Fresh off of my 5k run in Bexhill last week, where I had been asked if I would like to take my brother-in-laws place at the Brighton 10k (I quickly accepted). I had little expectation from this run in terms of finish time and performance. I had not run 10k since those dreaded hills in the September Rother Valley 10k, so I wasn't even sure I had 10k in me.
However, a couple of pre-runs and I was confident that I would at least 'get round'. Brighton is the place I was born and grew-up, so the run was along a route as familiar to me as the back of my hand.
The run: flat. The conditions: Cold, with clear blue skies i.e. perfect. We parked in the Marina (4hrs free parking) which was only a kilometre or so from the start, and from the moment we stepped foot out of the car-park I saw runners. This was no GNR but for me it was the biggest event I had ever attended. There were lots of runners already wearing themselves out.. ahem, sorry... warming up, but running up and down the track. I couldn't get anywhere near the start line as the runners begun to line up.
As per my post from last week there were a lot of people looking round, calculating and moving further up the line. It was too cramped this time to really look around at anyone other than those in close proximity. The announcer announced, but I couldn't make out a word. He must have said go though as the people ahead began to surge.
For the first 500m or so, it was a case of dodge and weave but people soon found their pace and the run levelled out. A quick look at my phone showed I was going too fast. But I felt good. Keep going and when it inevitably begins to bite I will slow down, but for now enjoy it. The pier, the Grand hotel the i360 all passed in a blur.
The support was not too bad for 9:30am on a freezing cold Sunday morning and we were soon past the hove lawns and at the turning point and heading back towards the looming i360. 5k in and still feeling good. I decided to forget looking at the pace and just run by feel, and at this point I felt strong. We were soon back at the pier and past the start/finish line - those speedy runners already done for the day. Still never mind 8k and feeling fine. The next turn came at Black rock, by the Volks railway end station, and as I headed back for the last straight to the finish line I felt good. I started to pick up the pace a little and managed to pass a few runners. The finish line was in sight. At this point I did something I hadn't done since park run over a year ago, and certainly never at the end of a 10k: as my daughters put it, I 'turned the taps on'. Yes I actually sprinted to the finish line, gaining a few more places on the way. At this point I felt invincible. I gratefully took my goodie bag and proceeded to go and find my family.
I got a new PB. A great end to my races this year, a two-week break and then head down for some roseabi inspired HM training. I am looking forward to it massively now I feel I am in such a good place.
I have now completed 4 10k runs in total. All of them this year. My first, in May, was tough but I was happy as my starting point. The second, during the July heat-wave was tough. My training had been spot on, but in the end my body could not cope with the heat and I walked part-way. The third was hampered by injury, and the run itself was the most hilly route I had ever done. A fair bit of walking involved and just relief to finish. But this one, one that I hadn't specifically trained towards was perfect. Everything came together. It had been the race I had envisioned back at the beginning, when I first started running.
Of the event itself, I will say a couple of things: well organised, good turnout. If you like a nice flat run and some iconic landmarks and sea breeze then this is for you. However, if you like your bling then this is definitely not a must have. The medal (above) was a disappointment. The other thing I would say, it being Brighton and all, is that I was surprised we were given a plastic carrier bag at the end with medal, water and banana in. Easier to dish out sure, but not exactly in keeping with the City's green credentials. Moan-up aside though. This race was special and I think I will be back next year