First race in the calendar for 2018 and having had a blast last year I was really looking forward to it. My marathon training has been sporadic at best over the last month, I had a goal in mind, I wanted to go sub 60 minutes but I was realistic and decided that I would be pleased if I managed to beat last year’s time of 1hr 14mins.
The day started off well, I had slept well, had all my kit laid out so nothing was forgotten, had a decent breakfast and importantly, had been able to properly go to the toilet following my morning coffee. The trains were running and I arrived in time to do a quick warm up before heading to the start line for my wave. As I crossed the start line it was a little congested and I found myself doing some weaving to be able to properly start running. When I did I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt good, no tight calves or shin pain, the first mile seemed to fly by, I clocked 9 mins 54 seconds on my watch.
As the sights of London flew past, spotting faces I recognised also running and taking in the fun atmosphere I continued to feel good. The Penguin party at the halfway mark was great fun and lifted my spirits further and I dug a little deeper. I always enjoy the second half of a run or race more, something twigs in my mind and it’s like right time to get to that finish line/home.
Mile 4 – 5 I clocked 9:27 min/mile on the watch. I was loving that my brain and legs were working together for once. I knew that if I could just push a little bit harder, go that little bit faster, I had a shot at sneaking in just under 60 minutes. With half a mile to go, my legs and lungs were burning. My watch hit the 60 minute mark and having felt like I worked so hard I was a little bit gutted. I was hurting but I wasn’t going to stop, because the real goal was always to beat last year’s time and that I was on track for.
Through the Yeti cave, a series of high fives, I powered down The Strand. Passing Trafalgar Square I turned the corner and the finish line was in sight. Well sort of, I was going as full pelt as I could manage but it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. After what seemed like forever I finally crossed the line, 10k – 01:02:13 on the watch. 10:00 min/miles average pace, ranging from 8:59 – 10:25 min/miles over the race. 11 minutes 47 seconds faster than last year.
For the first time in a very very long time I felt genuinely proud of my performance. I was pleasantly surprised that for once everything had gone right. Polar bear hugs and another medal to add to the collection were the perfect ending. It’s given me a great confidence boost going into the final 8 weeks of marathon training. A big thank you to Human Race for the race bib. The London Winter Run remains my favourite 10k and I will definitely be back next year.