So last weekend I was off to Amsterdam courtesy of Brooks and Athletics Weekly after winning a competition to head to the European Athletics Championships. I’ll have a blog post on all of that coming next week, but on the Sunday I was off to take part in the Brooks 10K Champions Run – so here’s a little race report about how I got on.
The 10K is a PB that I think is not as good as the rest of my PBs – the 36:16 I ran at the Kirklees 10K Challenge was not my best executed race, and the other attempts on flat courses were when I wasn’t in my best form, so I really wanted to go for it.
The preparation for the race the day before was difficult – as a hospitality guest there was as much free food and beer as I would want. I managed to be as sensible as I could and only had one beer, but the other issue was sleep. It was an early start on the Saturday to get to Amsterdam, so it was to bed as soon as I could after getting back from the Olympic Stadium.
So the excuses are already starting to rack up in this report, which as you can guess, isn’t promising. The race started at 11:30am, a relatively late start, and over breakfast race participants received an email warning about the hot weather, reminding people to drink plenty of water and wear sun cream. A cursory warm up jog at the start, an easy mile and then half a mile at 6:30 a mile pace, warned me that it was going to get very warm and very hard quickly.
With all of that in mind it was time to get going – the plan, not really taking into account the heat, was 5:30 a mile pace to run close to 34 minutes.
A minor gripe about the race – the starting funnel was very narrow, and narrowed further by a platform for the race starters edging out into it. This meant some of the keener (read: ruder) runners pushed and shoved to get to the start. Then when the race did start, there was a 90 degree right turn very shortly after the start.
After the dicey start I was off and up to pace, running the first mile in 5:28. It felt hard, but comfortably hard. The route was flat through Amsterdam, with only a few bumps over bridges over canals. The second mile came in at 5:39, starting to feel even harder.
I hadn’t run hard in heat like this since the 2012 Edinburgh Marathon. My body simply wasn’t cooling down, and looking back at my stats my heart rate was just that little bit higher than I’m used to maintaining on flat out race efforts. From there the wheels completely fell off. From 2 miles in I was struggling to maintain 6 minute miles, and the effort wasn’t pleasant at all. At that point in a race it is really mentally hard to keep the effort up when your goals have gone, and running a PB was quickly flying out of the window.
Just before heading into the Vondelpark one of the other competition winners, Amelia Pettitt, came flying past me. Measuring in at about two foot shorter than me there was less of her to carry around the course, but even then she flew past me, absolutely smashing it and going on to finish as third lady from the wave.
The finish had us coming through the arches of the Rijksmuseum before the finish arch. I had a last minute sprint to beat another runner there as a Brooks guest – although it was slightly futile with him beating me on chip time. I was absolutely wrecked after the finish line – salt running into my face, desperate for water (spitting out some horrendous energy drink from the first volunteers after the line). For the effort required, 36:58 was a disappointing time.
I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on what this means for where my form is at. I’m still reasonably early into this training block, it was a very hot day and a race run late in the morning, and it was a long and tiring weekend. It probably doesn’t mean that much is wrong with where I’m at, but it does mean that I don’t have the confidence from a strong 10K, but at least I can rely on the confidence boosting 10 miler from the week before.