Race report: Brighton 10k (and Smug Running Guy news)

Last week I was extolling the virtues of being fully prepared the night before a race. Following my own advice I got my racing kit together Saturday night only to find that the poppers for my race belt were missing. In case you don't know a race belt is something that you can attach your number to so you don't have to pin it to your shirt. Unfortunately the poppers are the integral part that attach the race number, without them the race belt is just a belt really. This realisation precipitated a mad scramble round the house to find some safety pins to attach my number to the shirt. So following on from last week's advice, it's probably best to get your racing kit together a good 24 hours before the race in case you need to get to the shops for something.

So after that initial mishap family Trihard made it out of the house in record time to get to Brighton a good half an hour before the run started. It was a glorious day with bright sunshine and no wind - perfect running conditions for me and spectating conditions for Baby, Toddler and Mrs Trihard. Learning from previous experience I limited my water intake and managed to get a toilet break in before things got going so I was feeling pretty good.

Feeling good, looking spectacular!
Last week I said  I was aiming for a sub 57 minute I have to confess that I was increasingly fancying my chances of having a crack at my personal best for a 10k, which was 54.47 minutes. To get near this I was going to have to aim for around 5 min 40 secs per kilometre. As always the start was pretty crammed but I managed to find a decent line without having to weave in and out too much. When we got to the the 1km I checked my time and found I'd done it in 5 min 22 secs. Obviously this was well ahead of the speed I required to beat my personal best but also one that I knew was unsustainable. I managed to slow down a bit and was going at a steady pace but once I passed the 2km mark it wasn't until I reached the 5km mark that I was able to get a bearing on my pace.

And they're off
 Pacing, in all disciplines, is something we work on a lot at Triathlon club and something you are advised to aim for is a "negative split". This doesn't mean an unfortunate tear in your lycra but pacing yourself so that you are able to finish the second half of the race quicker than the first part. I reached the 5km mark, which is very clearly marked with an arch of balloons, at 27 mins 55 secs. It wasn't quite as quick as I was hoping and while I wasn't exactly struggling I didn't think I would be able to keep up the pace I was going, let alone do the last 5km quicker than the first half. The course was right along Brighton sea front and the turnaround point was 6.5km. That 1.5km seemed to go on forever. Obviously you could see the quicker runners coming back down but the point where I could start the run back to the pier just wasn't coming. At that point I started to seriously flag, I was getting concerned that I was actually going to have to walk and that I wouldn't get anywhere near the 57 minutes I'd set for myself. But I finally reached the turnaround point which gave me a second wind. I then worked out that once I passed the 5km mark coming back the other way there was only 2km left - I was practically home. I managed to pick up a bit of speed again, the legendary second wind, and was soon at the 9km mark.

I checked my watch. I can't remember exactly what the time was but I wasn't as far off my PB as I'd been at the half way mark. Sporting cliches ran through my mind, "leaving it all out on the field", "digging deep" and all that. I picked up my pace even more, but then I was worried about overdoing it and conking out 500m short. Then I saw the Trihard family at the side cheering me on. Toddler Trihard is very enthusiastic and very movingly says that she's going to run with Daddy when she's a big girl. With that I "dug even deeper".

Almost home and a wave from Toddler Trihard
 I could see the finish and the seconds were ticking down to 54 min 47 secs. I don't know how quickly I did that last kilometre but I certainly "left everything out on the field." According to my monitor my heart rate went up to 187bpm as I sprinted to the finishing line. I was working so hard over the last 150m that I wasn't able to see what time it was and if I was going to beat my personal best. Once I was over the line I stopped my timer - 55 mins 02 secs. Just 15 seconds shy. In terms of a negative split the second 5km was 48 seconds quicker than the first half.

More space needed in the trophy room
After collecting my medal I staggered through the spectators and other finishers to meet the Trihard supporters. Toddler Trihard came running up to me "Daddy, Daddy", she was calling. I knew she was going to say something heart melting, like how she wanted to be a great runner like me. "Daddy, daddy. I just saw a man dressed as a chicken!"

So there we go. I didn't beat my personal best but I came pretty close and there are plenty of races to go. And in other news Smug Running Guy, who was running a 10k in Suffolk, beat his previous personal best by a minute to finish in 39 mins 36 secs. He's such a Smug Running Guy.

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