It had all started so well, a nice sunny day, feeling confident and fresh and thinking of how to spend my day post run. It didn’t quite end that way.
I had entered the Leigh 10k just 4 days earlier on a whim due to missing out on some midweek races due to the recent long days and busy rigors of my job. “It’ll give me a chance to see where I am on shorter routes before I do the Lakeland 50,” I thought to myself as I was entering online.
As we gathered at the start I was thinking of my race strategy, go out steady, keep around 7 min miles on the flats, take the hilly bits steady and try and make up the time coming down the other side. Won’t get a PB but should do sub 45 and you never know what may happen.
At 11am the start horn shattered the runners murmurs and we were off. 1km bang on track, 2km few hills, which may I say were steeper than they looked. 3km – bloody hell its roasting and another steep incline after a sharp right turn but still on track. 4km – my legs are feeling very heavy and its getting warmer and another steep uphill. I was now struggling and not making up my time on the downhills. It was just after the 5km marker as we got on the canal that the wheels came off. It was a suntrap and a midge fest. My legs went and I looked despairingly at my watch and saw my pace was over 8min a min. No matter how hard I tried or pushed, I just could not speed up. The air was still, sickly hot and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. At 6km a marshal shouted “26th Mate! Keep going.” “Balls to that I thought and backed off.” The next 4km were the longest and hardest 4km I have ever run. On 8km I thought about dropping out but I just wanted to finish. “Pain is temporary,” I thought, “But if I dont finish, I remember that for a long time to come.” My heart dropped as seemingly endless line of runners overtook me, each one a dagger in my heart and a reminder I was having the nightmare run of my life.
Eventually I staggered, swayed and trudged over the finish line on 46mins 56secs. Gutted and overheating, I made for the shade of the trees. I was gutted. my legs had gone, I had felt slugglish all the way around and nothing had gone to plan. I sat watching the other runners finish and couldnt stop playing the run over in my head. “What happened? I’ve never felt like that in a 10k, ever. I’ve done marathons in July, a Marathon in monsoon rain and hail, just a few weeks earlier had ran 17k really well over the hills of Ambleside and Grasmere in sunny conditions and heat. Muppet!”
For the rest of the day I was grumpy and down about it, and the same most of Monday. Everyone who asked me how I got on, I said, “Horror show.” On Monday night and saw my medal, unopened and on the couch where I has thrown it in disgust the day before. I then had my running epiphany, I was disappointed in myself, feeling like I had let myself down. I realised I hadn’t. I felt the worst I had ever felt in a run, but carried on and finished it. Just 16 months earlier I was struggling to get under 50mins. Now I was doing it on bad days. It all made sense. I had still beaten my time from last year by 1 minute and was gutted. And in that heat on a trickyish course, What was i thinking? I hadn’t done as badly as I had thought.
I checked the results, I was 36th out of 284 runners and had beaten last years time by 1 minute. What was there to be sad about, running is supposed to be fun. I smiled to myself for the first time in a day or so. Maybe the Leigh 10k was my moment of reckoning and if so I passed, I had entered my darkest running moment and came through the other side still running. Great prep for the Lakeland 50, probably the best I could have had!
And anyway, I’m allowed an off day. Aren’t we all…..
Superb thay Gary. Darkest running moment should prepare you nicely for the 50!
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On 12 Jul 2013 08:36, “Gary Wane” wrote: