I planned for an early start today since my race was at 8:30 am and I wanted to have a good breakfast before my race so I planned to wake up at 4 am, so I could give my body plenty of time to digest the food. Because of this, I had an early night, going to bed at 8:30 pm.
Before leaving, I made sure to have some coffee and brought some with me just to help give me a bit of a buzz as I knew I was likely to be a bit tired or drowsy.
We got to Kew Gardens at around 7:20 am with plenty of time before the race. I went for a warm up that consisted of a 15 minute jog followed by strides and drills. Upon making my way to the start line I saw Rebecca Murray, a very good athlete from Bedford who at the time of writing this post is ranked 8th in the UK in the marathon in 2018!
Kew Gardens 10k Race
My plan was to try and stick with her for as long as possible because I knew if I did that then I could be certain I would run sub 35 minutes for 10k and possibly even quicker. Also there, making a surprise appearance was, Michael Shelley from Australia, a double gold medalist in the Commonwealth Games!
I managed to position myself near the front – the gun went off and a bunch of runners went flying ahead. I tried not to get caught up and stayed behind Rebecca. We caught most of those who ran too quick at the start until there were 3 of us sitting in 6th, 7th and 8th place overall. At first, the pace felt easy and I thought ‘I can definitely do close to 34 minutes’ with the first km being run in 3:19 and my 3k time clocking at 10:04, but as the race progressed I could feel myself struggling.
The course was nice and flat which was good although some of the sharp turns could be irritating to deal with, especially since the path tended to feel narrow when running on. My 5k split was 17:11, but after that is where I really began to suffer. At 6k I felt my left quadriceps tighten slightly. I tried to focus on sticking with the pack, using mental visualisation to imagine my muscle contracting just as powerfully as it had been doing so before.
The other man in the group began to break away and Rebecca sped up to try and catch up with him. I couldn’t match the change in pace and in the last 4km of the race, my times suffered averaging around 3:38 min/km. They were the worst, but I knew I couldn’t let myself drop out or give up and I still had to run with everything I had. 2 more people overtook me on the last kilometre and I finished in 35:18 – not the time I wanted, but a pb by exactly a minute.
I don’t recall my calves ever feeling quite so tight after the race and my whole body ached. I congratulated Rebecca for winning the women’s race and shook hands with the winner, Michael Shelley, who ran a very quick time of 30:21!
Despite not achieving my goal, I am glad that I stuck to my plan and gave the race everything I had. A nice way to end the race was to get a large, hefty finishers medal and a free Nike finishers running t-shirt before going and exploring the botanical gardens within Kew and then finally heading off to St Mary’s University for an open day.
What are your experiences doing 10k? Let me know down below!