After an extremely iffy week I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely looking forward to tonight’s Broughshane 10k.
In fact, I was dreading it.
It’s almost on my doorstep, which obviously means a huge turnout from my club. That’s good in one respect because there’s plenty of support and friends around but, on the other hand, I somehow feel it adds extra pressure – everyone knows me, will be watching me and judging me. Utter nonsense, clearly, but still a concern albeit a totally illogical one.
My own form hasn’t been good either. I’d fallen out with running. I’d become bored with it. I have let the pain and discomfort dictate my performances again when I had just about cracked pushing through. This had disaster written all over it.
But it wasn’t, far from it.
After the obligatory club picture (see below, I’m in there somewhere – honest!), I actually found my nerves had settled considerably just from being around lots of familiar faces, many of them seemingly as apprehensive as I was.
Pre-race my plan was to exercise control and restraint during the first mile, I knew there was a bit of trail and some hills further along the course so wanted to save something from them.
So much for my plans. I completed the first mile in 9:52 … way, way too fast. Despite feeling ok at this stage I still made a conscious effort to slow it down for the second mile, but even that came in at 10:41.
The trail section was then upon us, I knew that would temper my pace but I was also on a bit of mission by that stage.
Saturday’s less than pleasing parkrun performance was still playing on my mind, but I realised as I passed the 5k point tonight that I set a time that, had I done it during parkrun, would be a new personal best. It might have been a minor thing to most people but, to me, it was a genuine morale booster.
The second part of the race was back on the roads, but it was also quite undulating. By now I had settled into a game of cat and mouse with Maria from the club. We had done something similar at a race over similar terrain last year so it was good to have her company again.
I was totally content with my performance by this stage. I had settled down completely and was happily running along almost to feel, without a care for my time. I approached the hills without any fear or dread, just taking them slowly and methodically.
My usual two running buddies, Bronagh and Iverene, were ahead of me but I didn’t know by how much so it was nice to see them during the short out and back section, and to see that they weren’t too far in front. They both produced great runs themselves, which was brilliant to see.
This wasn’t a pb course, that wasn’t my target tonight, but I did at least want to beat last year’s time. Quite often during races I’m mentally calculating my finish time and at one point this evening, whilst I knew I’d beaten last year, I was still quite disappointed that I wasn’t on course to beat it by too much.
With that in mind I put a bit of extra effort in over the final 3/4 of a mile. I was aiming to beat last year by six minutes ie: a minute per mile faster, more or less. I’m happy to report that’s exactly what I did, bar a second or two either way depending on whether you believe Strava, Garmin or the chip time.
So, all in all, the night went so so much better than I imagined it would. I’ve got my confidence back, my drive back and I feel renewed. Maybe, on reflection, whilst it didn’t feel like it, I just needed last week.