Asda Foundation Run For All City of Lincoln 10K 2015

In 2014 the Lincoln 10K was my first proper race so I knew I had to try doing this race again this year to see if I’d improved at all. The downside to this though was that it’s timing was the week after the Silverstone Half Marathon, another race I’d wanted to do well with. On the day of this race I should have been doing an 18 mile run for London Marathon so running a 10K race didn’t really fit in. Over the previous couple of weeks though I’d changed what runs I should have been doing to try and accommodate for this. It would mean this would instead be effectively a “cut back” week during marathon training.

For the week after the half marathon I trained as normal, ignoring the fact I was racing at the weekend. My training plan tends to have a mid-week fast session of between 5.5 and 8.5 miles so I just had to think of this as one of those in place of my long run. After all, instead of the intended cutback week the week after I planned on doing a 19 mile run instead.

Race Day

I didn’t want to get to Lincoln too late as I knew that some of the roads are closed closer to the race normally so could make parking up more difficult. To make matters worse I knew some of the roads in Leicester would be closed too for the reburial of King Richard III, so didn’t want to take any risks. As I’d prepared my race kit the night before it didn’t take long to get ready and was on the road by 08:00.

By the time I was parked up in Lincoln the sun had come out and the temperature had risen quite a bit, enough for me to change from my base layer into just a technical tee. From the car park it was about a mile from there to the race village, a place with the longest queues for portaloos you will ever see. This was near the start line, which was in a different location to the previous year. On the way there I passed Toni Wade (@FlamingCopper), from #UKRunChat, who is running 12 events this year in support of CDH UK, but I was in a rush and by the time it registered that it was her – she was gone.

Before the race even started my Garmin watch started to beep to say it was low on power, so at that moment I decided I was no longer going to take it easy around the route as I’d planned, but instead to see if I could beat the 10K PB I’d set last week at Silverstone. I’d got a rough idea of the pace I’d need to go at to just comfortably beat it, so decided I’d stick to that and wouldn’t go faster. An attempt at a group warm-up preceded the start, though as usual I didn’t bother to warm up. I’d read somewhere previously it’s better to stretch after the race than before it, as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Time passed and the scheduled start hadn’t happened – unfortunately an ambulance had needed to cross the route to get to an accident, hopefully it wasn’t anything too serious. It was good for them to keep us updated though.

Eventually the race had begun, and as usual it was slow progress to start with. By the time of the second kilometre the pack had spread out enough for it to be more comfortable and to start thinking more about pace. At this stage I was mostly wondering if I was going to fast and slowed down a few times just in case, but before I knew it I’d reached the 5K marker. It’s odd as I hadn’t really noticed the 3 or 4K markers – I guess I was too busy looking around at the crowds.

The roads for most of the race were lined with people cheering and clapping all of the runners – a far better atmosphere than this race last year, though I guess the sun had a lot to do with that! There was also some great live music being performed outside of the Lincoln radio station building as well. There was a water station at some point after this too, though as usual I didn’t bother with it.

When passing the 5K marker I looked at my watch and noticed it wasn’t that far off the 5K PB I’d set at Parkrun last year, something I’ve not really tried to beat since. I decided although I was going slightly faster than I’d intended I’d continue on at this speed with the intention of running the last mile faster. Not too daft a plan in theory…

The course took us passed the Lincoln Imp pub, the place where it had started the year before, and eventually crossing the start line for the second time, though instead of repeating much of the course it instead veers off to the left and around near one of the race car parks. Once off the residential area it is then onto Nettleham Road for the last stretch to the finish.

I hadn’t spotted the 9K marker, which is what I’d planned on using for increasing my pace, but eventually we got closer and closer to the Cathedral and I recognised the area from last time. At that point I realised I’d either passed the 9K marker or was about to reach it, at least I thought that was the case. Just as I was speeding up ready for what I thought was the last approach to the castle it turned out as I rounded the corner the finish line was right in front of me! They’d moved it!

I hadn’t realised the finish had moved, I’d not bothered to check the course map beforehand (other than assuming it was the same as at a glance it looked the same), so the second I saw the finish line I tried to get up to sprinting speed as quickly as possible, but never reached top speed before crossing the finish line. Then, the main problem was then trying to stop before running into the group of ladies that had stopped to talk to each other about two metres from the line – not the best place to stop! Having seen the position of some of the photographs later though I did wonder if they were in fact having their picture taken.

I was a little disappointed with myself I’d messed up the finish by not having increased speed when I’d planned. Glancing at my watch though, I was then pleased though  as it was showing the “New PB” message! A second after crossing the finish line I’d felt my phone vibrate in my media belt so I pulled it out to find that they’d sent me my official time by SMS pretty much as I’d finished. Now that is impressive!

Finisher’s Medal for the Run For All Lincoln 10K 2015

From the finish line there was then a runners only section across the cobbled pavement (which I was thankful I didn’t have to run on it like last year!) to where they were handing out water and the goodie bags. The goodie bag wasn’t as good as Silverstone’s, but then, that was the best I’d ever seen. This one was still good though! It consisted of:

  • Bottle of water
  • 2 x Rocky chocolate bar
  • Finishers Medal
  • Finishers Technical Tee

I probably drank about half of the bottle of water pretty much straight away as I was walking around to the front of the Cathedral. After a couple of photos I then slung the goodie bag over my shoulder and set off on a 2.31 mile run back to the car park. For some it, I was running along the same route as some of the runners that were still out there – from about the 7K marker through to the 8K marker – I hope them seeing someone who had finished overtaking them wasn’t off putting.

Getting out of the car park was far easier than last year too – I don’t know if that is down to better organisation and different road closures, or whether it’s just because I got back to my car earlier than last time – but it was nice to get back on the road quickly.

Outside the Lincoln Cathedral

My official time for the 20th Lincoln 10K was a personal best of 41:30, which also set a new 5K PB of 20:37. I finished 280th out of a field of 4261 finishers – that puts me into the top 6.5% for this race. A definite improvement over finishing this race last year!

I think with the new organisers for this race it was still a great race – it was well organised, plenty of sign posts, plenty of support, and a great looking medal and finisher’s tee to finish. The course is one of my favourites, there’s nothing quite like finishing at the Lincoln Cathedral – pretty much the best looking Cathedral in the country, and I think the changes to the route, although unexpected were good ones.

Although I’d planned on this being my last time running the Lincoln 10K I must say that I’m now tempted to run it again next year, unless there’s another race I’d like to do that it clashes with.

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adidas Silverstone Half Marathon 2015

After the Donington Park HM I’d planned to have a break from running for a few weeks before starting on training for the London Marathon. This didn’t quite happen and instead I found myself working on an Advent running streak instead – this streak consisted of 24 runs in 24 days with none of them less than 4 miles, but some being around 13 miles. I then took about a week off from running over Christmas and New Year before starting training for the London Marathon, the Silverstone Half Marathon forming part of the training for this.

When I ran the Leicester Marathon (at this point, my only marathon) I used Bupa’s training plan; this time I was using the “My Asics” custom training plan, though this race did not quite fit in. The main reason for me entering this one though was that the medal from the previous year had looked quite cool, so hoped they’d do something similar for this year. The week before this run I’d done an 18 mile run, and had set a new PB for a Half during that too, so I hadn’t really made any attempt to taper.

By the time of race day I’d done a few runs that were further than a half marathon so felt I was ready. I’d got a rough race plan too, but didn’t expect to stick to it – things always change on the day and you have to race based on how you feel and what the conditions are like. The day before the race I had serious doubts about how I’d do with the half marathon – my last half race (which was my second) had included some walking, and the weather forecast wasn’t looking pleasant. It was forecast to be cold, wet, and with strong winds. Great. So to make sure I got at least one pleasant run in over the weekend I went for a short 4 mile run the day before the event.

adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

Race Day

As it was a midday start it meant there wasn’t really much rushing around required in the morning. I hadn’t slept that well, but I still didn’t bother to get up until 07:00. Usually I’d set out my racing kit the night before, but I hadn’t even done that so I casually got everything together, and after a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes I set off on the road to Silverstone. Although I’d expected it to take around 1h30 due to roadworks, I got there in only an hour so I spent the next 1hr30 sitting in my car at the front of the car park. As it turned out it was probably a good thing I sat in the car that long as the weather outside really was chilly!

The organisers had requested everyone arrives by 10:30 despite the 12:00noon start, and it was only about 15 minutes from my car to the paddocks so I ended up wandering around for over an hour – eventually physically shaking from how cold I was. The weather app on my phone said the outside temperature was 5C, but underneath, due to windchill, it said that it felt like -2C.

It seems Marathon Photos are quite eager to get photos of everyone as I had 4 photos taken before the race had even started. To pass the time I wandered around the paddocks seeing what there was before wandering into the adidas store for about 30 minutes whilst trying to get Twitter working on my phone. I’d hoped to meet up with a few fellow runners from #ukrunchat but sadly without access to Twitter I couldn’t get in touch with them (sorry @SezSaysStuff!). With only 30 minutes to go I made my way over to the starting area.

silverstone-half-marathon-map-2013

Once the race started I was starting to feel comfortably warm again before I’d even done a mile, which was probably the best point in the whole race – that feeling of warmth again. After feeling like I’d never be warm again (should have listened to @amy__everett’s advice! – sorry!) it was a relief. From the start I tried to keep at around 07:00 min/mile pace – that was what my plan was, to keep that up for as long as I could (which I imagined to be around 5 miles as it was in training), and to then drop the pace to around 07:20 min/mile once I needed to. As always, the start was a little chaotic trying to find a route through the crowds that will allow you to keep your target pace – though quite a few times had people run out straight in front of me which meant I had to either slow down or dodge to the side if I could to avoid running into them.

Just after the first mile, at Stowe corner there was some live Indian music playing – it was nice to have some live music on a run! Though for the entire run there was also a DJ playing music which could be heard over most of the course. There were some pretty good choices too, such as “Uptown Funk”, though sadly there was the odd bad choice too – such as “Bob the Builder”, but overall the music was good! After I’d finished the race I even saw some ladies dancing along (whilst they were running) to S Club 7’s “Reach”. At some points the music really helped to keep me going.

The first few miles passed by fairly quickly, and I’d maintained a pace I was pretty happy with. The only thing I was really thinking about was how far there was left to go, and rationalised it as only being 10 miles left, so I wasn’t that far off a quarter of the way around. I kept that sort of thinking for quite a bit of the race. For some of it I was also looking around a little to see what was about, and remembering my previous visit there for the Renault World Series a few years previous, and thinking back to that weekend of camping, food, and watching motor racing.

For those that need to take on fluids during a race there was a good selection of Lucozade and water stations, though I didn’t bother with water or fuel for this race as I usually run this sort of distance in training without bothering (though admittedly if it had been warm I might have needed to). I did hear though that they’d unscrewed the tops ready, so that would be a big help for those that were wanted them!

It was a relatively flat circuit, though there were a couple of points where there are sudden inclines as you go up over the bridges that cross the circuit. I wasn’t quite prepared for those as I’d assumed the course would be relatively flat. There were a few areas that were considerably windy too, but the 15mph wind didn’t really feel that bad, especially compared to what we’d had at the Brass Monkey 10K. Despite my reservations the race was going far better than I’d dared to hope and despite it being a bit of a “dull” course I was kind of enjoying it – the atmosphere was really great.

By the time I got to 10 miles, around the back of the stands on Copse Corner, I found that my Garmin watch was showing a little more than 10 miles which meant that I hadn’t taken the best line around the course, so I tried where possible to keep as tight to the corners as I could to try and avoid increasing it any more. I realised by this point that I’d held my pace steady for pretty much the entire race, I hadn’t had to slow down as I thought I would. This left me thinking that if I could stay below 07:30min/mile for the last 3 miles I would set a new PB. Sure enough I held at around 07:10min/mile for some time after this. By the time I got to mile 11 I was thinking I really needed to slow down though, but tried to hold the speed as best as I could. By mile 12 I somehow managed to increase pace a little, or at least for a good portion of the mile anyway, so that by the time I crossed the mile 13 marker I was ready to sprint.

This was the first time I’ve ever heard a crowd at the finish line cheer for me, with a few comments of “look at him go!”. By the time I crossed the finish line I’d made it up to a pace of 03:43min/mile, though my eyes were watering so I could barely see, and my ears had popped (something they’ve done when running in the cold without earphones before).

As I crossed the finish line my Garmin watch recorded 13.2 miles with a time of 1:32:23 (so an average of around 07:00min/mile) – comfortably a new personal best for a half marathon! Later when I checked online I found that it had also shaved 12 seconds off my 10K PB as well, setting that to 43:19. Uploading the result to Strava, it indicated my 13.1 time was 1:31:56, though it’s not the course’s fault I ran more. Once over the finish line they then cut the timing chip off your shoe and then they hand you over a goodie bag based on your requested t-shirt size. I was amazed at how much it included!

  • 2015 Finishers medal
  • 2015 Finishers tee
  • Bottle of water
  • Bottle of Luvozade
  • 3 bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk Lu chocolate
  • £25 gift card for HelloFresh
  • PolarFrost Pain Relief gel
  • Drumstick “squashies” sweets
  • AlfaOne Rice Bran Oil (no idea what this is)
  • Rebel Kitchen Chai Mylk
  • Go Coco Coconut Water
  • On the go Lizi’s Granola

Finishers Medal

Finishers Tee

My official time was 1:32:17, in a total position of 396 out of 6696 runners – putting me in the top 6%. I’m happy with the result, I did better than I thought I could, and I think this puts me on target for doing the London Marathon this year in the 3hr30 time I’d hoped for. If you’d like to sponsor me for the London Marathon there’s still time! Check out my Virgin Money page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DavidGPaul