Phew so i’ve had 24 hours to get over yesterdays emotional rollercoaster and have a proper reflection on the race. To anybody who is thinking of doing the Swansea 10k in the future I would definitely encourage you to sign up. It was such a well organised day with a fantastic atmosphere and a beautiful (and more importantly flat) course!
The race kicked off at 1pm which is an odd time for a race in my opinion. Gideon and I picked up our free race t-shirts the day before which meant one less thing to do on race day. We had our usual fueling meal of chicken and rice the night before so that we would both hopefully have some energy stored. The plan for the morning was to have a late breakfast (around 10am-11am) and then head down to the race area before the roads were shut at noon.
I slept very badly the night before. I don’t know whether it was just pre-race jitters but my brain would not switch off. I was just tossing and turning all night which was so frustrating. We got up at about 8.30 and had an apple to keep us going till 10ish when we had some toast with jam and peanut butter.
After this it was time to get our race gear ready and head down to the seafront where the race was being staged. We were aiming to park in the recreation ground opposite the start line that was doubling as a car park but it was already full when we arrived. Luckily we managed to snag a space on the road right outside where I used to live as a student (ahh memories) and which is only about a 2 minute walk from the front. It was perfect really.
It was quite windy and a little chilly when we initially got to the race starting area. There were already plenty of people around as some kids events had been happening earlier in the day in the run up to the main 10k. We walked around a bit and used the porta loos before the queues descended on them. Then after bumping into and chatting with a few people that we knew we headed over to the start line and got in our assigned section (60+ mins – the back)!
Before long they had started the gun and we slowly made our way to the start line where we broke into a steady jog joined by hundreds of other runners. We were taking it slow and steady at the beginning. Once the initial start line crowds had dispersed a bit it was earily quiet for a while and I latched on to the sound of hundreds of feet pounding the pavement which was weirdly beautiful.
There were more crowds around the 2k-3k mark cheering and one guy ringing bells egging everyone on! It was quite fun. Gid and I had been running together until this point but the pace was gradually getting a bit tiring for me so I slowed a bit and he went on ahead. More running…. I could still see Gid not far up ahead until we got to about 5k when I finally lost him. I had been running continuously up to this point but I decided to have a little walk after the water station as I was starting to really overheat.
The wind had died right down as we turned onto the promenade to start the return and with it now behind us I was really starting to feel warm. My energy was dropping so I decided to have a clif shot for an energy boost and once i’d fumbled around a bit trying to get it out of my running belt and into my mouth I began to run again.
6k & 7k passed with some short walk breaks. 8k came at the point where there is very short steep incline (literally the only incline in the whole race). I wanted to walk up this incline as I was starting to flag again but I spotted two of my friends at the top who were cheering us on – well I couldn’t walk with people watching could I? So it was up the incline I ran waving happily and carried on down the path. Seeing friends cheering definitely gave me a small boost at that point… I was really getting tired. I don’t know if it was the heat or because I perhaps didnt eat enough beforehand (it was hard to know when/what to eat for a 1pm race) but I was feeling pretty knackered by 9k.
I walked a little bit at the 9k marker but as the crowds were starting to build again I decided to try to run the rest even if it meant a very very slow plod. I really had no idea of my pace because I couldn’t hear my nike+ app at all for the whole race. 400m to go…. 300m to go…. the finish clock was coming into view. My heart sunk when I was finally close enough to read it…. 1hr 13… something. I was really disappointed in myself. 1hr 13 mins 5 secs was my time at the Caerphilly 10k and I really wanted to beat that. It took me about a minute from when I could read the clock to when I crossed under it at which point it was well over 1hr 14. I didn’t know how long it had taken to cross the start line at the beginning but I didn’t think it had been that long. If I had got a PB it definitely wouldn’t have been by much (and not as much as I wanted).
I walked over to get my goodie bag with medal and Gideon found me as I was walking out of the finishing area. His race had been a much more positive experience than mine and he had definitely set a new PB by a really good amount of time. After I had slowed he had continued to run and managed to run the entire 10k without stopping to walk at all! I am so proud of him! He did amazingly – he was able to quicken his pace and was still feeling strong at the end, but that little selfish part of me was still quite sad about my own race experience. There would be no runners high for me. Not today. I was annoyed at myself and the only thing that would potentially ease my annoyance was knowing if I had in fact got a PB.
We headed home after the race and anxiously awaited the chip results to come online (which seemed to take forever… after Caerphilly they were literally up straight away). It was very annoying having to wait but I passed the time by munching on some of my goodies from my goodie bag (Jacobs cracker crisp things and crasins).
Finally just before we were due to go for our massive post race pig out at our favourite restaurant (the smokehaus – check it out if your ever in Swansea – such good American style bbq) the chip times came online and I finally discovered that I too had got a PB by roughly 2 minutes! My time was 1 hr 11 mins 7 seconds and Gideon smashed his previous PB crossing the line in 1 hr 8 mins and 21 seconds! My massive Kansas fried chicken and caesar salad could be enjoyed at last!
Overall it was obviously a strange race. I enjoyed the actual race itself, it was just the finish that upset me so much. I know it isn’t good to get hung up on these things and you can’t PB in every race but I really really wanted to do well in this one and not knowing whether I did or not for so long was very frustrating.
It was great to have some crowd support from people we knew – which is something we haven’t experienced in previous races as we’ve been away from home. I’m always grateful for any cheering from anyone who comes to watch but there is something especially motivating when it’s your friends cheering you on! If you guys read this – thanks so much!
I’ll definitely do the Swansea 10k again what with it being our local race, hopefully next year i’ll be able to enjoy the finish at the time whatever the result!
I’m off away for a few days of study school for my masters course from tomorrow so I won’t be blogging – hope you all have an amazing few days!