Long, long time readers will remember in 2009 I ran the Richmond10km in 42:20 minutes, setting a then personal best for my 10km abilities. Since then I’ve always wanted to try and go sub 40 minutes - you know, just because.
I entered the Clapham Common 10km, which was promised as a fast, flat race, perfect for breaking your PB by a friend, and after my entry in March was delayed due to a broken toe, I finally got back the fitness and stamina to use my deferred entry for October’s race.
So, last Sunday, while Australians and New Zealanders drunk themselves into oblivion in bars around the Clapham area, I and some 400 other fitter souls took to the start line at the Clapham bandstand.
My attempts at sub 40 minutes were easily out done by the chap at the start line promising to go sub 34 minutes and within 100m he was storming head and eventually broke the course record in 32 minutes something or other - terrifyingly impressive.
Me, though, I pounded on and kept up the pace I needed to hit to break my target, although by the fourth kilometre was conscious I was falling ever-so-slightly behind too, so kept having to ramp up my speed, before easing off, which isn’t the best way to do it really.
The course itself was not actually that conducive to a fast speed, either,as it was annoyingly twisty and turny, and filled with stragglers from the 5km that set off before the 10k runners, which led to some annoying moments trying to pass on the corners.
The fact it was two laps of the same course was also irritating as psychologically you know there’s nothing new to look forward to and you have the same dull course to do as you start the second lap.
I came through half way at almost dead on 21 minutes, one minute off the pace, and not looking forward to my second lap, especially with the heat of the day now bizarrely hot, considering it's October.
I tried in vain to make up that errant minute but it’s very hard to run the second half of a race faster than the first and although I managed to about break even and I only managed a disappointing, but respectable, 42:52 to finish 26th. Not even a PB.
I think I needed to have done more speed training around the roads of Wimbledon and it shows that perhaps my performance at the more hilly Richmond course really was at the height of my fitness, some two months post London marathon.
Still, it was fun to do and now I have the latent fitness for 10kms I can train harder specifically for the sub 40 minute barrier, rather than the distance of 10km first and then hope the speed is there afterwards.
While writing this blog my girlfriend asked me why I wanted to write a blog about running a 10km – the answer is that I don’t really know, I just find it interested to document the experience of the race.
I know not many people read this blog really, but hopefully those that do, or stumble across this post, might find something to interest them – the internet is too big anyway, so one more blog entry hardly matters anyway does it?