With a 10k PB of 37:35 set on this course last year and decent results set at the previous 3 races I had high expectations for this race. However the story of this race starts 4 days prior.
A lesson in listening to your body
On the Saturday prior I had a tough session planned, 13 miles with 8 progressive (inc 3 at Parkrun). The day before I did seem to be developing a bit of a cough but didn’t think too much of it. Saturdays run started well with a good 3 mile warm up followed by the main part of session starting at 7:20 per mile and taking 10 seconds off per mile for 8 miles. For the main part regular training partner Danny Wilson had joined me.
The first 5 miles were pretty close to the required pace if not just a tiny fraction fact. However the final 3 miles was worked out to coincide with parkrun therefore after a short rest we forgot about pace and just went for it. I should be able to do sub 6:30 fairly comfortably but after the initial 6.11 I dropped off to 6,21 then 6.44. The slowest of the 3 coming last when I should have been going at my fastest. I just assumed that I was a little fatigued from the week and therefore didn’t think too much of it – maybe the post run coughing fit should have been a clue!
Roll on Sunday the plan was 12 mile LSR with one eye on this race (Leven 10k) the following Tuesday. My legs did seem awfully tired but I assumed this was due to the previous days hard session. I’d just shuffle round and get the miles in. However after just 2/3 miles I knew something wasn’t right. By mile 4 I was barely under 9 minute miling when normally for long runs I’d be in the range of 7:30 to 8:00. I decided to call it a day and head home but of course the quickest way home meant running therefore I ended up doing 6.8miles instead of the 12.
By the end of Sunday the cough had developed considerably and only two days before one of my races of the year. On Monday I dropped the easy 8 in an effort to recover before Tuesday.
On Tuesday it was clear that I still wasn’t right. Of course us runners are not can be a little stubborn and I decided that I’d run anyway and just try and get a half decent time (partly because for various reasons I haven’t run a 10k this year). Based on the recent 4 and 5 miler fully fit I’d expect somewhere around 38:30. Surely I could at least break 40?
The forecast also wasn’t being my friend with winds expected to be well into double figures, most people agreed this would be for the first 3 miles, at which point we turn around and head back to Leven. On the plus side it wasn’t cold.
The 1.8 /mi warm up didn’t feel too bad – maybe the legs didn’t feel as zippy as I’d have liked but nothing too untoward (apart from the cough after stopping!).
Onto the race and after a very short wait we was off. First mile passing in a fairly rapid 6:10, maybe a little fast considering the wind however originally I would have hoped to average close to 6 minute miling. The usual group was around and although nobody put their foot down I started to go out the back door. After a mile and half you reach Brandesburton and the first left turn I was on my own and struggling.
The next mile and half takes you towards Burshill and although its a slight incline and with the wind, none of that would have woudl justify the drop off in pace. After mile 1 the next two were completed in 6:30 and 6:43.
I still clung onto the hope that once we made the next left turn and started back for Leven I’d be able to claw back something from somewhere. Alas even with a slight downhill and the better of the wind I could only bring it back to 6:30. Any determination and energy was long since gone. By this point I was willing it to be over. Around 4 miles I was passed by a couple of runners I’d normally comfortably beat these days. Miles 5 and 6 passed in a agonisingly slow 6:42 and 6:44.
I finally finished in 40:47 for 35th place (over 10 places higher than normal in what was a lower turnout than normal). It was however a seasons best therefore at least I’d have something to beat 5 days later at Woodhall Spa 10k.