MHFS 10k – 2008

This was a significant race for me in a number of ways. Most importantly last year it was the first race I ran after I took up running (here’s my 2007 write-up), but more recently it was a race I’d taken on to beat my PB in, as part of the XT Wings Challenge. It’s also my most local 10k race – running through Pollok park, which is right besides my house, and where I spend most of my time training.

The race is certainly going from strength to strength, and over 2,500 runners took part. Still a way to go before it reaches the 12,000 in the Ladies 10k that I helped out with last month.

My late write-up of the race perhaps belies that I didn’t finish the race in quite the way I’d hoped. I certainly didn’t beat my PB of 45:01 from this years Jack Crawford 10k. In the end I managed a time of 46:23, which was some way off.

I certainly started off quite well. The first couple of km were in my target pace range (around 4:25) – 04:20 then 04:25, and a bit slower at the 3k mark (04:33). But still reasonable. It’s very easy to set off too fast (something I’m particularly prone to do), so was keen to keep it under control. Unfortunately, the 4k mark (04:44) marked the start of the long slow incline into Pollok Park, and that drained me. I couldn’t make up much time down “Sarah’s hill” (as the club call it), I was just enjoying the easier downhill rather than pushing, so my times went to 04:51 at 5k. It pretty much says all. There wasn’t much hope for me to beat my PB at this point, and I found it difficult to get close to my target pace at all. 6k at 04:40, and 7k, the exit from the park at 04:47.

But disaster struck when I had my first shoelace incident during a race. I’m normally very careful to tie my laces. Not too tight as the tops of my feet hurt if they are, due to their slightly odd shape. So that took a chunk of time, so 8k at 04:45 was probably actually quite close to my target. 9k at a pace 04:45, and the final 1k felt a lot longer – there’s a difficult incline at the start of the park entrance, and it’s a lot further than you think to the finish line. Last 1k was at 04:37 average pace. So my average pace was 04:39 throughout. 9s off the magic 04:30 I needed to stand a chance of beating my 45:01 PB.

Reasons? Well, most likely I didn’t do enough consistent longer train runs in the build up. Plenty of short, faster runs/speed session work, but I perhaps didn’t get out for longer runs enough in April and May. But I have a good excuse for at least most of April :-). But not much of one for May 🙁 It’s also a tougher course than I’d given it credit for. Perhaps complacency too given I do most of my training on the roads and paths that the course uses, but it’s a different kettle of fish when you string them together and try to run them at pace. I also was a bit foolish by going for what turned into quite a tough training run on the Friday just before. I hadn’t planned to, but whilst I was very pleased with the results, it really would have been better to have taken it easier so close to a race.

One of the problems I do have is maintaining exertion for longer periods at a higher heart rate, and building endurance is something I really need to focus on. I’m a bit of a whimp, and find it hard not to think negative thoughts when I really need to be “digging deep”. The winter training helped with this, and probably played a big part in my previous 10k PB.

But I still very much intend to get my PB down if at all possible this year. I just need to find a flatter course and ensure that my mileage is up. Oh, and that my shoelaces don’t get untied!

But to put it all into perspective just one year ago I completed the race in 53:56. This year’s time of 46:23 is 07m33s faster. My average pace was 05:23 compared to 04:39 for similar effort. With a focus on building endurance (I’ve entered the ballot for London 2009, so hope to see something along those lines!), who knows what next year might bring. As ever, it’s not all about individual results (although those are nice!) but the journey that counts, and even when you don’t hit your targets, you still learn a lot, and that’s all good 🙂