Last month I ran the January Tatton Park 10k in PB tine of 39:46 but it was really windy that day and I felt that I probably lost upwards of 1 minute running into the head.
So, I decided to sign up for the February running of the Tatton Park 10k and have another crack at it and see whether I can run a sub 39:00. I signed up in the hope of some better weather conditions, but alas that wasn’t the case. I guess it is February so what do you expect right? I checked the weather on Friday (the race was on Saturday) and it was forecast heavy rain and strong 20mph winds AGAIN! typical.
I had a long run plan for Sunday and I also had a cold so I decided to take it easy and not push too hard.
When I woke up on the Saturday the forecast had changed to a 30% chance of rain, which lets face it, anything over a 1% chance usually means it will pour down but I thought I would take my new Nike Vaporfly 4% shoes and try them out to see how they feel with a view to wearing them in Tokyo in four weeks time.
I went out on a little warm up run to the main out and back stretch of the course to see what the wind was like and it was just like January. Tail wind on the way out and head wind coming back but it wasn’t raining. At this point I thought to myself, if I ran a PB in the same conditions one month ago, why couldn’t I do it again today?
New plan, I will race to the 5k point and then make a call there, if it feels good then keep pushing, if not I will take it steady and coast back.
Splits: 5:51, 5:56, 6:18, 6:28, 5:52, 6:21, 5:39
It nearly went wrong from the start, I made it back from my warm up 1.2 mile with 2 minutes to spare and that was after pushing the warm up pace to 7:30. Not the ideal start but I lined up on the second row and was going for it.
The first mile felt good, I was worried that the cold may affect my breathing but it seemed ok. This portion of the course was sheltered from the wind. Half way around the first mile I was probably down in 20th place despite looking at my watch and seeing I had gone off at 5:25 pace but I quickly started to pick people off over the next half mile getting up into 6th as we headed out to the out and back.
I wasn’t paying much attention to my watch, just running as hard as I could. At the 3 mile marker I went past 3rd place which seemed crazy to me, I had never finished in the top 10 of any race before, only ever making the top 10 in a Parkrun on four occasions, yet here I was in 3rd. How could I back off at the 5k point now?
The fourth mile is up hill, I just kept running as hard as I could even though my lungs were busting. I wasn’t that focuses on running a time or a PB at that point, I just didn’t want anyone passing me. The front two were out of sight, must be minutes ahead of me. I didn’t want to look back to see how close the guy behind was, I wasn’t giving him that boost, thinking I was struggling.
At the turn around point I could see those behind me and 4th place was way down the hill, by pushing on up the hill I had broken free. Just two miles to go and into that headwind, but at least the next mile was back down the hill. In January I didn’t push down the hill I let the wind get to me, this time I went for it, the lungs weren’t happy about it but I lengthened the stride and upped the cadence. I didn’t want to show any sign of tiredness or weakness to those behind as they passed by on the other side.
Mile 6 was up hill and into the wind but by now I just had to keep turn the legs and doing the best I could, but it felt slow, it felt like I was running another 10k in that last mile but as I turned through the trees to the home straight I had a look back and all I could see was an empty road so I eased back slightly and didn’t bother with a sprint finish, just jogging down to cross the line.
I crossed the line in another new PB time of 37:48, almost two minutes faster than January and my first ever podium finish. I am so so proud and happy that I finished in 3rd place and that I went sub 39 and straight through 38 into the 37’s and on a tough hilly course in windy conditions. That gives me hope there could be more time to come yet.