Here we go again then. Nearly time for the annual jaunt around the streets of the capital. Without doubt, one of my favourite days of the year and one of the best races on the calendar. Those with excessive time on their hands/jobs they don’t really enjoy, can read up on previous editions here;
Various media outlets have been asking for updates after my rather concerning collapse a few weeks ago immediately after the Diss Duathlon. You’ll all be happy to know, no lasting damage was done to Katie’s bike after I crash landed on top of it.
My own health has been a bit up and down. A quick check in with the doc confirmed there was nothing sinister to be worried about, but I’ve had a rather annoying virus which I’ve really struggled to shift. Training has been a bit on and off, but thankfully I was feeling pretty chipper during our nice little holiday away in the Lake District.
Easter weekend rolled around, and what better way to try and shake off the tail end of a virus than running a 10km race eyeballs out – what’s the worst that can happen? To be honest, my race was just a sideshow, with headline news items 1 and 2 relating to the two leading ladies in my life.
My dearest mother continued her foray into the running world, taking part and completing her first ever organised race, finishing the 10km distance in just a shade over the hour mark. With the Edinburgh Half looming large next week, female distance runners across the country will be quaking in their boots at the thought of coming up against this running machine.
Katie also continued her tentative comeback from injury by obliterating her 10km PB and taking the win in the process, with a storming time of 39:13. Not bad for someone who’s only been back into proper training in the last couple of weeks. If things continue the way they do, I might have to throw her down some stairs to make sure she’s not gliding past me during a race in the near future. Joking.
Victoria Park (East London), was the scene of this race, by the way. Title is a bit of a giveaway, but I’ve not really set the scene. The sun’s out, there’s that freshly cut grass smell in the air, and the hipsters are out in force walking their trendy dogs, wearing those jeans that have holes in the knees.
I’ve tricked clubmate and 2:29 marathoner Matt Dickinson into coming along, with the thought that he might be able to pace me around to a half decent time. This was before I’d been complaining all week that I was sick and running in the state I was in a week before London probably wasn’t the best idea.
With that in mind, we set off at sub-35 pace and decide to see what happens. Get to halfway and reassess. For a reason unknown to everyone, the 10km was the last race to start, and we were immediately caught in the midst of hundreds of others doing the half marathon and 5km events, weaving our way through the field.
For the first couple of km’s, the pace seemed just about manageable – maybe after a few days of rest, things were going to be ok? However, it then started to unravel, and as we reached 5km in 17:30, I knew it wasn’t happening. I told Matt to reduce the pity party to a population of 1, and he coasted off into the distance to pick off runners ahead and finish 2nd.
I didn’t completely throw in the towel, but mentally I was done, and I turned the engine down slightly in the second half, which still made it an absolute slogfest. I was really struggling, running completely on my own, trying to weave around all the other runners. The finish line was such a welcome relief, and a glance at my watch told me I’d be pretty close to a PB.
Given I’d recently gone through the 10km mark of the Reading half in exactly 35 minutes, I wasn’t going to be all that chuffed with a ‘small’ PB anyway, which sounds pretty ungracious, but I always set lofty goals and give myself a hard time if I don’t perform. I didn’t even muster up a sprint, finishing 5th in 35:41, exactly matching my PB after coasting over the line. Spraggins, you tw*t.
With the race being on a Friday, this opened up the possibility to parkrun on Saturday morning, and for absolutely no reason whatsoever, Katie and I decided to do it in fancy dress. Fools.
So where does that leave things with London just a few days away?
‘Not sure’, is the best answer. Since the turn of the year, my training has had a real run focus to it, and I’ve logged on average about 80 miles a week, with a few of them ticking over the 100 mile mark. I ran a half marathon PB a few weeks ago in Reading, which indicated I’m in some sort of decent shape, but this illness has really knocked the confidence levels.
As always, I’ll run around London with a smile on my face (it’s impossible not to), and assuming things improve I’ll be giving it a real crack. I haven’t raced a marathon for nearly a year and a half, when I PB’d in Valencia in 2017. 2:39:48 was the time I ran that day, and I’ll definitely have half an eye on that, if conditions and my body are playing ball.
Let’s see what the day brings. I’ll be the idiot running around in trunks and a flat cap.