May 2013 Archives

Baking the Bupa 10K

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Bupa 10K 2013.jpg

Last year I ran the Bupa 10K as my first-ever 10K race and was baked by the unanticipated hot weather. This year I feel that I baked the race instead of the race baking me. This was definitely the strongest race I have run. I started fairly close to the front of the pack in the second non-elite starting pen. While this position didn't eliminate congestion on the course, it kept it fairly minimal. I started off quite fast, riding the adrenaline wave of the start, ducked through some openings and managed to find open space in front of me. The course runs along The Mall, turns right onto Whitehall, and down to Horse Guards Avenue on the way to the Embankment. The first kilometer flew by, and was at a pace below 6:40/mile. In previous races this pace would have had me worried that I was burning too fast and would suffer for it, but I know from my runs with the Run Dem Crew elites that I can handle this pace (and even faster) for at least short bursts.

I slowed down as I turned left onto the Embankment, and settled into a pace of slightly over 7:00/mile. And when I say settled in, I mean settled in. The slowest kilometer I recorded in the race was around 7:10/mile. One of my focuses for this race was on technique, so I paid more attention to how I was running than to how fast. My occasional peeks at my watch mostly confirmed my pace was steady, and only occasionally spurred me to speed up. This is not an experience I have had before. Those who are regular readers know that my typical pattern is very fast out of the gate, PBs at splits early in the race, and then struggling as I slow down late in the race. Not today.

I was true to form with a 5K PB at the one split in the race, but that was due more to my actually being faster than as a result of pushing too hard too early. Once I hit the Embankment I cruised all the way through the city, and barely missed a beat passing the fabulous Japanese-style drummers in Leadenhall market.

After Leadenhall, and the gradual twisting descent down towards Monument (to be honest, I was so dialled in I flew past the Monument without even a moment for a glance), the course straightens out and starts heading back towards the finish. I had the very pleasant surprise of hearing none other than Dommy racer calling my name and giving me a shout of encouragement. Turns out he was battling hayfever (pollen was quite heavy today) and had decided to wait for Linda whom I had unknowingly passed shortly before. The pace continued, past St. Paul's for the second time (which, again, I only know because I know the city, I didn't actually see it during the race!), under Blackfriars, and back onto Embankment. I hit the water station here which, along with the slope at Blackfriars may have contributed to this being my slowest kilometer. From here on out I was accelerating to the end. I flew past Cheer Dem Crew shortly before the 8 kilometer marker and got a huge shout-out which definitely lifted my spirits. I got a second lift when I got high-fived by Jeggi just before going under Hungerford Bridge. This not only put a smile on my face, it also gave me the lift I needed to fly up the hill to Parliament. All of the times I have dug in on that hill on a Tuesday night really paid off here, lots of people were struggling but I wasn't one of them. The turn onto Great George street marks the end of the climb, and quickly leads to the penultimate turn onto Horse Guards Road. Here the crowds were thicker and very encouraging.

From Horse Guards to the finish this race was all about technique for me. I had no energy to wave at the crowd, and barely the energy to do anything but make sure arms and legs were doing the right things. Finally I hit the sign for 400 meters to go, and then 200 meters. I kept digging hard but didn't feel I had the energy for a full-out sprint. I picked up the pace a little, and then glanced at my watch with about 50 meters to go and realised that the only way to come in under 44:00 was to fly the rest of the way, and I did! Coming across the line in a personal best 43:54. Official time isn't posted so this is off of my Garmin watch. I placed around 90th out of over 640 men in my age class, and around 1024th out of over 10,000 runners. More importantly, this was the best race I have run, and I definitely won the mental battle. There were a few times when my brain tried to trick me into slowing down, but I wasn't fooled. I'm very happy with this result, and both excited and scared that no other race now lies between me and the Mont Blanc Marathon!

Big thanks to Dani Fejer for the fabulous race photo!!

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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