Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Race Review - Glen 10K

Two weeks ago I was sitting at the laptop, and my friend sent me a link to the Glen 10K, a race which was taking place in ten days time a few miles down the road from where I now live. I hadn't done any proper running in nearly two months, but as I had had a few drinks that evening, I thought it would be a good idea to enter online.

So the next morning I woke with a slight headache, my bank account was £13 lighter and I realised that I had nine days to prepare myself for my first race (and run) in a long time. I guess this was the kick up the butt my running needed. I went out that morning for a very slow 10K run (see my Running Again post..). I could do the distance, but I had also had to stop a few times. I didn't really want to stop during the race, and it would be nice to get a decent time.

Glen 10K
My race number seemed to add a bit of extra pressure.. 

Glen 10K Race

The race started at 12.45 on a Sunday, which turns out to be a great time to begin a race. I was able to eat a big pre race breakfast, have time to digest it and also be on time for the race. Considering it is nearly October, the weather was warm and sunny with bright blue skies. It was almost like the summer we have been waiting all year for..

The event took place at the Glen GAA clubhouse, which is situated just outside Newry, Northern Ireland. There was also a 5K race being held, so it had a very family friendly feel to it with bouncy castles and plenty to keep kids entertained.

Glen 10K
Nice surroundings for a race in the sunshine..

On arrival I picked up my race pack, where I learned that I was racing with bib number 1. Yes, that did add a little bit of pressure. The route was mainly running on country roads, with a lap of some beautiful gardens through the Dromantine Estate, before returning to the roads. Oh, and those roads were not flat, there were a lot of hills.

Glen 10K
Dromantine House. Not sure if I could afford the mortgage payments though. 

I wasn't expecting a great race time without much training, but looking at the hills made me realise that there would be very few personal bests today. I was hoping to run it in under 50 minutes.

It's amazing how much you forget about racing after taking a break for a few months, but I found myself asking the same questions for most of the race.

Why Do I Always Start Too Far Back At The Starting Line?

Maybe it was the fact that there were so many running club vests being worn, but I started to doubt my ability to put on a good performance. But as usual, I found myself starting too far back, and the first few minutes were spent weaving through the crowd as I passed quite a few runners, until finding those running about the same pace as me. This wasn't too bad in a smaller race like this, but on a big race you can easily lose a few minutes.

Why Do I Always Start Too Fast?

Yes, once again I started too fast, something I have only managed not to do in a couple of races all year. Maybe it's my hurry to overtake as many people as I can, maybe it was because I started too far back, or maybe it's just because I get over excited and will never learn. After the first half mile I slowed down a bit, realising that I couldn't keep that starting pace going for 6.25 miles.

Why I Have I Not Trained Enough For This Race?

Maybe every runner asks this question before every race, but this time I knew that I had done very little training. Apart from two runs during the previous week, all my training had consisted of was taking my dog Sheldon for walks. Maybe climbing mountains with him may help me tackle these hills?

Why Haven't I Bought New Running Shoes Yet?

There are a few good reasons why I haven't bought myself a new pair of running shoes, with moving house I have spent most of my money on buying essential house related items. New trainers weren't really at the top of my priority list, but I should have got some a long time ago. My feet started to get numb after about 4 miles, which may or may not have been because the cushioning had worn down so much.

Why Do I Still Smoke?

Smoking really isn't helping my running. At all. I can feel it in my chest and lungs, it affects my blood flow to the muscles, and puts my heart under more stress. I really want to give them up next month. If I'd have given them up last month, I would also have been able to use that money for a new pair of running shoes. And other runners wouldn't give me that look when I'm standing with a cigarette in my mouth after finishing a race. I'm now re - reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking which you can get at Amazon UK by clicking the link.

What I Got Right For This Race

No Alcohol - The race was on a Sunday, but even though I like a drink at the weekend, I thought it would be best to give it a miss on the Saturday night. It seemed to help as I had no hangover, no headache, no upset stomach and wasn't dehydrated.

Pre Race Food - Sometimes I go into a race having either not eaten enough, or having eaten too late and I still feel full. With the late race start, I seemed to have got it just right, eating a large breakfast with sausages, eggs and sweet potatoes about 3 hours before the start. I had enough energy, and everything was well digested for the race.

Running Up Hills - There was a lot of hills during the hills. Amazingly. I seemed to power up most of them without too much trouble. I can only put this down to taking Sheldon up mountains, so I guess he's going to get a lot more of these walks if it helps my running.

During one series of steep climbs, the race organisers had posted a sign telling us we were nearly there.. A few hundred yards later another sign read "And Relax.." I thought this was a nice touch, and certainly helps keep motivation strong during the hardest part of the race.

Glen 10K
This picture may have cost me about 10 seconds..

The runners seemed to spread out quite a bit during the race, and after about 3 miles I found myself running on my own. I could see a couple of runners in front, and a few runners behind me, but for the most part I was running on my lonesome.

I had stopped to take a couple of pictures during the middle of the race, which I was able to do as I wasn't chasing a personal record or race position. However, I think it did cost me one place, as I just couldn't catch the guy in front of me on the final uphill stretch bringing us to the finish line.

Glen 10K
An uphill finish. Somehow I'm still smiling. 

I managed to finish in 28 place out of 129, with a time of 46.08 which I was very happy with. At the front was a male/ female 1st/ 2nd finish, with Joseph McKevitt winning in 37.10 followed by Laura Graham with a time of 37.20. My friend Niall (who had sent me the race details) finished in 4th place, but he said the front three were nowhere to be seen for most of his race. These guys are proper runners. Maybe someday I'll be able to keep them in sight for some of the race..

The only negative for the whole day was when I crossed the finish line and was handed some water and a Mars bar. It was a special edition extra chocolate Mars bar, and the first mouthful tasted unbelievably good. However, the second bite had an awful crunch. That would be my filling falling out of my teeth then. Looks like my new running shoes may have to wait as I spend my next wages on a visit to the dentist.

Glen 10K
The awards and prizes about to be given out..

Other than that, I had a great day. We stayed for the refreshments which was a proper spread of sandwiches and cakes, tea and coffee or if you wanted you could slip into the bar next door for a beer. Amazingly, I managed to stick with coffee. I will definitely be wanting to do this again next year. Brilliant fun, a very friendly crowd both running and organising it, and a challenging course.

It would seem that after taking partI have got my running mojo back. Bring on the next race...

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Do you prefer big or small races? Does anyone else suffer from numb feet when they run?


  1. Great read! You did awesome. I wish you much success with quitting smoking. I like smaller events myself over the 1000+ events. We have an event here in Philadelphia that I did once that has 40,000 runners! It was insane! I have never had foot numbing pain while running. Perhaps your form needs adjusting causing you to strike your foot differently? Or like you said maybe you just need new shoes.

    1. Thanks Danielle, yeah I was looking at the photo of me finishing and my feet seem to be right under my centre of gravity, not sure if that's perfect form :) What race was that? I've ran one in England a couple of times with over 50,000, the atmosphere is amazing, but the smaller races have their charms..

  2. Yikes! Your teeth! Congrats on the race! That's a great time for not running in a while!


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