I’m going to start off this post with a bit of an emotional hurrah regarding the fact that I actually managed to complete a 10 mile run. About 6 months ago, when I signed up to run the Brighton Marathon, I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get to the point of feeling like I might be capable of it. I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but the girl who struggled round a 48 minute 5km 6 months ago is very different to the one who just completed a 10 mile run! While I’m not the speediest runner (and probably never will be), this feels like a huge achievement and stepping stone for me. Next up is my first ever half marathon in December, so I can’t wait to keep beating those challenges and proving to myself that I capable of more.
Why The Rockingham 10?
I decided to be optimistic with my training programme and try to get a half marathon in before the 16 week marathon training schedule begins. This is partly because I knew it would be a big hurdle and a handful of weeks to build up the distance between 10k and 13.1 miles didn’t feel like quite enough. I find that races are my biggest and best motivation to train, so I signed up to several 10kms, this 10 mile and then the half in December. I searched for races that wouldn’t be too far from where I live and when I stumbled across Rockingham, I was super keen.
(This was partly down to the fact that the race took place on a speedway – it just sounded like an awesome thing to do!)
I even managed to convince my colleague to join me for the run and as soon as I got the Blenheim 10k under my belt, I began training to build up to 10 miles.
This was probably my most successful pre-race fuel, with a hearty breakfast and plenty of water, the only thing I was waiting for was the race to begin.
It was a pretty cold day, as expected for November, so I wrapped up warm and spent a lot of time warming up before it began, by the time we started I was itching to just get on with it.
There were a lot of people running the 10 miler, a lot of people who looked super professional and speedy. I felt sure I was going to come last and that it would be embarrassing. The support from runners, marshals and spectators was great though and really kept me going.
Despite almost immediately falling quite far back, I was determined to stick to my pace (aiming for a two hour run) and not throw myself off. The 10k and 5k runs started about 10-15 minutes after ours kicked off and for a lot of the first mile or two, I was surrounded by other people, which definitely kept me going. Shout out to the poor lady who must have fallen in the crowds, I hope you’re ok!
The course was three laps of the circuit, with three water stations on the route. This meant there was always water around the corner. I’m usually pretty bad with guzzling water during my runs, but I found myself running by the first two stations without needing any. The first 3 miles genuinely felt great – my body was a little sore and achey but I was running through it well and actually came through the first lap in under the 40 minutes target I had set myself. I was ahead of the game so I felt good, stuck with the same pace and carried on.
The one thing I would have liked was more frequent signage for each mile. There were a few dotted around: 1, 5, 7 and 9 miles, but I would have preferred one at every mile so that I could work out my pace. I need a gps watch! By the time I reached the ‘5 mile’ point I was starting to feel a bit tired and achey, but it felt good knowing I was half way there so I didn’t lose momentum.
Maybe it was something psychological at this point, but the 6th mile was just a bit more difficult than the last – and it seemed to carry on that way for the rest of the race. I was starting to get twinges of pain in my shins – something I’ve never experienced before – but I pushed on knowing that soon I’d be on my last lap.
One of the hardest moments was watching other 10-milers come into the finish line as I approached the 7 mile marker. This was partly because I was jealous and partly because I now knew that I was virtually alone, there were a few of us dotted around but that was it.
By this point, my body was hurting. More specifically, I had begun to feel shooting pains in my shins and an ache in my hip. I knew I had no other choice but to walk a lot of the final three miles, with sporadic attempts to run again. It was incredibly painful and I had to fight with myself not to just give up and stop entirely. Although it was slow, I carried on running as much as I could.
The one perk of being at the back is that the marshals give all their attention and praise to you. As I said, they really were keeping me going in those last bits. There was one guy especially right before I entered the finishing funnel who was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to keep going right up until the finish line. Every painful step of the way!
If it wasn’t for my unexpected shin problems, I feel fairly confident that I would have been much closer to the 2:00 mark than I ended up being (I came in at 2:12:03).
I’m super proud that I managed to get through it, especially those last three miles, and 10 miles is now the furthest distance I’ve ever run before. I had only completed 8 miles before the race so I was always expecting the final two to be a bit of a challenge, but I feel good about the effort I put in and what it means for my training. In about 4 months I will be running my final pre-marathon race (20 miles) and by then I’m hoping that 10 will feel like a walk in the park!
I also loved the medal for this race – definitely something unique!