Ever ran so hard that when you stop it feels like the momentum is going to bring you face to face with with your lungs?

I smashed my 5k PB in March, 3 weeks into marathon training. I started to think, if I can get a 10k race in before, or not long after, the marathon it’d be my best chance of the sub 40 10k.

Historically I was running 10k’s on the back of not a huge amount of running and my stamina in the second half went to shit. I figured that the marathon training miles would help.
My PB stood at 40:50 and I know I lost those 50 seconds in miles 4-6.
Fortunately I’d entered this race early in the year because it was a popular race with the club and I’d never ran it. It was 3 weeks after the marathon so timing wise it was ideal. Just enough time for my legs to recover whilst holding onto to some endurance.
I managed to bag a lift with 3 others so we were on our way at 7am.
The course is pretty much an out and back, with one water station at the half way turning point.

I didn’t realise until I was in the start pen that they had pacers running, with the quickest being 40 minutes. Handy!!
I caught up with most of NYMAC as we shuffled our way towards the start .. making sure I stayed ahead of the pacer guy.
Next thing we were off. Down the road at 6:10/mi pace and what the fuck – the pacer strides past! What’s going on here?! Ok, stay calm and don’t try to catch him .. you are already running too quick and he’s going to have to reign it in at some point.
First mile was done in 6:13. A little quicker than expected but I always go off too quick. It’s time in the bank for later.
Sure enough the Pacer slowed before the halfway point, I got past him, made the turn, grabbed a mouthful of water and I was on my way back. Now I just had to keep him behind me.
I reckon I had maybe 10 seconds or so on him .. not a great deal so I just tried to keep pushing on. I spotted Mark from the club on the central reservation who’d come down to support us and take some pictures, seeing him buoyed me on and I managed a DOUBLE thumbs up but not much of a smile for him.

Historically I’d slow down quite a bit in the second half of a 10k so I was pretty chuffed when my Garmin showed Miles 3 and 4 in 6:24 & 6:25. So far so good.
Oh shit .. that’s the 40 minute pacer on my left. I let out some strides to gain a few feet and this carried on for the next couple of miles .
The last mile was really hard work. I couldn’t wait for it to be over but I was fucked if I was going to put all this effort in and throw it away now. I let the pacer come past with half a mile to go. I knew we were both going to be under 40 mins and frankly I didn’t care if he finished ahead of me as long as I was under 40 mins.
There’s a nasty little kick up about 600m before the finish and my legs felt absolutely shot but the end was in sight … a slight panic seeing the finish clock tick over 40 minutes… then remembering I was chip timed!
A glance at the watch and I knew I was going to make it … 39:43 official time 🙂

I’d barely crossed the line before I was looking for the nearest bit of free kerb to sit on. I needed a minute to recover before making my way up the finish area to collect my t shirt and medal.

Sub 39? 😮




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