The feeling you get when you’re approaching the finish line of a race is pretty unbeatable. I could hear my name being announced and the crowd cheering which spurred me on to keep running. I spotted Annie on Stu’s shoulders and she was waving and clapping like mad, my biggest fan. I almost wanted to run to her instead of the finish line.
The Manchester WR10K was my first ever 10k and I picked a beautiful September morning for my debut. It was at Wythenshawe Park which is pretty easy to get to, parking was onsite too. There was a stage area where I was briefly interviewed about this blog, why I run and what tips I had for new runners (to warm up and warm down!) and there was a good buzz about the place.
My training had been going well and my plan was to attempt a 50 minute 10k, I thought this was a pretty achievable aim based on recent 5k times and how quick my easy effort long runs had been. However, I should really have taken my injury into account. I’d been on ibruprofen for the previous two weeks after hurting my knee the night before my sisters wedding and hadn’t done any running in that time for fear of making it worse. I’d been walking without pain for a week before the race, so I decided I must be fine and went for the 50 minutes.
The first mile felt good, I ran with a pacer for a while but then just went with the speed that felt right which was slightly faster than the pace she was running. The second mile started much the same as the first but ended with my knee pain returning and so I slowed down, walking by the end of it. Miles 3-6 were a blur of pain, swearing a lot, walking a bit and almost crying. The pain was there whether I walked or ran so I thought I may as well carry on and deal with it afterwards.
The course was pretty flat which was lucky because I don’t think I could have managed any hills, the terrain was quite difficult though because there were quite a few muddy patches to run through and there were unusual challenges like when I was running with the 55 minute pacer and a horse didn’t like her flag so almost threw his rider off on a small path! There were some parts of the track where it was difficult to pass people too, so even when I felt like I could have gone faster it would have been difficult to do so.
As you return to the running track, you can see the crowd and the finish line. The last 200 metres I tried to sprint but my leg couldn’t, so I awkwardly ran across the finish line, collecting my goodie bag and collapsing into a heap on the floor! My overall time was 56.47 and my lap times were: 7:37, 9:04, 8:56, 9:18, 9:33, 10:20, 1:59 (I work in miles / metres). As frustrating as it is not to meet my goal time, I’m still happy I did it and I’m pleased with my time – it’s a good target to beat next time!
My mum decided to drive down and surprise me at the race, bringing her partner and my nephew along as well. It was lovely having that extra support there (plus Stu was glad of the extra help with the kids!) and we all went out for lunch and to a garden centre afterwards. I bought a geranium to celebrate! It was my first 10k but I don’t think it’ll be my last, it’s a good distance to train for because it doesn’t take up too much time and any amount of training should result in an improved time.
I’ve been to the doctors and for an x-ray on my knee and am waiting for the results. It fits the symptoms of an IT (iliotibial) band injury, the pain is towards the outer side of my knee and it hurts more when I’m walking downhill. I’m going to rest it (running-wise) until after my holiday, then I’ll ease back into training. I’ve also started a 30 day yoga program so hopefully I’ll get into the routine of stretching more. I’ll keep you posted on the recovery!