(check out the awesome video of the day put together by Write This Run!)
A few months ago I was invited to be on the Team Write This Run for the Women’s Running 10k London race. I’ve met some amazing friends from Write This Run and getting to run a race with them at the park down the street from my flat? That’s my idea of perfect Saturday morning.
It was one of those mornings I actually had to wake up earlier than I should just to eat breakfast and have time to digest before the race. I usually wouldn’t worry too much about eating before a 10k, but I had publicly stated (erm, in Women’s Running Magazine) that I wanted to finish the race under 50 minutes so I needed all the fuel I could.
The rain was stopping and starting all morning, but the skies cleared as I arrived and met the other Team WtR ladies. It wasn’t a huge race and there were more than enough staff to handle the day-of registrations and baggage drop. A few speeches by inspiring running women and a quick warm up we were sent to the start line with our pacers. Each pacer wore a foam finger (much better than Miley!) so we just had to follow the finger!!!
I had trained in Finsbury Park and knew the lap was only 2 and a bit kilometres so I was intruiged how they’d fit 2 5k laps in the park. Well straight from the start we were twisting and turning along the road, paths and on the grass. The route was wide enough though to handle the crowd and everything was going smoothly. I was questioning my ability to actually run a sub-50 as the past 2 weeks had been all rest after my half marathon in Reykjavik, so I was hoping the speed would still be somewhere in my legs – but couldn’t be sure until I tested them out. Things were still good around 3kms and I was feeling strong up the hills on the first lap. I had my Garmin set to only show my pace as I knew I had to stick to a 5:00 min/km and didn’t care about the total time or distance (a way I trick myself into running faster NOW and not worrying about the “rest” of the run) and I was running around 5:00 and even down to 5:30 on the uphills. The 50 minute pacer was behind me though and I wasn’t sure if I should slow down and save my legs for an end sprint or trust my own pacing. I decided to keep up my own pace and smile through the pain. Top tip – smiling and saying thank you to the marshals is a great way to take your mind off the pain and show your gratitude.
I was ticking off the hills in my head and knew that I was on the last one when my legs felt like they were running through gravy. But, from there it was all downhill and even the headwind on the last 200m couldn’t stop me. I pushed into a finish sprint (the downhill really did most of the work) and finished at 49:56 with fellow Team WtR member Laura right with me. I’ve never stopped my Garmin so fast as I didn’t want it to tick over to that 50:00! Medals and water were handed out then I had to decided what size t-shirt I wanted, which was very hard to do in my state of mind. There were some people handing out flyers too which was slightly annoying as I didn’t have any hands – just put them in the goody-bags!
With the sub-50 goal met, we headed back to just before the finish to cheer on the rest of the runners and wave the great signs fellow Write This Runner Liz brought. As our team finished we all shared our stories of the race and save the hills, we all had a great time and really enjoyed it! There were PBs met (Becca!) and goals achieved all around.
All in all it was a great race I’d highly recommend to anyone. The Women’s Running 10k race series was held in 3 cities around the UK this year and rumour is they are going WAY bigger next year (spoiler: possibly double digits!). It wasn’t too woman-y either. I am not a fan of the all pink all diva all sparkles theme that some Women’s only races promote. (Can’t we just race against other Women, have some tea, cake and prosecco after and not have to wear a tiara?) And this race avoided all of it. The purple shirt is a great addition to my colourful wardrobe! Plus (and I’m slightly biased here) the magazine really did a great job in showcasing the race and it’s runners in weekly blogs and sending out training plans with your registration. There were loads of women running their first 10k and others hitting SUPER FAST elite times (ahem, Jess & Becs, you both rock!) all in a great supportive environment.
Is that enough gushing? I really couldn’t find any faults with this race and really hope they come back to my backyard next year!
Thank you Write This Run & Women’s Running UK for the opportunity to run this race, blog about it with the magazine and for all your prosecco-fueled cheering!