I decided to up the pace a little bit and see what the legs could manage.
As the latter KMs of the race started to conclude, I noticed the pace on my watch. It was looking awfully close to a sub 40 pace, this couldn’t be right, could it? I had told everyone in the build up to it that I didn’t think I had the fitness for it, I honestly believed that. I’d ran a couple of sub 20 5ks and they almost killed me so to do it twice In quick succession seemed unattainable.
I saw the 9km marker and I ran as fast as I could, a sickly feeling engulfed my stomach, the final meter markers start to rush by, 800m, 400m 200... I drove as hard as I could for the finish line, looked up at the clock, had I made it? Had I ran a 10k in under 40 minutes? No. No I hadn’t. My phone vibrated, notifying me of a new text message, it was my race time, it read 40:11 . I’d missed sub 40 by 12 seconds. So damn close, I could literally taste it. My pace per km? 4.01. Madness.
Jon came in close behind me, bagging himself a nice shiny PB. After an awful attempt at a sweaty eyed selfie we went and collected our medals, and more importantly, our tumeric tea in our goodie bags.
I’m certainly not disappointed with my performance at the London 10000, I ran a new PB! That’s all I could have asked from my limbs. If anything the result of this race has added fuel to my fire to get faster. What would be the fun if we went out got the times we wanted on our first go? The so near yet so far results mean then when we finally achieve our goals they taste so much sweeter. I thoroughly enjoyed the distance too, 10k is far enough to feel kinda far, and fast enough to feel kinda fast so I’m going to be back, and next time, I might just pull my finger out.