Liverpool Spring 10k

Today I ran the Liverpool Spring 10k. I decided to run this at about 8.30 this morning (about half an hour before we’d planned to leave) after a week of umming and ahhing. My running hasn’t been particularly consistent recently – the cold that stalked me in the run up to Blackpool decided to hang around for a couple more weeks and although I’ve now hit the second trimester when I should be blooming and full of energy, I’m still blooming tired at times. The runs that I’ve done have been enjoyable, but harder work than ever. Having said all that, I know what I’m like and if I’d weaselled out of it and didn’t finished what I’d started I would have been sulky and miserable all day.

We set off and halfway down the M6 I realised that I’d forgotten my Garmin (which had been specially charged the night before). Slightly further down the M6 I realised that I’d forgotten my shuffle. By the time we reached Sephton Park and I totted up everything I’d forgotten, I realised that I was quite pleased that I had managed to be fully dressed. We timed our arrival well for the queue for the loos and had time for a quick hello with Runningman856 before I headed off to the start line and Ginge headed off to find food (unfortunately for Ginge, my last minute decision meant that he was ripped from his bed with little or no warning. Sorry Ginge).

photo(9)

I had no plan for the race other than getting round in one piece. I had no Garmin so I had no idea what pace I was running and I had no shuffle so I had nothing to distract me. I did have a bottle of water and my camera though, both of which turned out to be quite essential. Even when I’m well hydrated, I’m finding that I’m quite thirsty at the start of a run and today was unexpectedly warm. Having been promised overcast and cool, the sun was shining and I set off wondering if Hels (who has a knack of bringing sunshine and high temperatures to every race she attends) had snuck up North.

photo(10)

I’m rubbish at running in the warm at the best of times and was sensible enough to realise that today was a day to just take it easy and enjoy myself. Which is just what I did.

I had time to take in the scenery and watch a small dog debate the wisdom of chasing a large football into a river (sadly I missed the final outcome).

SAM_2232

I smiled and “thank you-ed” all of the lovely marshalls who lined the course cheering us on.

SAM_2234

I didn’t feel my heart sink as I was overtaken by the front-running gazelles peeling off to the finish line as I hit the 5k mark, instead I let the cheers that were clearly not meant for me carry me through. I did a lot of run/walking and didn’t stress about it. I enjoyed a short-lived second wind at the 6k mark.

photo(12)

I didn’t worry that I didn’t have a cap for my water bottle, but I did take the opportunity to decant my water station bottle into the bottle I had set off with.

SAM_2233

I bounced past the official drummers and the chap who was beating out some skillful tunes on what looked like pots and pans…

photo(11)

I also enjoyed spotting Ginge as he popped up unexpectedly around the course.

If you look closely, you can see a blurry figure lounging in the tree like an over-grown squirred. This is Ginge.

If you look closely, you can see a blurry figure lounging in a tree like an over-grown squirrel. This is Ginge.

The race was organised by the same people as last year’s Port Sunlight 10k which I loved and I had high expectations about the organisation of the race. I wasn’t disappointed. Everything ran like clockwork, there were pens based on finishing time, the course was well signposted and well marshalled, my time was texted to me within minutes of crossing the finish and (probably most importantly) there the bling was splendid. So splendid that I had the back engraved to mark my last race until bump becomes baby. There’s actually quite a nice symmetry to today. A few years ago, when I wasn’t bothered about racing (basically before I discovered my inner Muttley) I ran the Liverpool Women’s 10k as my first ever race and today’s race has replaced the Women’s 10k in the Merseyside race calendar.

So this is it for me and racing for a bit, I’ve finished today with a few more aches and pains than I would usually have after a 10k and I think my ligaments are telling me that I should keep the distance down from now on. From this point on, I will run my races vicariously on twitter, plot my comeback for 2014 and cast longing looks at medal monkey and his hoard of bling.

20130506-012242.jpg

Janathon day twenty-two: races

A couple of years ago I declared “I don’t do races”. Then I did the Liverpool Women’s 10k in 2010, enjoyed it and didn’t race again for over a year. The next year I ran the Blackpool 10k in preparation for doing the Folkestone Half. Last year something went terribly wrong and I did five (the Age UK Wrap Up and Run 10k, theBolton 10k, a Badger 10k, the inaugural Port Sunlight 10k and the Royal Parks Half).

Medal Monkey - guardian of the race bling

Medal Monkey – guardian of the race bling

I have no idea what has happened to me this year, but we’ve not even finished Janathon and I appear to have acquired a race calendar. I don’t know if it’s the weather (looking forward longingly to spring) or just the fact that I’ve really enjoyed Janathon this year or what*, but (so far) I am signed up for three, am pondering one and have one pencilled in.

There has been very little planning about entering these, I am ruled entirely by my heart in these matters. I can see a race that is perfect in terms of distance, route and where it fits into whatever semblance of a training programme I have, but if it doesn’t make my heart flutter and put a smile on my face, I aint doing it. There’s no set formula for what draws me into a race, it just is what it is. So my immediate future looks like…

February: Mad Dog 10k – it’s rated as one of the top 10k races in the country by Runner’s World, you get the friendliest emails in the world from the organisers, I’ve read somewhere that someone won a toaster as a spot prize and it’s Southport, therefore it is flat. I like flat.

March: Cartmel 10k – apparently a hilly but beginner-friendly trail run in beautiful scenery and according to my mate Andy who knows about such things, “It’s tough, very soggy, but terrific fun”. Oh, and it would be the perfect race for Henniemavis – its full name is the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding 10k.

April: Blackpool Half – I seem to like a coastal race, it’s flat, it’ll be the first half that I run in the same half of the country where I live and Fortnight Flo is running it so there’s a chance to meet more lovely twitterers. Splendid.

April: Bolton 10k – Another hilly one, this time in Leverhulme Park, Bolton. I ran it in a downpour last year and it still put a smile on my face.

May: Liverpool Spring 10k – This is a new race being organised by the people behind last year’s Port Sunlight 10k, which I loved. This one is in Sefton Park and Matt the organiser has plans for bands, bunting and cake. That’s my kind of race.

Phew.

Tonight’s Janathon was a 3 mile out and back picking my way along crunchy pavements without falling over.

*Yes. I know. I like a medal – just call me Muttley…