The unseasonably warm Christmas period we experienced had led me to rather forget what real Winter running is like. Today however the weather was suitably suited to the Winter Run race I was about to embark on. I had traveled to Liverpool to run the city's first Winter Run 10k alongside my sister (see image), and after nervous discussions about layerage, the shorts v leggings debate, and the slight horror in the realisation of just how cold it was, we were race ready.
My sister lives virtually next to the start line, and in our short walk to the race start there was a light flurry of snow in the air - I bet it was the organisers dream! I met runners from the Nike Run Club (see bottom image) my sister belongs to in Liverpool, a hugely friendly bunch who I could instantly tell were highly supportive of one another. Thankfully at this point we were avoiding the cold, with runners kept inside the Echo Arena until our chosen start wave. This was a wise move by organisers to prevent needless exposure to the icy elements.
When it did come to braving the start line a mix of nervous anticipation and cold surged through my body. I went off fast, motivated to warm up and through the fact I was aiming for a sub 50min time. The air was initially harsh against my body and inside my lungs, but I settled into my stride. The first 5k I felt good, glancing at my watch I was at around the 24 min mark. The course was however beginning to incorporate a number of long inclines which my calves were beginning to complain about. This continued, with kilometre 6-7 particularly causing them to tighten and pull at my ankles. I had slowed a little now, but with 3k to go could be close to my old PB of 47.40 if I could just stick to roughly 5min/km pace.
Sadly I couldn't. My calves protested more with each step and a few extra seconds added onto each split. The final kilometre I attempted an early kick but the pain was harsh and I knew it couldn't be sustained. I powered on as hard as I could along the final straight, which was set alongside Liverpool's beautiful docks; finishing inside the Echo Arena again, I crossed the line in 49.14, greeted by a warm Polar Bear hug!
I am happy with my time - solid on legs which have been noticing up the miles in marathon training - less happy that my calves once again decided to act against me, but very much enjoyed the Winter Run experience. Liverpool is a great city regardless; but the race was also different to spring or summer 10ks I have ran, the energy among runners somehow more infectious, and the notion we were all that little bit more crazy for braving the elements more apparent! I was very happy for my sister too who smashed a PB after being unable to run for two weeks due to injury. As we waited for her fellow Nike Run Club members to finish, congratulated them on their achievements and I learnt more about their running history, the race day experience reinforced to me once more that whilst a finish time is important, the journeys, motivations, friendships, and passion behind each individual choosing to run and taking on a race should also be celebrated.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...