Sunday saw the latest race in my 18 in 2018 challenge and you want to talk about a challenge. I’m having anything and everything thrown at me this year and I’m now running out of free race slots. After York, I knew September would bring with it 4 races in the challenge. However, one thing I’ve learned from this challenge is nothing is going to plan! Firstly I pulled a hamstring while on holiday ruling me out of the Wetherby 10k, I’ve had to drop the Sheffield 10k on 23/9 as I’ve been selected to run in the A team at the road relays. Something I’ve wanted for a long time. So that meant two more races to re-arrange…..
With those being 10k it wasn’t too much of an issue but then came this past Sunday. Originally I was offered a place at the Great North run but being so soon after Spain I couldn’t justify the costs for my family to stay over for the weekend. I then opted to do the Vale of York HM. Then last week found out that due to parking re-location no one could leave till gone 12. Which for me meant race was not possible as I had prior engagements and needed to be back home before 12. This meant trying to find alternative races for Sunday, plus it meant I had to tweak the challenge to just 4 HM and 14 10ks as I could not find any replacement HM’s on the free slots. I managed thanks to Rachel at the NSPCC secure a slot at the UKFast City of Salford 10k.
Now I went into this totally not prepared. I’m not one to moan before hand to get excuses in before a race and despite the issues which I will go into fully, I went into the race hoping to run a season/personal best as I do at every race. However to give you an idea of week I had. My daughter wanted to move from attic back down to same floor we sleep on. So no easy task with the room she wanted acting as my office. Plus she has a cabin bed to get up to attic we had to take half the stairs and floor out to get up there. It has meant a week of decorating in between training and working. Then Sunday 2nd I started getting tooth ache. By Wednesday I was hanging from ceiling and following morning was having emergency root canal. That meant 4 nights of broken sleep due to toothache and over doing it on the pain killers. Plus work is proper crazy most days now so I’m now having to change my run pattern from after school run to 6:30 in the morning. A massive shock to the system and its meant body is still tying to adapt. Again not the best prep to run a fast race but I never think about these factors beforehand and just focus on running faster then ever.
So to the morning of the race, I decided not to set off too early, but by the time we had gotten to Media City and parked it was a rush to get prepared. I had to queue to pick my number up and then queue for the toilet. By the time I had done those it was time to line up. I didn’t get time to relax/warm up etc. I did get chance to chat to a few runners I knew including Ben. Not knowing the course and not having time to plan meant I was going into it blind. After a delayed start (having to wait for the trams to stop running). It was go time. Off we went between the buildings of media city and after 30s I realised watch had not started, so pressed start not having a clue how much time/distance had lapsed. This threw another spanner in the works but I soon settled down with the chasing pack (leader was on his own) I slotted along side the first lady (same women who nearly took me out at Trafford GP the other month). I knew when I was on form my times and hers were very similar so for first mile I tried to say with her.
I ended up probably running a sub 5:20 first mile which was a school boy error. I couldn’t go on the watch having missed start. The first mile was out and around the boundary of Media City over the tramlines before turning back towards Salford Quays. We could see the start/finish area and to my surprise my family had walked over to cheer me on. It helped a big way but the tight turns, bridge crossing all slowed me down in second mile but was still around 5:4X pace. But again as watch was started late it said 5:50/mi We now was on the otherside of the embankment and having to navigate some road works. The 3rd mile smelt amazing as we ran past a bakery, we also had to navigate a short sharp climb before we turned back on ourselves. This time into a headwind. I hit halfway in under 18 minutes before I was already the wrong side of 6:00/mi pace. Not good!
I took a caffiene bullet to try and pick me up and it worked at mile 5 but I was seriously struggling. I just didn’t have anything in the tank and was just a case of digging in! The next couple of miles were a real mental battle as we wound round Old Trafford. I kept trying to pick up pace and was getting under 6:00 minute pace but wasn’t able to sustain it for any length of time and just when I did I either had a tight turn, a hill or bridge to navigate. In the last km we ran back along the embankment before a final bridge took us to the finishline. I managed to kick to the finish and crossed the line.
This is when I was wondering about my time! My watch said 36:37 but knew it was wrong. Then I seriously needed the loo but I couldn’t get for people asking how I did etc. The organisers wanted to interview me and all I wanted was to go to the toilet, see my girls and go home. Eventually after doing press and taking to others I managed to get away. All way home I was second guessing everything. Then provisional results gave me 37:00 but as we turned into Stocksbridge the phone went and my official time was 36:59. 1s under my target I was a very relieved man but also know I need to find form and fast if I’m to complete my challenge. Good thing is this race will be fresh in my mind for Sunday so I can hopefully correct my mistakes.
This race was for the NSPCC, thanks to Rachel and the North West team for sorting me out.
- Sponsor me via the NSPCC can be done via my JustGiving page or by texting MOHI66 £1 to 70070
- 25th in 36:59