So November has been eventful in my life outside of running. Lots happening on the personal and professional front, mostly good. All this has meant that I seem to be always in motion, going from pillar to post and rarely getting time to sit down and take a breath.
Most of this is through my own choice so I'm not exactly complaining (well only as much as any Irish person can not be complaining) but still, I'm looking forward to Christmas for a chance to slow down and take stock.
What I have been doing is lots and lots of running. My mojo seems to have survived the marathon and I'm feeling really strong. Fingers crossed this continues! Well at least until after the cross country tomorrow anyway.
Two weeks ago I set a new parkrun PB of 23.10 without breaking too much of a sweat. Last weekend I got to do my new favourite 10k in Clarinbridge and set a new PB there too. In fairness I haven't managed a 10k all year so the target was not that ambitious.
I was at home in Galway for the weekend to celebrate my cousins engagement. Catching up with friends and family was the priority not a race and to prove that I consumed plenty of wine and stole most of the naan bread while heads were turned. Runners need carbs right?
The day dawned frosty and bright and I wasn't hungover so I packed the kiddos into the car and headed off towards Clarinbridge in plenty of time (I thought!)
Unfortunately due to being stuck behind a van being towed and every Sunday driver in County Galway it was 12:10 before I arrived in Clarinbridge and the race was starting at 12:30! I darted in and registered, pinning my number on with trembling hands. I hate being late......and being late for me includes not being very early.
After a very brief warm-up I lined up well back in the bunch. It seemed to be almost all club runners and I hadn't a clue where I belonged so I didn't want to get in anyones way. We set off right on schedule and I held a comfortable 7:28 pace for the first mile. This felt easy but then it should do in mile one!
We then moved briefly onto a forest path which was narrow in places and quite rough underfoot. I was fairly happy here as I'm used to rough ground and wanted to move on a bit faster but I was caught up in a bit of traffic. I wasn't confident enough to be aggressive here.
What if I pushed past someone aggressively and then then cruised past me a mile later? I'd feel like a total tool! Anyway this mile ended up at 7.45.....not too bad but would have like it to be faster. Thats me in the pic below in the background. I'm in my green singlet tucked in behind the lady in black and the lady in orange. Lovely running form as always! Photo stolen from Amphibian King West.
After this we moved back onto a wider path and onto the main road. It was good to have more space but it was mostly uphill. I remembered this section from the 5k series and knew there would be more hills whenever I thought it was over so I didn't let myself get psyched out. I started to push a bit to pick up the pace. This mile was 7.33. Still feeling grand at this point and was actually having fun!
The next two miles were more up and down but I was starting to believe I wasn't about to crash and burn plus I was loving overtaking people. Is that bad? It's a really nice mental boost. I couldn't believe how well I felt at this stage of the race. These two miles came in at 7:19 and 7:24.
At this point we re-entered the park we had started in and I knew it was mostly downhill from here. I seemed to still have loads in my legs and was having a ball! Mile 6 was 6.54 and I sprinted it in to finish in 46:11 almost 2 minutes off my previous 10k PB (which I have always had a sneaking suspicion was on a short course anyway)
My kiddos were waiting for me just after the line and I was able for a hug and a chat almost straight away.
So what do I take away from this race?
Well, I'm fitter than I've ever been right now. This marathon training cycle has left me in shape to PB at every distance and I feel like I'm getting faster and stronger every week.
I'm too easy on myself. I already knew my 5k PB was soft but this sort of made a mockery of it altogether. I'm not trying hard enough early enough as I'm so scared of blowing up.
In a 5 or 10k would it really be the end of the world to see how fast I can go? Someone with a lot more experience than I have pointed that out to me this week and I have taken it to heart. I need to stop looking at my watch and being scared of the paces I'm running at. I'm stronger than I think.