I hate to admit, that a few days before the Bristol 10k I considered quitting as I just hadn’t done enough training beforehand.
What stopped me was knowing how bad I’d feel for quitting. I’d be sat in my flat, situated on the running route, while 13,000 people ran past, hearing the crowds, the bands music , the cheers and the excited runners. Sat there hearing all that knowing I should be one of the runners, it would have been a really lousy feeling.
But I didn’t and I am really glad.
I waited with my girlfriend to run but not necessarily together as we knew I am slower and she wanted to get as good a time as possible.
Stood waiting for the race to start, the road packed with runners of all shapes and sizes, this was the final wave of runners. The first wave was packed with some serious looking athletes, in the final wave it was definitely a mixture.
Waiting in the crowd for around 5 minutes I got a bit of pre-run anxiety, worried I wouldn’t make it and have to shamefully pull out the race.
I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to running on my own, but breaking off and running separately was much better as I could go at whatever pace I wanted. It was good to start together and I kept up with my faster missus for around 2k before a brief stop to tie my shoelaces finished the running duo.
I kept running , using landmarks to keep me motivated , passing under the suspension bridge, aiming for the distant hot air balloon as I figured that was the point we’d turn and begin running back to the city. I also had the map my run app reminding me every 5 minutes how far I had run , it really helped!
I also found a new technique I’d not needed before but it was a simple review system , it was like there are separate things going on in the head, one process says your getting tired you should really slow down to catch your breath and a second process goes ‘hey hold off, seriously review the situation , your legs don’t actually hurt that much, your breathing isn’t that laboured’, I figure it is very personal and that is how I helped myself keep going for longer than normal.
Passing the 5k mark felt good, but as the pump house rolled into view I felt the fatigue kicking in and slowed to a walk, this was a bad moment in the run, I couldn’t walk the rest of the way! I kept my walking pace fast and used the time to catch my breath, I think I walked for about 30-40 seconds, after that I’d watched too many people overtake me to remain at such a slow pace.
I must have walked several more times but I did my best to avoid walking for too long, the time I was going to get on this first 10k was important as it would be something to work against in the future.
There were crowds shouting and applauding , kids banging on pots and pans, Brazilian drumming groups and other live bands including an orchestra.
It was the last 2k that became the hardest, being a front runner I run on the balls of my feet, but not having trained much prior that area of the foot was stinging, it felt like I was running on huge blisters so had to start running flat footed, the heavier impact felt draining.
Actually the hardest part was the run past St Augustines as you just cannot walk at that point, you have to keep going. As I passed the watershed I realised the guy next to me was also right by me when we’d turned round the bend all the way back around 4k. I told him as much, his reply was pretty breathless.
Passing the line felt good, I didn’t really expect to do it and my time 1 hour 1 minute was waaay better than I expected.
I was sweltering and walking felt a lot harder than normal but I had that wonderful sense of achievement that great feeling of having done something you should have done a long time ago. 10k feels like something runners and non-runners can do, definitely worth doing.
Have already booked next year and now looking at other 10k’s as I do like the sense of achievement without the intense training a half-marathon / marathon demands. But then I am going to be looking at training for the Bristol half next year now. Why not?