Of the various things that have been happening in my life lately, the 10K race I did this morning is probably one of the most interesting. You might recall that the last time I did a race was a few months ago, and I did OK although it was only 3.6 miles along. It was so cold on the day of the run and the fact that I hadn’t warmed up properly really hampered me.
The race today was 10K long – about 6.2 miles – and was in aid for a muscular dystrophy charity here in Oxford. Before today, the longest I’d ever run in one period was about 4.5 miles so while 6 miles isn’t that much longer, it was certainly different.
I woke up to glorious sunshine this morning at about 8am and discovered that the temperature was loitering around 18C – pretty warm for a race. By the time I left my room, it had already risen to 21C which ended up causing many people grief. Luckily I get on well with high temperatures (as long as it isn’t too humid) so this didn’t bother me.
On the cycle to the Parks, almost every other person I passed was wearing a runner’s number and it was a wonderful experience to see hundreds of people streaming in towards the start area. Apparently there were 3100 people taking part in the race today – a very respectable number which meant that I was surrounded by people for the duration of the race.
I was very pleased with the way the race went. Using a combination of my latest gadget, a GPS watch that tracks speed, location and distance travelled, and some runners in front of me going at my speed, I was able to keep up a decent pace which in fact was faster than any speed I’ve run for a distance, ever (8.1 mph, in case you’re interested). Aside from this, my mind was unusually bereft of worries and thoughts for the entire race and I was able to enjoy myself, taking in the scenery and the experience of running through the centre of Oxford along roads that are normally snarled up with hostile traffic.
To be honest, most of the race was uneventful and what thinking I did do involved trying to stay on the racing line and figure out the best way of overtaking people. At about 8.5K, I started feeling a bit tired and I’d developed a minor blister in my right foot. However, I didn’t want to let the two cavemen running in front of me to get any further ahead so I kept up the pace. Shortly after the 9K mark, I caught a glimpse of the finishing post in the Parks and promptly sped up to about 11 mph, waving goodbye to the cavemen who’d brought so much joy to onlookers. 48 minutes after I’d started, I crossed the finish line.
I must’ve looked a bit dehydrated as I finished because some guy came over and urgently pressed a bottle of water into my hand. In reality, I was feeling pretty good – too good, actually – which meant that I probably could have picked up the pace even more during the race and shaved a minute or two off my time. Anyway, 48 minutes was good enough and in any case I was happy making it under 50 minutes; my next goal is to run a half-marathon in the near future.
The rest of the day went predictably – I met up with some other friends who’d been running, lazed around in the sun and then we adjourned to a pub to consume large quantities of carbohydrates (an all-day breakfast in my case – a 30 oz. steak in someone else’s). And now here I am, about to watch another episode of Firefly.