London Winter Run: The Lowdown
If you follow me on Instagram then you will have seen me spamming your feeds about the Human Race London Winter Run 10km for Cancer Research, which I completed last weekend. Having only ever ran one (very small) 10km before, which I erroneously signed up to in Richmond of all places (this is MILES from where I live, especially when there’s a tube replacement bus service on…), I was feeling pretty chipper at the prospect of bouncing round central London on Sunday morning with 16,000 others.
Despite feeling strong over the last few weeks (touch wood, no random illnesses this side of 2017 as yet) and working with The Running School to improve my running technique to ward off pesky recurring IT band injuries, I still came unstuck a few days before the race. Having run two 5kms in under 25 minutes each a week earlier, I realised beating my PB of 54:56 was realistic, not with a one or two minute shaving, but maybe even coming in under 50 minutes. Whilst I appreciate this is not especially fast for most runners, I’ve only ever trained for marathons so running sub eight minute miles has never been on my agenda. However, at my last two TRS sessions, I’ve felt an odd twinge from my left knee up my quad towards my groin, with radiating pain after a session. Only presuming it could be related to adopting a new running style, I focussed on stretching and had a sports massage and basically crossed my fingers for the weekend.
I was feeling slightly anxious about the prospect of not being able to run. Although I know I’d not exactly trained for a marathon, I didn’t really want to run another race that I dropped out of halfway through and when you blog about your running goals, it makes you feel slightly more accountable i.e. less easy to not turn up to a race if you've been banging on about it online!
I’m not really into ‘race reviews’ so here’s some highlights of what to expect if you sign up next year:
- Although emailed start times the week before, there didn’t appear (I may be wrong) to be strong rhyme or reason to the start blocks, there were no clear start groups at the race itself and there was nothing to stop you moving up or down a group. Positives of this were that I started with my friend Bex who was in a different time wave, and we sauntered over to the start line when we were ready rather than having to hang around in the cold. Negatives are that we weren’t lined up with a group of people with the same finish time as us, and in a race as short as a 10km, you don’t have miles to make up time if you are stuck weaving in and out of crowds for the first mile or so, especially when that crowd is made up of thousands of people.
- The organisers go ALL OUT in terms of the winter theme. Expect snowmen, husky dogs and polar bears, and real life Saint Bernards. There are also snow cannons scattered around for that real frosty vibe.
- There's great entertainment along the course, good crowds for a 10km and of course amazing iconic London sites.
- No toilet or bag queues! I didn’t take a bag because I wanted to avoid queuing, so lined up Dan to meet me at the finish line with my coat and jumper. Queue late husband and a very cold and annoyed wife!
So A-star organisation all round, but worth making sure you’re at the beginning of your start pen group if you’re aiming for a PB. Well done to everyone who smashed some goals last Sunday and raised a shed load of dosh for Cancer Research! I managed to clock in at 50:13 after a conservative first mile or so and pushing myself after when the phantom knee/groin pain didn't kick in, so I'm buzzing about that!
Check out my breathless and sweaty feature in the Winter Run UK's video (around 2:08) at the finish line:
Congrats to everyone who took part! Especially to everyone who took part in the Keep it Simpelle winter run club (and thanks to Elle for bringing us altogether).
Did your race last Sunday? How did you get on? I rewarded myself with a new Maria Tash piercing for my PB, hehe! Do you reward yourself for PBs?