I have not felt 100% well for so long, I’ve forgotten what it’s like. It’s having a huge effect on my confidence; I wasn’t looking forward to this race. Worse still, I spent the night before in the bathroom, suffering once again with a bad stomach. Not the best preparation, and I only made the decision to run with less than an hour to go, having been persuaded that the worse case scenario was, it was a training run for Coventry Half.
Once again, the weather was kind. It was a very chilly start to the morning, but it quickly warmed up. I had been worried about ice, but the road outside of South Charnwood High school was fine as we lined up at the start.
Markfield has a very quick start. So quick, I definitely took the first two miles way too quickly. Speaking to people afterwards, I wasn’t the only one. It starts of going downhill, with a hill not far in, however, the momentum of that first part saw me take the uphill gradient too well. I had high hopes of a PB.
I settled into rhythm, but my breathing wasn’t right. I struggled, and the further into the race I got, the more noise I was making. This, along with the “rolling” countryside, was not a good look. About halfway round, I could feel the starting of a stitch, but I managed to run it off. I was tiring, though. The hills seemed relentless, my mind exaggerating every incline. I’d calculated I was barely going to match my PB from Hermitage last year, and resigned myself to having to try again later in the year.
The last mile was tough; I started to feel sick, the only relief in those last few kilometres came from the very few downhill sections. I am definitely much more stronger and confident with running downhill. Even though I was struggling, I flew down those hills, bombing past runners who had overtaken me with ease going up. Needless to say, they all went past me once the climbs returned, and I even said to a few that running downhill was my strength! It was noticeable, when I got home and analysed my Garmin data, because my heart rate also dropped considerably. I’ve been advised by some runners not to take downhills so quickly, but my feeling is, I’m not putting any effort in, and if it means I can claw back some time, then there is no disadvantage to flying down them.
This certainly was the case; as a clubmate, Dave, overtook me (to be fair, he did try and drag me along, but I didn’t have the energy), I calculated that a PB was still possible. As was club Gold standard. It was going to be touch and go. I kept checking my watch, which counted down the distance to 10k, and gave it everything I had left to get to the line. As I crossed the timing mat, I stopped my watch; 49:02. A new PB for 10k, but Gold was 49:00. I was gutted.
To get so close to a target, and not reach it, is very disappointing. Especially for the second race running. It’s taken a while to convince myself that I’m not fully fit, and once I am, I’ll be smashing it. I’ve felt drained since, and I’m sure I have yet another virus. In terms of positions, I didn’t do as well as I had done at Barrow, and with fewer runners, it’s added to my disappointment (368/594 overall, 80/222 female finishers, 34/116 vet women, and 14/32 V40-44 women).
The next race is Kibworth 6, which has two nasty hills, and is the weekend after Coventry Half. I’ve already knocked the idea of PBs and and standards out of my head, and I’ll focus on working on hills, and getting round in one piece. I may even be free of illness by then.