It’s one week until the Chichester 10K, which means it’s time to ease off on the training and taper down to Race Day… but not before one more long(ish) Sunday run!
My last 10K run was a couple of weeks ago and, although my 5Ks over the last week or so have been pretty good, I’ve still been a bit concerned about how I will cope with the distance – especially as I’ve only attempted it twice.
So, today I got up early and headed out for my final 10K run before the big day. The weather was a bit grimy so I decided against the seafront and headed for Hove Recreation Ground and Hove Park instead. The plan was to do a couple of 1K laps of Hove Rec and then head to the park for a bit of variety – that way I could wear my hoody and if the rain eased off I could drop it off on the fence and pick it up again on my way back round.
The other advantage of running this route is that it has plenty of inclines. So far I have only ever done my longer runs on the seafront and, even though I’m told that the route next Sunday is pretty flat, I suspect that what’s flat for some people probably won’t feel quite so flat for me.
The gentle slopes of Hove Rec provided a good warm up and, as I’d hoped, after the first lap the rain stopped and the sun came out. I decided to keep the pace nice and slow and kept going round until I started to get bored with the monotony of running along the same path.
After three 1K laps I headed for the park, which offered some respite with a nice downhill jog before I reached the familiar path that we use for Parkrun on Saturdays.
The park seemed fairly quiet at first, but just as I had completed my first lap, I noticed a group of runners in neon jackets heading my way. Soon, they were joined by another group, and then another and pretty soon I found myself sharing the park with dozens of runners who, judging by the logos on some of their jackets, looked like they were out training for the Brighton Marathon.
It was nice to see so many people out so early as the park can often be pretty quiet on a Sunday morning. But they didn’t stay long. I passed them as they moved down to the grass and by the time I ran back round on my third lap, they were all heading off somewhere. I watched in awe as they jogged off up the road and thought to myself, maybe next year…
By this point I had run about 8K and, even though I knew my pace was all over the place, I was still feeling pretty good. I figured that, if I took it easy enough, I could probably do another full lap, which would take me over the 10K mark.
And then it happened. The sky went dark. The heavens opened. And down it came. Not rain, but hailstones accompanied by a cold icy wind. Luckily I was just approaching the part of the fence where I had left my hoody after the first lap, so I grabbed it, pulled it on and got my hood up before the ice cold pellets froze my ears off!
Of course, at this point, most normal people would have stopped and found shelter. But not me. Not the other runners on the path. Not the man walking his dog and not the boys playing football on the astro pitch. Instead, the whole park seemed to come to life!
The boys on the pitch were laughing, the woman jogging while pushing her young daughter on a bike grinned as they hurried past, I held my hands out to feel the drops of ice on my hands and beamed as I said to the man with the dog, Wow! This is crazy!, to which he replied, It’s just wonderful!
Wonderful as it was, I was glad that the hail only lasted for a few minutes. So much so, that as I approached the point where the path splits, I decided that I’d take the shorter lap and just stick with the 10K for today.
It sounds weird being able to say just stick with the 10K, but it’s a great feeling. I was so happy that I had made this morning’s run. Happy to have changed my route, happy to have taken on the inclines, and strangely happy to have caught the hailstones in the process.
Who’d have thought a year ago that I’d be saying that?