Personal Best at the St Ives 10K

As seem’s all too common in these posts. I’m nursing an injury and worried about how it’s going to affect my next run. There’s some kind of stretchy thing in my leg behind my knee that seems to have done maybe a little too much stretching. It became awfully painful at last week’s parkrun so I’ve been taking it steady ever since. I can feel a little bit of bad stuff going on there but it’s not particularly painful any more.

Last year I didn’t get to run the St Ives 10K due to injury but this year I’ve got as far as the starting line and I’m good to go. It was last year that the chap there who was doing massages gave me some splendid advice about injuries and the way they mend. He advised me to keep stretching it as it mended so that you wouldn’t get scar tissue healing it up in a contracted state (that’s the way I interpreted what he said anyway). I’ve since followed his advice and I think it has really helped my recovery from injury.

Anyway – countdown done and the massed hordes edge toward the starting line. No hurry here as we’re chip timed and the green matting and some RFID will monitor our progress.

We start downhill which seems good to me and then veer left through the streets. There are so many of us that we fill the streets. I suspect that these roads haven’t been closed as there seem to be several cars that have pulled over and are waiting for us all to pass before they move on.

St Ives 10K route map

First water station is at 2.5 kilometres. There’s a temptation to keep moving on here as it seems too early to stop for water. However, I realise that there isn’t another water stop until 7.5 kilometres, so probably best to wrangle some liquid down my throat especially as gallons of it seems to be trying to escape from my forehead. I stop, drink some water and move on. I’ve never got the knack of drinking from a cup and running at the same time.

We start to go up some hills now toward the airfield. I hear good natured grumbles and groans around me, “this is the Fens, we’re not supposed to have hills.”

We turn right onto the airfield and the wind gives us a good buffeting. Fortunately we soon turn back left and that mighty headwind becomes a lovely cooling breeze wafting across our path. The road stretches before us forever and looking back at my split times I see that I’ve slowed down a little here. So much of the battle of running happens inside your head. Here I’ve decided that I’ve already been running for some considerable time and I don’t seem to have got very far. I’m also looking off into the distance and seeing that there’s quite a lot if it out there. I don’t really notice at the time but looking at my Strava statistics it is all too obvious that my mojo is taking a bit of a break here.

Further on we start to see the front runners appear on the other side of the road. They are heading back down the track toward the finish. I see one of our Cambridge parkrunners right at the front of the field following the milk float. It’s Chris Darling and he’s motoring on well. I shout encouragement but he’s concentrating and doesn’t hear. This part of the course is quite fun as I can see all the people in front of me and we shout encouragement at each other. Andrew is the first of our usual gang, then Richard a little further back and then I’m looking out for John but don’t see him.

We arrive at the halfway stage. It’s a strange little triangle that turns us around and sends us back in the direction from whence we came. Yet again we turn into the wind and myself and the person running beside me are brought up short by the power of the wind. I give a sharp intake of breath and she exclaims, “that was a bit harsh.” It doesn’t last long though and as we turn back along the long straight the wind is transformed once more into friendly gentle wafting action and I find that I’m really quite enjoying myself. I start moving up through the ¬†field. I can tell whether I’m having a good run or not by whether I’m passing anyone during the second half of a 10K. It’s all too common for me to get tucked in behind someone and just be content with following them for the rest of ¬†the run. I feel more like I’m hanging on in there rather than pushing myself. This time I pushed on a bit and it felt good. I checked my phone at 7K and realised that my time was fine. As long as I kept going at a decent pace then I should definitely get home in less than an hour. Unfortunately this discovery coincided with another turn into the wind and then an uphill stretch. This slowed me down a little but I kept going and kept myself on target. Soon 7.5 kilometre drinks were upon me (quite literally) and I was pushing myself toward the finish. The aches and pains were upon me but I gritted my teeth and kept going and once I saw the finish line made some attempt at a bit of a sprint toward it. Another chap did too. I fought him off but then found that he’d beaten me for chip time anyway. Drat!

Soooooo – I now have a new personal best time for my 10Kruns.

57.52.5 and I’m very happy.