The plan was to race a 5 miler the week before tackling my 150th 10K on May 5 2013. It was hoped that I would be able to go into the 10K race with the confidence gained from the shorter race. Surely I could run 5 miles at the sub 44 minute target 10k pace?
So, chaffeurless for once, I drove alone to the BLUE LIGHT 5 on the promenade at BISPHAM,just north of Blackpool. Leaving a warm and sunny Ilkley behind, the weather, as forecast, deteriorated the further west I went. Such that by the time I turned on to the M55 strong winds and rain buffeted the car. Just what would it be like on the prom!
Well, let's just say that there are not many races where 50% of the field are seen huddled into a sea front shelter right up until the time when they are called to the line for the start of the race.
As a nine and a half stone asthmatic the scenario could not have been any worse. Nearly two miles into gale force winds between 25 and 30 miles per hour. Difficulty breathing. Difficulty staying up right!
I actually considered giving it a miss with just minutes to go but then again I had travelled 75 minutes to get there. I think the phrase is "grin and bear it!"
I desperately tried to hold on to runners for shelter in the first 2 miles but with such a small entry I couldn't find anyone and rather than being around the 7's I went through the first mile in well over 8 mins and the 2nd in 7.40. What a relief to have turned and have the wind behind. I was swept past the dozens of Sunday morning promenade fisherman in more respectable 7.15 and 7.14 before having to endure the final uphill mile back into the gale ....8.45!
So 5 miles in 39.27. A race which did not quite go to plan and did not do much for the confidence.
This was the first of 3 planned visits to BLACKPOOL on consecutive weekends. The second was to run the ALAN SEDDON "THANK YOU" 10K IN Stanley Park.
Alan has dedicated much of his life to coaching dozens of Fylde runners and, organised by Sue Samme in conjunction with Fylde Coast running, this was their way of saying thanks for all his efforts. 35 of his athletes would be running the race for him.
A strong breeze replaced the gales of 7 days previous and running shoulder to shoulder with a young man, somewhat overdressed in jacket and tights, it was reassuring to see the first 3 miles knocked off in 7.01, 7.01 and 7.01. Some of those we were overtaking included runners who had beaten me easily in last week's 5 miler. Targeting 7.05s for a sub 44 it was going well.
I was good to have some company but my young "friend" drifted away from 4 miles leaving me the task of chasing slowing runners alone. It was proving hard work. Miles of 7.08 7.06 and 7.05 meant that there could be no letting up on the final lap around the track . But the line was reached with just 12 seconds to spare.....43.48.
Alan was on hand to greet each runner as they finished and clearly enjoyed the
occasion; whilst I was clearly showing the strain.
So another milestone completed .
Onward and forward to 150 under 44 minutes!