11th May 2014. Market Drayton 10k. This was supposed to have been my first ever race. In typical Sarah style though, I’d jumped the gun, and already done Action Heart 5 and Fradley 10k in February.
So, you’d think that I’d be calm, relaxed and ready to enjoy the run, having had the chance to experience a race atmosphere.
I was awake at 5am. Between 5am and 10am I must have visited the loo about 15 times.
Ridiculous really. The day was going to be great fun. The race has a great reputation for atmosphere, and about 15 Shabbarunners were going to be there.
Anyhow, me & Chris got ready, said goodbye to the children & my parents & hit the road.
We soon found our fellow Shabbas, and I finally met Nikki in person. She’s just as loopy as she is on Twitter!
After a warm up jog round the field with Ian, Lee & Greg, it was time to find our starting positions.
I found the 60minute plus area. At Fradley, I ran the 10k in 1:06:20, and in training I’d got down to about 1:04, so had no illusions about being quicker than an hour. This is where I bumped into our West Brom Harrier pals, Jo, Wai & Lee. Chris was in the same start line up as me, as although he’s a lot speedier than me, he’s got a painful ankle, and had decided to just run a slow 10k, and not risk injuring himself before his Rock ‘N’ Roll half marathon in a couple of weeks. Fellow Shabba Marissa was with me as well, fresh from her honeymoon.
And then we were off.
With over 2000 runners, the first mile was very congested, and it was quite hard to find space to settle into a pace, but about the half mile mark, I spotted someone from work cheering on, and managed to catch his eye, and exchange waves.
From there on it was a case of finding a rhythm, and trying not to get swept along too quickly.
The course was pleasant going through the town centre and housing estates, it was lovely to see the local residents sitting in their gardens cheering us on, even when the rain started.
About the 2.5 mile mark, there was a water station, so I grabbed a bottle of water. After taking a few mouthfuls, I decided I couldn’t run with the bottle, so got rid, as a lot if people were doing.
And then I got a stitch.
No problem, slow breathing down, slow feet down. It’ll pass.
For 5 minutes.
Then it was back, on the other side.
Repeat for the rest of the 4 miles.
Yes. I ran 4 miles with a recurring stitch.
After a while I just forgot about it. I was aware of it, but not hindering me.
I was keeping an eye on my pace at this point too. I covered the first 5k at bang on 30 minutes, I realised if I was sensible I was on for a good PB time, even if I did slow down for the second half.
This was when the course got a little more undulating too.
I don’t mind hills, going uphill. But I’m wary going down hill. I’m so clumsy I have visions of losing control and tripping going down hill. It’s not happened – yet!
There were a group behind me, obviously running as a team who we’re doing shout outs at the mile points, and every now and then calling to other runners “give me a yeah if you’re running for fun!” – I managed a thumbs up! It they kept me smiling!
I was following a guy in an Ironman morph suit, and although he’s not as special as the Shabba’s Morphman, his suit was well designed for *ahem* accentuating his rear view , so I enjoyed the view and kept on going!
Then around mile 5, there was a short(ish) sharp hill. It was totally energy draining, but I ran it all. Hills are my friend!
Then it was back onto the school grounds for the finish. The change from concrete to grass was very heavy on my legs, and I’d decided that as I was on for a PB regardless that if I couldn’t sprint finish, then I’d still be happy.
I saw the Shabba flag near the finish.
That was it.
I kicked it up and managed a sprint finish.
I stopped my watch at 1:01:28. Just under 5 minutes off my Fradley time.
Thank you Jonnie for taking this picture. It may not be the most flattering picture, but my face says it all!
I met up with the Shabbas, delighted with my PB. With our enormous goodie bags and yoghurt stash, we went to spend our free beer vouchers. It was a great few hours, chilling, giggling, rehashing the race, and just generally being together.
Unfortunately, from about 5 minutes after I’d finished I’d been experiencing awful stomach cramps.
These continued for the rest of the day, leaving me curled up in agony with a hot water bottle, and 24 hours later, I’m still not right.
After a long chat with the Tron of Lozza, a Shabba sister, and more experienced runner, we think we’ve pinned it down to dehydration. My nervous loo trips obviously didn’t help, and despite me drinking plenty, before hand, it obviously wasn’t timed right. But she has given me some good tips, and I think I can fix it before my next race on 1st June.
I’m delighted with my run, and enjoyed my day enormously. Can’t wait for next year!