Cliveden 10k

It’s that time of year again, where we get up at 6:45am on a Sunday, don ourselves in skimpy lycra and brave the fog and rain to run 10k around the muddy grounds of Cliveden House. Voluntarily. For fun. 🙂

Last year we had just come back from a 20 hour training holiday in Lanzarote, and so whilst I was fit, my legs were certainly not fresh! I did it in 53:41, placing 36th lady and 20th in AG.

This year I have had a bit of an enforced rest over the last few weeks due to illness. Paul had given me a goal time of 50 minutes; do-able at full fitness, but on a cocktail of inhalers, antibiotics and steroids for my chest/sinuses, I wasn’t holding out too much hope. I resigned myself to walking up the infamous steps (120, done at the end of both laps) and merely aiming to finish.

The first 1k I take a little fast considering, in 4:38/km pace. But it’s always nice to run clear of the masses, especially in a race like this where some sections are almost down to single-file. Nothing more frustrating than getting stuck behind a plodder (I should know, being one!). For the rest of the first lap I surprise myself by keeping up a decent pace, although I can see that my HR is consistently around 180, which is usually non-sustainable for >5km for me. Still, the legs are turning (average 176spm) and the lungs aren’t feeling too tight, and I don’t yet have “tingly tongue” – a sign my body makes when I’m pushing myself too hard (usually happens at HR >183). So I carry on. I bail out and walk the second half of round 1 of the steps, saving my legs for round 2 and allowing my HR to come down from the dizzying heights of 193!

The second (longer, hillier) lap continues to feel OK, although my pace has dropped off a little – 4:42/km to 5:46/km corrected for gradient. It’s a much harder lap IMHO, but it does mean more downhill sections and I seem to be quite good at letting my legs go on those 🙂 Eventually, after a bit of slipping and sliding about, I get to the bottom of the steps again, knowing it’s almost over. I still only manage to run half way again, but right near the top I go into full on racing mode: I start to run the last 10 steps, overtaking a lady I have followed the whole way around, as one of the spectators comments “that’s a face of focus and determination”! Less than 500m to go and I manage to override the lactic acid and pull of a sprint finish. It’s done for another year!

Paul has done very well, finishing in 42:34 (a PB) – 27th overall and 12th in AG. Several of our club-mates from BTS have also competed and done well – The incredible “Baylii” both finishing top 10, Chris D getting a decent first run, newlyweds Carl and Clara as dedicated as always to their passion for running and Heather and Vicki pulling an impressive 1:01 out of the bag considering they almost overslept!!

My official time is 50:56, so I have shaved 2:45 off my PB and come 21st lady and 13th in AG. Success in my books 🙂