September came around so damn fast and and I hadn’t taken part in a race since my disastrous D-Day 10K in June. A good few months of injury had left me with a lack of motivation, general misery and a desire to contemplate giving up running for good.
After finally listening to the advise of my physio from months before, I began to see signs of improvement to my leg pain. After a surprisingly successful club run on the Tuesday I decided to take the plunge and enter a 5 mile race days before entry closed. The Ageas Bowl 5 mile seemed exciting, it was the very first year it had been run, the finish line was on the grounds itself so it seemed really cool. It was also only 10 minutes from my house swayed me even more.
It was an early start of 9am so I arrived just after 8am to collect my race number, free T shirt and the goodies which appeared to be everywhere, which I was thrilled about. I ended up with a T shirt, stress ball and frisbee, random but free!
I also spied the finish line, wow! If that wasn’t inspiration I dont know what is!
I was super excited to start the race as we made our way outside to the start line. I really couldn’t have asked for better weather, so far, so good.
The race began really well, we ran across some of the main roads in Hedge End, Southampton, which for some reason I always really enjoy. Unfortunately this was much to the dismay of some of the local drivers who had neglected to acknowledge the road closure signs which had been up for weeks and began hurling abuse at the poor marshalls! Not cool! But, the marshalls remained professional so kudos to them.
Mile one down and I couldn’t believe my luck, 8.34 flashed on my Garmin! I was slightly in shock as it hadn’t felt fast at all, this was amazing news.
Despite the unexpectedly hilly course, the next two miles went much the same as the first, with the second at 8.47 and the third at 8.43. What was happening? I contemplated the idea that the Zizzi’s calzone and risotto balls the night before were working miracles, or was it the cup of coffee and chocolate macaroon this morning? Certainly not your traditional “runners breakfast” but I didn’t get up early enough to eat so just grabbed the lightest thing I could find, oops!
I began to flag slightly in the last mile, the constant but gentle inclines had started to drain my energy and there wasn’t much left in the tank. The end was in sight, I was in the last stretch heading to the Ageas Bowl stadium ground. One last hill into the stadium, a sprint finish and the nicest race I think I’ve ever done was complete! I was shattered, but ecstatic.
Despite the fact I had been averaging 9.30-10 minute miles for the last few months, the unexpected hills on the course which after mile 1 were constant, and the 17 degree September heat, I managed to finish the 5 miles in 44.32! I averaged 8.51 per mile, I was 40th female out of a field of 142 females and position 288 out of 556 people!
Big thanks to Perform, Spire, the Ageas Bowl, Hedge End running club and the marshalls for putting on a great race, I will be back next year for sure!
Next week is the RNLI 10K Portsmouth, so I will see you all then!
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