Bushy Park 10k: The sub-60 attempt

I’ve been working on improving my running pace since the summer. Back in August, my 5k PB was 29:59 (9:40/mile), and had been exactly that for nearly 2 years. A couple of weeks ago I finally got myself into the 28s, and decided that it was now time to work on my 10k. Gulp.

My last 10k race was at Bushy Park back in 2013, where I crossed the line in 1:01:59. My goal was to average sub-10:00 – nailed it! But I decided that I really wanted to get down to sub-60. This would mean running at an average pace of 9:39/mile, which was a pretty daunting thought.

I have a very understanding boyfriend. (Also, I might have paid for his place and then bribed him with stew). Whatever the reason, I managed to persuade him out of bed at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, to run 5k in the freezing cold, and then wait another half hour for me to finish the 10k (at which point it was STILL freezing cold). He got a medal, a protein shake, and a lot of cheers for his sprint finish, so I think it did him some good 😀

Bushy Park 10k Final Stretch

The final .2 was SO hard. I couldn’t even muster a smile – all James got was a half-hearted thumbs up. But it waaas an 8:17 sprint finish, so I’m sure he’ll let me off!

As usual, I set off too fast at the start, but managed to slow myself down and hit 9:38 for the first mile. I then accidentally stayed at the slower pace, clocking 9:45 for mile 2, so I had to get a bit of a move on for mile 3! This hurt, and keeping it up through slippery mud and a thick layer of leaves was pretty hard work. I think I did the first 5k in over 30:00 (at which point a lot of the people around me headed off to the finish – not that I was jealous, or anything!)

Mile 4 was my favourite, and I settled into a comfy pace that I managed to keep up until about 8k. This was when I hit the muddy leafy bit again, at which point I wanted to cry and/or walk/sit down on the floor and strop. But instead, I channelled my inner adult, and got the f*** on with it. And then I nearly ran into a gorgeous stag, who chose that moment to wander into the path about 2 feet away. Pretty good time for a distraction, to be fair!

Bushy Park 10k Sprint Finish

The elusive mid-foot strike! It exists!

My inner adult got me through mile 6 in 9:26, which made me glad that I hadn’t walked or stropped, after all. But then I discovered that pushing yourself through 10k at what was recently your 5k PB pace can REALLY hurt. When I saw the finish line I pushed a little bit harder (I think I stopped breathing for a second or two), crossing it with a sprint finish of 8:17. Result!

Bushy Park 10k Medals

D’aw, isn’t he lovely? And the medals have Christmas puddings on!

After I caught my breath a little, and decided that I wasn’t going to throw up (it was a close call), my smile came back. And then a few happy tears, because 59:23, you are (provisionally but I’ll take it) MINE! (Edit: The official results are in, and I did it! 59:23!)

I wangled a 2:36 PB. Yes, I did.

Bushy Park 10k Bobble Hat

And then I broke out the bobble hat. Because, bobble hats. And it was still freezing.

– – –

Did you run this weekend? How did it go? 🙂

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Race Report: Bushy Park 10k

As I mentioned previously, Bushy Park was my first ever 10k race (and, until today, the only one!) My previous time was 1:02:49, and today I reeeally wanted to get under 1:02:00, as I’m trying really hard to push for a 9:xx pace.

I got up at 7, and it was dark, windy, and raining heavily. I would have LOVED to have gone straight back to bed. Instead, I had some toast and peanut butter, grabbed some water (with a citrus Zero hydration tablet, yum) and got into my running gear. By the time we left at 7:45, it was still dark. And cold. And windy. And rainy. I was starting to regret the whole thing, if I’m honest!

We got to Bushy Park at about 9:15, and the rain was just beginning to ease off. It was still wet and muddy underfoot, with occasional showers, and it was a bit breezy – but the sun was trying to push through the clouds:

b22
I’ll say one thing, Bushy Park is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And once the race started, the conditions were perfect; it was bright, sunny, and cool. Lovely. There were loads of deer and huge stags, too – we got very close at a couple of points on the course! One of the stags warned us off during the first half, making a loud noise that sounded a bit like a cow (I’m clearly an expert!)

I felt really strong for the first half. Admittedly, I’d forgotten just how tough it can be to run off-road, and my right ankle niggled a bit on the bumpy/muddy/uneven bits. But after about 3k I settled into a comfortable pace, and just enjoyed the scenery. This is the first race I’ve done where I haven’t worn a watch or my iPod, and I really enjoyed it. It took the pressure off, and meant that I simply ran at a pace that felt comfortable. I didn’t check my time at regular intervals, or fuss about how far off the next KM marker was – I just zoned out, and focused on my breathing, my footing, and the surroundings. Starting towards the back meant I was able to pass quite a few people, too, which worked as a bit of a boost!

b3
Overtaking at the half way point

I kind of look like I’m playing a flute or something there. Or the piano, possibly? I have NO idea what my right hand was doing, in any case!

I also didn’t run with any drink this time round. Instead, I grabbed some water at half way (there was a water stop) and took the opportunity to walk for a few metres to break up the distance (not that the distance is all that far, but still), and to have a few sips without spilling it all over myself. This mainly worked – though I did end up with a load of water in my face, too. I had barely wiped it off when a huge, wet leaf fell off a tree and smacked me in the face. More water, yay!

I felt good until about 8k, and then my calves and quads began to feel the strain of the uneven ground. There was one part of the course that was on a tarmac path, up a slight hill, and we were running directly into a strong head wind and had the sun blazing down. On the first loop, this was lovely – a bit of warmth with a much needed breeze – but by this point I was beginning to get a bit tired so I struggled a little. I made a deal with myself NOT to walk though – and to help, I kept picking someone ahead of me to match my pace to, and keep up with. I did this right until the end, where I managed a sprint (ish) finish, before nearly falling on the (mildly alarmed) lady who was removing the timing chips from our shoes. Whoops.

What can I say? Standing on one leg doesn’t work when said leg is nackered! 😀

Despite that little incident, I made it, and got to pick up my shiny new medal and a chocolate bar! (Priorities, people).

b1
My poor shoes 😦

I really loved this event. It was organised by Capital Runners, and went off without a hitch. Race numbers and instructions were posted out in advance, the course was clearly marked, and getting my timing chip barely took 5 seconds. They even had pots of safety pins, which was SUCH A HUGE WIN, as I could only find one at home .. The marshals were so lovely, too. They all smiled and clapped and offered encouragement, and all the supporters near the half way/finish point (same place) clapped and cheered for everyone. This makes me so happy!

To add to it all, in true Lucy style – as with my 5k earlier in the year – I beat my target time by a whole second, coming in at 1:01:59 😀

Hey, at least I’m consistent, right!? And that’s 50 seconds off my previous PB!

As a base line for my marathon training, I’m really chuffed with this. It’s a steady 10min/mile pace, which was comfortable to maintain, and gives me a predicted marathon time of 4:44:51. Obviously, the goal for Brighton is simply to finish – but anything under 5 hours would be awesome, and knowing that I have the ability to do that is great.

Today was a real confidence booster, and although I know that I probably could have done better had I trained more thoroughly, this is a starting point. And I’m excited for the journey ahead 😀

Race Review: Bushy Park 10k 2013

As I mentioned previously, Bushy Park was my first ever 10k race (and, until today, the only one!) My previous time was 1:02:49, and today I reeeally wanted to get under 1:02:00, as I’m trying really hard to push for a 9:xx pace.

I got up at 7, and it was dark, windy, and raining heavily. I would have LOVED to have gone straight back to bed. Instead, I had some toast and peanut butter, grabbed some water (with a citrus Zero hydration tablet, yum) and got into my running gear. By the time we left at 7:45, it was still dark. And cold. And windy. And rainy. I was starting to regret the whole thing, if I’m honest!

We got to Bushy Park at about 9:15, and the rain was just beginning to ease off. It was still wet and muddy underfoot, with occasional showers, and it was a bit breezy – but the sun was trying to push through the clouds:

b22
I’ll say one thing, Bushy Park is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And once the race started, the conditions were perfect; it was bright, sunny, and cool. Lovely. There were loads of deer and huge stags, too – we got very close at a couple of points on the course! One of the stags warned us off during the first half, making a loud noise that sounded a bit like a cow (I’m clearly an expert!)

I felt really strong for the first half. Admittedly, I’d forgotten just how tough it can be to run off-road, and my right ankle niggled a bit on the bumpy/muddy/uneven bits. But after about 3k I settled into a comfortable pace, and just enjoyed the scenery. This is the first race I’ve done where I haven’t worn a watch or my iPod, and I really enjoyed it. It took the pressure off, and meant that I simply ran at a pace that felt comfortable. I didn’t check my time at regular intervals, or fuss about how far off the next KM marker was – I just zoned out, and focused on my breathing, my footing, and the surroundings. Starting towards the back meant I was able to pass quite a few people, too, which worked as a bit of a boost!

b3
Overtaking at the half way point

I kind of look like I’m playing a flute or something there. Or the piano, possibly? I have NO idea what my right hand was doing, in any case!

I also didn’t run with any drink this time round. Instead, I grabbed some water at half way (there was a water stop) and took the opportunity to walk for a few metres to break up the distance (not that the distance is all that far, but still), and to have a few sips without spilling it all over myself. This mainly worked – though I did end up with a load of water in my face, too. I had barely wiped it off when a huge, wet leaf fell off a tree and smacked me in the face. More water, yay!

I felt good until about 8k, and then my calves and quads began to feel the strain of the uneven ground. There was one part of the course that was on a tarmac path, up a slight hill, and we were running directly into a strong head wind and had the sun blazing down. On the first loop, this was lovely – a bit of warmth with a much needed breeze – but by this point I was beginning to get a bit tired so I struggled a little. I made a deal with myself NOT to walk though – and to help, I kept picking someone ahead of me to match my pace to, and keep up with. I did this right until the end, where I managed a sprint (ish) finish, before nearly falling on the (mildly alarmed) lady who was removing the timing chips from our shoes. Whoops.

What can I say? Standing on one leg doesn’t work when said leg is nackered! 😀

Despite that little incident, I made it, and got to pick up my shiny new medal and a chocolate bar! (Priorities, people).

b1
My poor shoes 😦

I really loved this event. It was organised by Capital Runners, and went off without a hitch. Race numbers and instructions were posted out in advance, the course was clearly marked, and getting my timing chip barely took 5 seconds. They even had pots of safety pins, which was SUCH A HUGE WIN, as I could only find one at home .. The marshals were so lovely, too. They all smiled and clapped and offered encouragement, and all the supporters near the half way/finish point (same place) clapped and cheered for everyone. This makes me so happy!

To add to it all, in true Lucy style – as with my 5k earlier in the year – I beat my target time by a whole second, coming in at 1:01:59 😀

Hey, at least I’m consistent, right!? And that’s 50 seconds off my previous PB!

As a base line for my marathon training, I’m really chuffed with this. It’s a steady 10min/mile pace, which was comfortable to maintain, and gives me a predicted marathon time of 4:44:51. Obviously, the goal for Brighton is simply to finish – but anything under 5 hours would be awesome, and knowing that I have the ability to do that is great.

Today was a real confidence booster, and although I know that I probably could have done better had I trained more thoroughly, this is a starting point. And I’m excited for the journey ahead 😀