Sunday 2nd July saw me return to road racing, after a substantial break of eight weeks. I am not going to lie, I did not prepare myself for this one. I did not train and the week leading up to the race saw me go through some pretty stressful times. So it is safe to say I was extremely un-prepared. But I was not going to let the weeks events scupper my racing schedule. I just had to except that it was just going to be a “run” and I should not expect any PB’s.
The day began with glorious sunshine, and on arrival at the Olympic Park Stadium organisers where already advising runners not to run for a PB. It was simply too hot!
Running in the green wave I watched the first few runners set off, including the visually impaired runners, with Jo Pavey signalling the start of the race. Then soon enough it was my wave.
I did not get my pacing right this time round. The first ten minutes saw me running faster than my training pace. Looking down at my Garmin I saw I was running a faster pace of 9 minutes per mile. Which I thought was fantastic – but with 6 miles to run and in higher than normal temperatures I had to think about regulating the pace to my normal speed to cope with the running conditions.
I eventually brought it back down before the second mile – steadily trotting along at 10:30 minutes/ per mile. Which is my standard comfortable training pace. Adjusting to the running conditions and getting my breathing under control was important to see the run through, even if it was just a 10k race.
The course saw you run around some of the iconic landmarks in the Olympic Park; starting under the Arcelormittal Orbit, round the Copper Box, Velodrome and finishing in the Olympic Park Stadium itself. It was an amazing course, though rather undulating; giving me flash backs to the British Heat Foundation 10k of 2016, which gave me my fear of laps and due to a cold winters morning, pushed me into a poor state of health.
During the section of the course that saw me re-trace my steps of the one race that I look back on with dread, I had to fight my mind to push through, to forget that horrid day. It took some will power to do so, my pacing slowed and with the increasing temperature my body was severely over heating. But I pushed through. The hilly part of the course was less of a challenge that it was before, mainly due to participating in the Harlow park runs. Clearly the hills of Harlow Town Park had worked in my favour as when others were breaking into a walk up the hills, I was powering up to the top and ready to take on the next one.
Soon enough the tough part was over, 7km marker passed followed quickly by the 8km marker. The heat of the day was increasing, so I wanted to finish as soon as possible. So water was thrown over my head and legs to cool myself down, to get me through to the finish. 9km passed, and I knew it was now flat to the end. So the speed picked up again, running around the track outside the stadium then running round the indoor tunnels of the stadium itself for the final 400 meters. 100 meters left and you entered the track inside the stadium. With my name popping up on the big screen, announcing my final steps, I channelled my inner Bolt (as if), and sprinted to the finish line.
Job done. Another medal. Another stadium finish.
This is an event I would definitely want to run again. The organisation, planning and amazing finish was worth every penny. My only criticism, as with most races, the water stations are slightly lacking. Personally I was fine, I always carry my hydration pack, but there were many around me who were gasping for water. There just did not seem to be enough stations at the right time, especially given the hot weather.
That said, roll on 2018 because I cannot wait to run this one again!