I tried not to let myself be daunted by the fact that the starting positions were labelled less than 50mins, 50 - 65mins, 60 - 65 mins and 65mins plus! I hadn't realised that this was a County Championship race, so club shirts abounded and there were hundreds of scarily fit and impossibly skinny people lining up to start. As it turned out my position at the start of the race didn't really mattered, as I didn't even hear the starting pistol, only realising that something was afoot as people started to move past me.
At this point the weather was cold (about 5C) and drizzling - a depressing start, but spirits were generally high. Through the village, past my road and Kitty and Hamish cheering me on, and out up the steady climb to Binstead. The uphills were OK, but the downhills were a killer on my hip - I had to slow down as I went downhill to minimise the impact. I constantly heard people complaining about the hills! The course is described as 'undulating' and it certainly was. One man said that he was pretty sure that there wasn't a level stretch on the whole run - I think he was right. Luckily, this is my normal stomping ground, so I knew when the hills were coming.
I ran too fast at the start, passing the 2 mile marker after just 14 minutes. I find it hard to pace myself when in the middle of a group. I want to keep up/overtake all the time. I paid for this later in the race. My hip was aching constantly by about mile 6, so I just had to do a bit of mind over matter, and to slow down on the downhills, when I could have gained some speed.
Kitty and Hamish were waiting for me as we came back into the village, complaining that they had been waiting for me for 33 minutes and that I was 'very slow!' They took photos - see above - and Hamish ran with me for a little while - until I realised he was wearing Crocs and sent him home!
The last mile seemed to go really well - once I got past the psychological hurdle of running past my house. I was, at last, overtaking people! Catching up and passing people who had sailed past me a few miles earlier. As I approached the finish line the timer was reading 1hr 29mins and 56secs - I hope that I managed to squeak through in under 90 mins. Even if the official time is a second or two over I am going to count it as 90mins - as it took a while to pass the start.
I was aiming for about this time, but still feel a bit disappointed with it. It is over 3 minutes faster than when I ran it last Sunday, but I now I could have run faster if my hip had been better. The fact that my neighbour beat me by 12 minutes is probably due to the fact he is 18years old and about a foot taller than me rather than any shortcomings on my part! Still, I suppose it is better to have this as a benchmark than a freakishly good time! It is the first race I have run in nearly two years, and the longest. I only decided to do this race last week and haven't really trained for a 10miler - hopefully things can only get better! At least I know that I am going to be able to cope with the two 10k races I have coming up, the Bupa 10,000m for Cancer Research and the British 10k for Andrews' School Development Trust, and am reasonably confident about the extra 3.1miles needed for a half marathon.
Felt very flat after the race as I was there by myself. The mile long walk back home, limping slightly, clutching my medal, was bitterly cold, and the children were unimpressed with my achievement! I emptied the tank of hot water for a very long shower, then had to go to Sainsburys to get something for lunch - I really do lead a rock 'n'roll life style! Tonight I shall slump in front of the TV and watch '24' and 'House!' In the meantime I am catching up on washing school uniforms and P.E. kits to a constant background of squabbling children. Oh, and I owe myself that cocktail of painkillers!