This Bank Holiday Monday I took part in the BUPA London 10000, my fifth year in a row and thankfully my best performance at this event. I would like to suggest this is because I am a fitter athlete (!) but I suspect it is more down to a change in route which made it a bit flatter, thanks to Boris and his super cycle highway which meant Victoria Embankment was out of bounds because of construction works.
My pre event training wasn’t particularly to be recommended but it didn’t seem to hamper my efforts. Saturday night’s trip to London involved a lot of alcohol including an Elderfir cocktail which contained a section of fir tree, the “most expensive glass of wine ever” (probably not) and then a slightly cheaper glass of wine, a Riesling called “Kung Fu Girl”. We ended up staying at the Mondrian Hotel on the South Bank, progressing from the ground floor DandeLyan to the 12th floor Rumpus Room. I’m not sure whether it was the copious amounts of alcohol which caused hallucinations but during our time sitting at the outside terrace of the latter, we saw a house being towed down the Thames!
Anyway, enough of my Saturday night shenanigans and back to Monday’s BUPA London 10000. When I received my race pack I was a bit concerned to find myself in the middle of the black wave. Usually I’m in the middle of the green wave, one wave further back. I began to ask myself what predicted time had I put down? Had I been perhaps a teensy weensy little bit over optimistic?! I decided the best option would be to stay at the back of the wave and see what happened, and maybe question some of my fellow runners to see what times they were aiming for. As it happened, I was in a toilet queue with a lady with the same wave race number and I was reassured when she said she’d put down “under an hour”. Okay, could be alright here then.
Even so, I still hovered around the back of the wave pack and whilst waiting for the start, I got chatting to another runner. He told me his distance was usually “marathons”. I suggested he might need a change of pace for a 10k then, to which he replied he was going to go hell for leather. Which is what he did, I saw his baseball cap disappear rapidly into the distance as we moved passed the start line. It was as we came up to the 9k marker on Whitehall that I passed him, huffing and puffing and looking a bit the worse for wear. One half of my brain said I should acknowledge and encourage him on to the finish line. The other half said, “Nah, sod that, I’m on for a good time here” and I moved on quickly before he could recognise me! Mind you, I did also acknowledge that normally that would have been me, going off too fast and then not being able to sustain the pace. Perhaps my plan is beginning to work!
This year the course made its way to the City via The Strand, Chancery Lane and Holborn. It was as we ran down Cheapside that I suddenly realised in a couple of weeks’ time I’d be running up this particular piece of road en route to the finish line of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile. Please note the “up”! I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage to better last year’s time but I’ll give it a go.
As I turned into Bird Cage Walk (don’t know why it’s called “Walk”, I only ever seem to run along it) and headed for home, I did begin to tire but seeing the 400m, 200m and 100m signs up ahead kept me going. Although it did seem to take forever to reach them! And once I’d turned the corner and saw the finish line ahead of me I knew a sub 55 minutes was within reach if I didn’t give up. And I didn’t, although for some reason I did stop my Garmin just before the finish line and then a few seconds later realised it was still going, so I had to wait until late afternoon for the official results to be published and get confirmation of my 54’ 53” 🙂
And this year, I didn’t get to run passed Mo but I did see Andy Vernon sprinting for home (well it seemed like a sprint to me!). Unfortunately I was too fast (!?) to see Jo Pavey.
One of the pre event stresses was caused by Network Rail deciding yet again to close my usual London terminuses for engineering works so I ended up having to travel to Victoria. In the end, this route worked pretty well and was actually better for the post run evacuation. Normally, because the run has an extensive secure area around the Mall, I end up having to circumvent Pall Mall and Piccadilly looking like something the cat’s dragged in and usually end up receiving suspicious glances from guests and doormen at The Ritz. But this year, my walk back to the station was much easier (and shorter) so I might have to consider this alternative route in future.
However, as an aside, one of the big questions I’m left with is how come it’s more expensive to spend a penny the further west you go in London? At Cannon Street – free, Charing Cross – 30p, Victoria – 50p!!! How do they justify that?
Anyway, my next run is the Harvel 5 on 6 June, an early afternoon jog around Harvel, Vigo and Trosley Country Park which is rewarded at the end by beer, burgers, ice cream and more importantly, cake!