A few months backed I was encouraged to enter this race by a friend; I needed to be quick, I was told, as it sells out and there is also cake at the finish! A race which fills fast (and has cake!) is a good indication of a great event, especially in the local running scene. I signed up, although perhaps my only apprehension was the fact the race was held on a Friday night at 7pm - that was something I was really not used to!
Fast forward to race week and I will admit I had some doubts about whether to run; mid marathon training I also had Newark Half Marathon booked for the same weekend. Could I manage two races in three days? Was it sensible? I had to decide fairly early in the week as it would need me to adapt my training plan slightly. I wanted to run; the event intrigued me and also a Friday night spent running with friends sounded a lot better than doing my weekly food shop - which is as wild as I get these days! With that in mind I felt I would be sad if I missed out - I could always take it steady I told myself!
Driving over to Screddington, a village just outside Sleaford where the race was due to start, the rain lashed against my windscreen so much I could barely see the road. This was accompanied by a very strong wind which shook my little car at times. Was this really such a great idea?! Thankfully the gusty wind blew the rain storm through by the time I had parked up on a small village field, however the wind still prevailed. It was clear the wind was definitely going to play a factor when running, but to be honest I did not mind. My approach for the race was still to take it fairly steady, and if there was a battle with wind, this would basically help me by forcing me to slow down!
As I walked across to collect my race number from the village hall I instantly bumped into a group of fellow Lincoln runners I knew. This is the best thing about local events in my opinion, the community feel you get that maybe is missing from the larger scale national races. Finding my number I then also found members from the Thursday night Run Club session I am part of, and we chatted away, passing time quickly leading up to the start.
The start was a short walk from the village hall on a small village lane, quite quaint really. I was relaxed about the run, I just hoped I could keep sensible! As the 'go' signal was given and I crossed the start the course soon turned and proceeded to climb uphill, which was also into the very strong headwind. This was actually a good thing for me as it meant my start was steady; it effectively held me back. The wind would play a role throughout the race, especially into the final sections, however I was surprised by how little it did bother me. It was strong, but I felt equally strong enough to meet its demand.
I enjoyed the following miles, which had a few undulations but nothing too tough, and really felt I grew into the race. I did not look at my watch, I did not want to know my pace in case I felt scared I was pushing too much. I ran to feel and it felt good - so much better that at my last 10k in Woodhall Spa were I tried to stick to a hard pace and struggled in the conditions.
The final 2 miles were pretty much all into the wind, it was so ferocious and at times I thought it was going to rip the paper number off my chest! I make it sound horrendous, but weirdly I just smiled and kept going. It was as I was making one of the final turns along this section that one of the many friendly marshals on course informed me I was second female. I had not really grasped this up until this point, however now, with probably just under a mile to go, I felt the need to push a little more, just in case there were fellow females trying to chase me down! I drove for the finish, still feeling in control though, and I held my place to cross the finish in 44:22 and as second female. 'You will get a prize!' one of the volunteers giving out medals told me - that was a nice surprise.
I went back onto the course and cheered some of my friends in, before then heading to hunt out the cake I had been promised. I will admit I was not expecting the banquet of cake I was met with - there was honestly so much choice, I think Mary Berry would have been in heaven! I had a slice of orange cake and a slice of pineapple upside down cake - both delicious! - as I waited for the prize giving. As my name was called out I went to collect a lovely and appropriately cake themed glass trophy, and I was equally touched that some of my friends stayed behind to watch too.
I am really pleased I decided to run the Sleaford 10k; I ran well, but I also knew I had not trashed my body in the process, which was also important for the things I had ahead. Running, friends, cake and a little trophy - I think this Friday night beat traipsing the aisle of Tesco!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...