I’ve never been shy about my target of a sub-50 10k and I had planned to spend this summer focussing on shorter distances with the hopes of getting some 5k and 10k PBs. What I have also learnt however is that I am really bad at running in the heat. I hate it infact. I don’t mind going an easy pace, but speed work in the heat is a killer.
My final race of the Summer was the Birchwood 10k last Sunday. The weather in the days building up to it had been very changeable. Sunny but showers. I prayed for this to continue! I checked the forecast before I went to bed the night before and it forecast temperatures of 25c and blazing sunshine all morning, until showers again in the afternoon. I knew then that this wouldn’t be my sub-50 10k as the conditions just weren’t for me, but I didn’t realise how tough it would be.
I started off feeling strong, with my first mile completed in 8.18. Then I got slower and slower. Up until the 3rd mile, I felt as though I might be able to get a PB (current PB is 53.22), but then the heat started getting to me. I convinced myself to carry on going until the 5k water station and treated myself to a walk through rest at this point. I then also stopped at a few other points along the way in the second half, really struggling.
As you can see, the course was quite windy with lots of turns. We also went over the M62 twice and the M6 once and although the elevation gain wasn’t huge – climbing up some of those bridges in that heat was really hard! I was so glad to be approaching the finish, with all hopes of a PB or even season best out of the window.
You can see me struggling along here! As I came towards the finish, I noticed lots of medics and there were 2 runners collapsed within the last 200 metres. It just brought home how difficult running in the heat when you’re not used to is. After I finished, another runner collapsed after the finishing line too. The race started at 10.30 and there wasn’t much shade at all on the course. It was really scary actually. I’ve seen runners collapse in marathons, but never in 10ks. I was so relieved just to make it to the finishing line safe and sound. I did feel very exhausted and wobbly at the end but after a few cups of water and a rest, I felt ok.
At the end you got a towel and flowers (flowers just for the girls – sorry guys!). The towel will certainly come in useful for the gym and hot yoga! I finished in 56.10, 1 second slower than my last 10k time which was also a very hot evening.
I’m not going to lie, I am looking forward to the cooler weather now!