I love Lincoln 10k day - its official. There is something about your hometown run that makes you want to take part even more than normal; yes I could run that route every single day if I wanted to, but its just not the same. I love seeing the streets I train on filled with runners and lined with supporters, and I love seeing the city where I live caught up in the running and race day bubble. The other great thing about being involved in your local event (other than rolling out of bed and casually walking to the start line!) - is that I always know so many people taking on the distance, so its great to support and encourage each other.
Despite having completed Manchester Marathon the weekend before, which was a particularly physically and mentally demanding race experience, I knew I wanted to run the 10k. In a perfect scenario I wanted the race to be a bit of a comeback after a disappointing marathon. However, I had to be realistic about my capabilities after a mid week run highlighted just how tired my legs were still, on top of the occurrence of knee and hip pain. I like to run a 10k in sub 50 minutes (one day a sub 45 min!), but instead I reasoned with myself that anything under an hour would be acceptable under the circumstances.
This was my fourth consecutive Lincoln 10k and the weather has always been perfect. Once again, blue skies and glorious sunshine bathed Lincoln's Cathedral as my friend and I walked up to the race start. I was a little nervous; not for once about what time I was going to run, but about whether or not I was going to enjoy the race. I wanted to finish with a smile and be happy, something which I did not achieve at the Manchester Marathon. The last thing I wanted was to run the whole thing in pain, hate every step, and just feel even worse about myself!
The start of the race was very crowded, they seem to be making the starting section narrower each year and its really not a good idea (Run for All please take note!) Due to this I was forced to start slower than normal, before managing to get into a stride. I was pleasantly surprised that my knee and hip seemed silent though, the race adrenaline possibly masking any niggle. My legs felt heavy from the first steps, but this I could live with.
I am not sure if after a marathon this sounds blatantly obvious, but the distance then seemed to fly by, and I was soon at half way. My pace was reasonably consistent, the heaviness in my legs was a little restrictive, but at this point I felt good. I was running much better than I had expected and possibly could sneak a 50 minute time.
Reaching 9k I managed to speed up slightly for the final kilometer. I was a little tentative as my body's collapse in the final stages of the Manchester Marathon was still there in the back of my mind. I know a 10k is not a marathon; but the thoughts and fears were there. Quite timely, I passed the volunteers from Lincoln parkrun who were out in force supporting. I had to smile as the Race Director called out to me, joking that I should try and catch my friend up - I laughed it off knowing full well that was never going to happen (I was right too, as when I found my friend at the finish she had ran a super 47 minute time!) I carried my speed into the finish though, making a real effort to sprint for the line. My time - 51.02. I was so happy. Yes, it was not a sub 50 or anywhere near my own 47 minute PB; but I had done it and I had enjoyed it. It just felt so good to be running happy again.
I had my medal engraved with my finish time in the race village, not because I was particularly amazed by running a 10k in 51 minutes, but because I wanted to remember the happy feeling I had when I crossed that finish line. I then went and enjoyed a post race cider with my friend; something which again I didn't get to do/didn't feel like doing last weekend at the Manchester Marathon. The Lincoln 10k may have on paper seemed to be a poorly timed race, but actually the whole day was exactly what I needed.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...