The Titanic Quarter 10k last year was a race I hated. I didn’t perform well on the day, there were things about it I just didn’t like and I’ve long since marked it down as my worse ever race.
As the date for the 2018 edition approached I debated with myself whether or not to enter, to make a return to what was my running nemesis. I wanted to, then I didn’t, then I did and so on before finally deciding not to … until an opportunity presented itself the night before and, 12 hours later, I found myself on the starting line preparing to get this monkey off my back!
I’d travelled up with Aidy who, only yesterday, had run the Omagh Half Marathon. Fair play to him, that’s some commitment. Thanks for the transport, and the good company.
Perhaps because I hadn’t anticipated doing the race I didn’t prepare mentally for it. I guess that was maybe a good thing because I might have allowed my negative thoughts towards it rear their ugly heads.
As it was, I began in a fairly positive frame of mind and this resulted in me starting well, a little faster than normal but not excessively so.
But, about one mile in, I could feel the dreaded burn in my ankles and I knew I was going to be in for a morning of pain. Not what I wanted.
It happens sometimes, even when I’m walking. There’s no real reason for it that I can ascertain (heat, possibly – and it *was* warm out there today), it’s just one of those things and something I just have to ride out until it settles.
A year ago I would have thrown the head up, and gone into a strop. But I was determined that wouldn’t happen this time. My feet felt heavy, I was clomping as I was striking the ground and wasn’t running smoothly at all.
And still it wasn’t going to beat me, I didn’t allow it to.
I knew early on that I wasn’t going to be as quick today as I have been, or would have liked so I decided to settle for being at least quicker than last year. That’d be progress, right?
So, with my burning ankles for company, I kept plugging away … slowing it right down until the burn disappeared, and then increasing the pace until it reappeared. This was my race for the next four miles and, looking at my splits, I was surprisingly consistent which was reassuring. At least I wasn’t slowing and I was within the time markers I always set for myself.
Then, with around a mile to go, the burn just went and my legs began to settle into the race to finish strongly. Not great timing with the blasted thing nearly over but also a good sign that, perhaps, with many much longer races ahead of me I can estimate when it’ll disappear if it happens again.
It perhaps says a lot about how I’ve progressed lately that I’m a little disappointed with my time but, given the heat and my ankles, I did finish six minutes faster than last year – that’s a minute faster per mile – so I have to be happy with that.
Have I lanced the boil that is the TQ10k? Yep, I guess so.
BTW, in case you’re wondering when my next half marathon is going to be … I’ll decide on the next couple in the coming days, most likely Garvagh Forest and EAMS ‘Not The London Marathon’. Watch this space.