Just a few days ago I wrote that I pretty much couldn’t be bothered at the moment which very accurately summed up my level of motivation for training right now. I left it with a pretty open ended ‘what’s next…’.
The answer very obviously was the Manchester 10km last Sunday. This is Europe’s largest 10km which temporarily turns my local neighbourhood into a festival of running for a morning once a year. The city centre on race day is awash with slightly nervous looking people decked out in their finest Lycra. A start range of 09:55 to 12:30 gives some indication of the size of it and you really can’t walk around town without bumping into runners or their supporters. It also feels like Europe’s most expensive 10km (seriously for £38 I could get a taxi round the course and have change for a couple of beers and a bit of food at the finish), it’s too busy, the course isn’t that exciting and it’s one of my favourite events (I’ve only done the hellrunner events more). It’s the event that started me off running, my first real race and it started when I walked Pilla to the start of her first 10km here and thought ‘baaaahhhhhh I want a go!!!’. I have some great memories – from standing at the start line a couple of weeks after my first marathon to running round it twice with Nic last year just before the ironman.
Before I lined up on the Sunday I thought I should fit in another bike ride, and had a lovely 66 mile trundle through south manchester and Cheshire. It wasn’t very fast (it wasn’t fast at all) but I enjoyed it, the scenery was lovely and I got to nosey in quite a lot of fancy houses. The rolling countryside between manchester and Macclesfield is some of my favourite cycling ground. It’s somewhat undulating but not hilly, it’s quiet and rural and just very pleasant. Post ride we rushed off to the allotment to spend a few hours catching up before the holiday. After getting back and packing we were pretty beat, so given the lack of training and the tiredness I wasn’t expecting much the next day.
Here’s the thing though – I have done a crap-load of training. Yeah in the last 3 or 4 weeks it’s been pretty hard going/non-existent but that doesn’t take away from the 6 days a week none-stop effort since mid December. My head was doing it’s best to forget the training and just remember lazing so at about 10:40 on Sunday I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
42 minutes and 11 seconds later I had my answer, a PB by over two minutes. I didn’t really set out for a time just to run at a decent-ish pace. After a km at about 4:05 I figured I would try and keep that up which worked pretty well. I was a little in shock with the time as I crossed the line but it did make me wonder how fast I could go with a consistent block of speed training – I think sub 40 from here seems within reach.
This is another reason why I love running (number one obviously being all the food it lets me eat) when you train hard you get better and there are always new goals to set, whether it be longer races, faster races or just to do a race. The training can also mentally challenge you – and sometimes it’s that mental strength that gets you through races. And sometimes, like on Sunday, you and your legs just remember they really like running.