Race Rundown: Run Nation Valentine’s 10k, Town Moor, 12th February 2023

I targeted this race just before Christmas …. I fancied having a crack at a 10km PB and so I devised a 6 week training programme with a mix of running, cycling and Pilates. All runs to be done easy (in order to avoid injury), all effort sessions are to be done on the bike (to avoid injury) and a daily Pilates session (to avoid injury). There was definitely an over riding theme to this plan.

Plan is written out and 2 weeks in, things are going great. My Functional Threshold Power on the bike has increased and I’m happily ticking off the sessions and really enjoying doing them too. Then I had a horrible cold. I’ve heard that a lot of people have had it this winter. Normally I would still run with a cold but not this one. I didn’t do any exercise for a week. I was so grumpy.

When I felt well enough to run I couldn’t find the piece of paper with my plan on it. Where has it gone? I couldn’t download another version of it as I had made it up and the scrappy bit of paper I had written it on was my only record. Annoyed with myself , I resigned to thinking that my grand scheme to target a PB had been quashed and I decided to abandon the idea. But, a week before the race I ran a PB at parkrun ….. I’ve only ever had 5 parkrun PBs over the last 11 years and so they are a fairly rare occurrence . This made me think that maybe all is not lost after all , and that, perhaps I should still give it a go.

I didn’t have any photos from the Town Moor event but here I am the week before, getting a rare PB at parkrun.

All going well again until Friday night…… Rob asks, ‘Jane, do you want this salmon for tea? It’s two days out of date, but it looks ok; I’m having it’ I eat the salmon. By the next morning I’m regretting it ….. and so is Rob. I manage to get myself round at parkrun and eat my regular cheese scone in the cafe afterwards but it feels like there’s a dance party going on inside my stomach. This continues for the next 24 hours .

Race Day and now my main concern is how long the queues for the loos are …… I count them, 5 in total and 200 plus people . Oh s*?t. Got to the front of the queue. No toilet roll. Fortunately my golden rule on any run of any distance is to carry toilet roll. It’s my best piece of running advice that I never give out to other people , instead I say stuff like, ‘helium balloons’ , ‘run tall’ , ‘drive your arms’. Nope, ignore all of that. The best advice is ‘always carry toilet roll’.

The run itself is 2 laps of the Town Moor which is quite exposed but wasn’t too windy that day. The footpaths are mainly good but there’s a couple of sections with huge potholes and a run along the side of a road where you constantly dodge tree stumps. I had targeted bang on 7 min miles. This would bring me to the finish in 43.30 which would be a 90 second PB and it also made the mental maths easy to add up as I clocked up the miles.

I set off fast , far too fast, but strangely felt comfortable. Went through the first 5km in 20.38, a 5km PB …. What am I doing? I knew I had to be disciplined and not get too carried away, otherwise the last few miles would be torture. I felt ok though. Then the dance party returned, after about 4 and a half miles. Not now, please not now. Without too much detail, enough has been said already …. I finish. I don’t know how , but I finish, and I’m delighted with my time of 42.02.

I head straight back to the loo. On reflection, I decide that it’s time to write a training plan, keep it somewhere safe and refrain from eating Rob’s out of date dinners. I’m so after sub 42 next time.

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