Somehow, late August rolled around again, and with it the Perth 10k, my local race. Steve took over the organisation of this one a few years ago, so it’s become a race I simply expect to do each year rather than plan to do, and this year was no exception, even if I do leave it fairly late to enter!
(If you’re interested, you can also read about my previous experiences of this race in 2015, 2014 and 2013, as well as on the previous route in 2012 and 2011).
Race logistics meant that registration was closing a while before the race start, so I opted to head down first thing to collect my race number and T-shirt then go back home to have some breakfast and get changed at a leisurely pace. That meant I could go back down with enough time to nip to the loo, chat to some folk and simply race without lots of hanging around. Although a little overcast, it was shaping up to be a warm day so I opted for my favourite Under Armour running skirt, an Under Armour vest (that’s a tank to my American friends!) and my trusty Ultra Boosts.
Arriving at the North Inch, everything went pretty much as expected: I found my dad (recently home from sunnier climes), spotted a number of people I know from the local running “scene” and grimaced through one of those tedious mass warmups that I hate – there’s just never enough space! Soon enough though, we were heading towards the start line where I snapped a quick picture before making sure I was all ready to run.
The route has been fixed for a few years now so I knew exactly where I was going: around one side of the Inch, up the riverside path then cutting off to follow the road through a housing estate before rejoining the riverside path to retrace our steps to the finish. Flat, fast (on a still day) and good for a PB if the training and conditions are right. My original plan had been to run hard and see what happened, however my over-exuberance at parkrun the day before meant I wasn’t as well rested as I would have liked. I set off at a nippy pace, but around halfway my body began to remind me quite insistently that I had already run hard that weekend and should maybe slow down. As well as my body feeling tired, it was getting pretty warm too so backing off was inevitable.
During the first part of the race I had been listening to my running playlist, however when we headed out into the housing estate we had been asked to remove our earphones in order to hear any instructions over the traffic. I can run quite happily without my music, I just usually prefer to use the time when I’m running to catch up on podcasts or enjoy the chance to listen to music. But on this particular occasion, I was enjoying the distraction so had to come up with something else to occupy my mind for the mile or so stretch I would be alone with my own thoughts. My solution? To “do a Paula”. No, not that way, I mean to count! Paula Radcliffe famously counts to 100 repeatedly and knows that after doing that a certain number of times, another mile will have passed. I found it to be a pretty good distraction and it helped me to keep in a rhythm, the only problem was my poor English teacher brain kept losing track of how many hundreds I’d counted, so I’ve no idea what I actually counted to! Still, it’s a strategy I may use again in future, perhaps in those tough final miles of a marathon when all I want is to be finished.
Soon enough, I was back on the riverside path and decided to put my earphone (I only use one side) back in and listen to music before I descended into a ridiculous level of counting. My favourite tunes, combined with being on the home straight, helped me to pick up the pace a bit again, however with about a mile to go my stomach suddenly became a bit sore. I’ve never had this before but am guessing it was simply a symptom of running hard on a warm day as a short walking break (something I would never normally do in a race) helped clear it really quickly and I ran strongly to the finish line.
All things considered, I’m pretty happy with my finish time of 51:48. Still about a minute and a half slower than my PB, but I really wasn’t targeting the race and did myself no favours by running fast the day before. It was faster than last year though, so that’s a bonus!
Swag for this race includes a T-shirt (issued at registration) and a medal. No other goodies except a bottle of water at the finish, but that’s fine with me as I don’t need anything else when I’m so close to home.
After finishing I hung around for a while chatting to folk, but then headed home while Steve wrapped everything up at the race site. When he arrived home we did get ourselves a little treat, which the cat was DEFINITELY interested in. Honestly, she’s after just about everything I eat these days, the wee monkey!
I definitely think I could go sub-50 over 10k, but this wasn’t the day. Still, it was another successful event and I look forward to next year. If Perth is close to you, you should definitely consider entering.