Hahaha – race. Sorry, I just typed the title without really thinking about it. The idea that I am in a race is just hilarious. I don’t race, I plod. Anyway, I have been relatively quiet about running. It’s going ok but I am still struggling to get out much during the week but the weekend long runs have been ok. 10 miles and 12 miles completed feeling strong and I am somehow not hugely worried about stepping up the distance – I’m worried about getting out at all. If I do I’ll be fine with the distance.
Anyway, race report for today’s 10k – The Keighley BigK 10K Run. This is a run/race/whatever we’ve often looked at and thought we’d do. It’s our home town 10k, it’s always on Mother’s Day (the UK mother’s day – I don’t get it either, what happened to it being the first Sunday in May?) and it’s in support of a local hospice. I wasn’t ready last year. We signed up pretty much when registration opened giving me the race number 165. There were over 1000 runners today but unfortunately Kath wasn’t one of them. Her back is giving her hell at the minute and that really needs sorting first. Osteopath appointment will be made tomorrow! So this morning, sitting in bed drinking my cup fo tea I had to decide: Was I going to try and do this on my own. I really wasn’t sure. My confidence has gone. I didn’t really want to put myself out there on my own. But then I thought ‘what the hell, this fat butt needs to do some miles today so I might as well do them this morning with a load of other people’.
I walked down to Victoria Park, registered and got my timing chip and fixed it to my shoe. Then I stood around, then I walked around, then it started snowing heavily so I paced up and down some more. With about 20 minutes to go I made my way back into the building and took my fleece to the bag check, set the garmin up and made my way towards the start. I say some friends who were supporting their son (who came in the top ten and finished in under 40 mins) and had a quick chat and then we were off really. The route started with two loops – one inner and one outer loop – of Victoria Park. It was muddy as hell already and most of the first km was more sliding around on mud than running and by the time I got on the hard ground I felt like I’d run much further than I had but it was all good. I was running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute. I turned right out of the park and towards Keighley train station. I was beginning to pass a lot of people who were running constantly – this was a theme throughout and it reassured me that I was overall faster using a run/walk strategy than I would be if I tried to run it all.
We turned left immediately after the train station, crossed the River Worth and continued down the back streets until we came out on Coney Lane. Basically we went round some Keighley backstreets which I really don’t know very well until we got to Lund Park. I was beginning to think I was struggling because the 2 km marker didn’t come and then I past the 3km marker. Pleasant surprise. We exited Lund Park at half way. I felt pretty good. I was mostly sticking to the intervals but had walked up some of the worst hills. Then we came to a bit of Keighley I didn’t even know was there. After going up some steps we turned right onto a path that (so the route map now tells me) ran parallel to North Dean Road. Just after the 6km marker my friend Selene came zooming past me as I was on a walk break. I didn’t even know she was running in the race so it was lovely to have some company for a bit and we ran/walked together for a while. More backstreets, across a very muddy field at the back of Victoria Primary School (We had to walk this – it was a muddy mess). The we entered Devonshire Park, enjoyed the downhill a bit although we were both cautious and a bit worried about slipping. Then I plodded up a slope while Selene walked. She had been running faster than me so I expected her to catch me up again and was looking forward to running the last bit with her but she didn’t come. She’d been on the phone I later learned.
I had stopped walking the full minute now, taking roughly 30 seconds to try and make up for some of the additional walking on the hills and plodded my way past Cliffe Castle and looped round the park. I think I actually slowed on the downhill because I was so bloody worried about falling, I am such a wimp. Then we came out of the park at the 9km mark. There was quite a big gap behind me and a little gap in front and the marshalls were trying to decide what to do about the stopped traffic. I really didn’t want to stop and wait while they let cars through so I put in a little sprint to catch up a bit and they let me through. One of the marshalls shouted ‘You go girl’ which made me smile and I thought ‘I can run the last km’. I caught up with a woman and her daughter who had been in front of me just as we crossed the road and the mum was struggling. I started chatting to her and telling her how well she was doing and that I wasn’t going to overtake her but she had to keep running. I chatted away until we got back into the park and I suddenly heared a ‘Go Jess’. I looked up and it was Kath, standing at the side of the finishing stretch cheering me on. It honestly hadn’t occured to me that she might come down. It was so lovely to see her. I ran round the back of the woman and her daughter so Kath could get a picture (she was actually filming me – so I have just posted a snapshot from film below) and then I sprinted after the woman and crossed the finish line alongside her. I hugged both the mum and the daughter, grabbed some water and a bottle of teetoal G’n’T that they were giving out and went to the side to grab my goodie bag containing a T-shirt and for a hug from Kath. A volunteer came over and snipped my timing chip off my trainer for me. Then I went and collected my fleece and we headed to the car. My friend Selene had finished strong too and it turned out was parked in the same area we were. As I walked across to the car park I suddenly thought ‘I enjoyed that, hills and all, it was good fun’.
I had no idea about the time really because I’d forgotten to look at the clock as I crossed the line and I’d forgotten to turn the Garmin off for a little while too. I was fairly sure that it was under 1 hour 20 because the Garmin was eventually stopped under 1.20. Anyway it turns out my official time was 1.15.39. I am so chuffed with that. Particularly now that I have checked what my fastest was before. Somehow I had in my head that it was 1 hour 11 but that’s wishful thinking. It was actually 1.14.18 and that was on a flat-as-a-pancake course. I think being only 1 minute21 seconds slower on the hills and in the mud and mostly on my own is pretty good going! So here’s me just coming round the corner to the finish.