After some confusion with race entries for the cancelled Yateley 10k the helpful team at Energized Sports deferred by entry to the Old Deer Park 10k in Richmond. After being initially put off by the early start (09:15 on a Sunday morning!) I actually found the pre race travel rather relaxing. Setting off before cars are out and about meant we were in good time to sort out my deferred entry and sort out a race number, and for Tim to work out where the best spot might be during the race.
The pre-race warm up was hosted by trainers from Virgin Active Twickenham and I was impressed by the non nonsense functional moves, I'm not a fan of Zumba or dance based warm ups and the simple mix of squats, lunges, star jumps and jogging with some static stretching ensured a little warmth through my muscles.
I trialled a new pacing technique, going from guess work and just 'feeling' my pace I thought it was time to get a little more scientific and at least use what little basic mathematics I have managed to retain from GCSE. I used a simple sport watch (Decathalon, Kalengi sport) and aimed to check in each km within 6 minutes, I was hopeful that I might be able to beat my Eton Dorney PB and finish in under 1:02:00.
The first couple of kms were fast and flat, hugging the outer wall of Old Deer Park and Kew Gardens I kept pace and as we came out onto the Thames Path I was safely within target, hitting 3km at 17:35. The course was beautifully flat and a mixture of road and light track, the Thames Path takes you along Richmond Lock, I wish I had taken my camera and captured the still water and beautiful soft morning light.
The course tracked back up under Richmond Bridge and we doubled back at just past 8km and I started to push forward a little harder, trying to decide who I was racing against for the final stretch.
As we came under Richmond Bridge I high fived the kids who had gathered to cheer on runners (nothing like a little ego boost) and crossed the narrow footbridge back into the park. The final sprint was across (slippery) grass but I gave it my all, the seconds on my watch slowly ticking up towards 1:00:00. Tim was cheering to sprint that little bit more but the legs were giving all they could, as I crossed the line and glanced down at my watch I was ecstatic to read 1:00:20, meaning I was pretty sure I would be just under 1 hour.
After collecting my medal and goodies, a banana, Inov+ Coconut water, Penguin and Pop chips into the Virgin Active bag, we headed off to beat the Sunday drivers.
All in this race has been one of my favourites, mostly because I managed to pull down my PB under 1 hour, but also because I got finish the race with favourite person bursting with pride at the finish line.
Old Deer Park 10k 17/11/2013 (0:59:55)