I love the summer, because it’s when all the winter’s training comes to fruition in what can be a pretty non-stop string of short distance races. If course, the fact that I keep getting injured and missing winter training is something of a spanner in the works, but it’s still fun to be out racing!
After the first race of the Yeovilton 5k Series, in which I moderately exceeded my expectations, I had the Glastonbury 10k. This is one that Lolly raced (in my place) last year, when I had a further setback. I was pretty excited to be running it this year, but I knew that it wasn’t the flattest route. In fact, plenty of people who did it last year had been moaning no end about the hill at the end.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about; I’d stood at the top of that hill, and yes, it was steep, but it was also pretty short – surely you could just power through it? Of course, that fact that it was in the last kilometre of the race was less than ideal. But anyway, more on that later.
Given the… undulating nature of the course, and the fact that my training ‘long’ runs had only just hit 7 miles, I wasn’t particularly optimistic of a fast time, and was aiming to go sub-45, with the expectation that it might be tough to achieve. (My PB is about 42:22, for reference.)
The start pen was pretty well organised (Lolly tells me that this was NOT the case last year), but it was a little bizarre. There were two areas: the front was reserved for club runners, and the rear area for unaffliated runners – irrespective of pace. This worked out reasonably well for me, but it did mean that I ended up a little bit too far forward, and unsurprisingly (and characteristically) I flew off far too fast.
The first kilometre was predominantly uphill, going up the high street buoyed on by the big crowds. I’m not joking either – there were LOTS of people. The run coincided with the Beltane celebrations this year, and so the place was packed. I’ve never run with such loud support before, and to be honest, it was a little intimidating. Less intimidating was the sight of Lolly and Lani at the top of the high street, right where I was expecting them. It always makes me smile when Lani notices me running (she doesn’t always!) The crowds, and my position a bit too far forwards meant that I ran a 4:11 first kilometre, and then was even faster for the second (admittedly downhill) kilometre, 4:05.
That first hill is the worst of the race, but the course continues to undulate throughout. Personally, I enjoyed this – I tend to find completely flat courses a bit of a slog, and like the varying effort that an undulating course allows. Through these middle kilometres I averaged about 4:23. I spent most of this section worrying that I’d had gone off too fast, and continued to go too fast. I was well inside my 45-minute target, and although the pace felt reasonable, I was worried that I was just going to hit a cliff at around 8 kilometres, and struggle home for the last couple, particularly with the hill.
I was wrong. The eighth and ninth kilometres were both relatively easy downhills, and although I was starting to worry about the prospect of the hill, my pace increased accordingly to 4:14 for each. The final kilometre began with a little bit more descent, but then the hill loomed large ahead of us.
I’m a little unusual – I love hills. As soon as I saw the hill, I kicked my pace on, and passed two runners that I’d been following for a while before we hit the hill. At the bottom, there was a sign – I can’t remember the exact wording, but it was essentially “high five for hill power”. I did – I was willing to take anything on offer! I powered up the hill. From the bottom you could see the turn at the top, so I was happy to put my all into it.
It was fine. I won’t say it was easy – I felt pretty nauseous at the top from the effort, but it was fine. From the top of the hill, the course turns left down hill, and I just let gravity help me down. It might have been more efficient to put less effort into the hill, for more effort down the hill, but meh.
Although I’d known for a while that I was going to be well under 45 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to see 43:20 on my watch – for an undulating course early during my training, that was far closer to my PB than I was expecting!
I really enjoyed this race, and it was good to have a few club mates around for it as well. Unfortunately, we weren’t organised enough to get a proper group photo, as we all seemed to be in different places. Lolly and Lani were near the end to cheer me in again, but unfortunately I didn’t notice them in the large crowds. I have to say a big THANK YOU to Lolly for her support during this race, which as I understand, mostly involved standing in the toilet queue with Lani, who kept declaring that she needed a wee. Definitely a runner in training!
Next up… Yeovilton 5k and the Wambrook Waddle