10k, Race Review, Reviews, Uncategorized, Weather

Race Review – Leeds 10k 20th July 2014

The Leeds 10k is an old friend of mine – I’ve done the race on quite a few occasions now and I know the course pretty well.  It’s a fairly flat (and supposedly fast) out and back along Kirkstall Road.

It’s not the most exciting route, but I love watching the people who are ahead of me when I’m running out and those behind me when I’m running back.  It gives me something to focus on and takes my mind off the road.

Last year my time at Leeds was 57.31.  Could I break the magic 60 minutes again this year?  I hoped so, but the weather had other ideas.

We are in a HEATWAVE in the UK at the moment. I’m not complaining, but it’s killing my running 😦

Sunday morning was foggy, but the sort of fog that says “very soon it’s going to be toasty here”.  Sure enough, I was sweating on the start line before we’d even gone anywhere. I tucked my t-shirt up into my sports bra (apologies, those of you who had to watch my belly running) and off we went.

Up to 5k…not bad.  Post 5k…are these my legs??  I just couldn’t make my feet work!  I switched to 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking and then to 1 minute running, 1 minute walking.  The last mile was rubbish and I just wanted it all to be over.  It’s always nerve racking seeing other people collapsed by the roadside, particularly the man wearing the same running outfit as the husband.  Best wishes to you all, I hope you’re all okay.

Scores on the doors? 1.05.37.  Not good, but not terrible either.  York 10k is in 2 weeks so I have chance to redeem myself.

Even the husband was 6 minutes slower than last year – and he’s not impressed.

Route – 8/10

Goody bag – 8/10 – loved the Kitkat Chunky

Congratulations to our friend Richard who was completing an Ironman while we were complaining about the 10k.  Nice work!

10k, Race Review, Reviews, Running, Training

Race Review: York 10k 4.8.13

Sunday 4th August was my home town 10k, organised by the Jane Tomlinson charity.

Getting there

This is an easy one for me – just 10 minutes drive to the racecourse in York.  I do love organised runs, but I’m terrible with early starts so local events are always preferable.   I got up at 7am to eat porridge and a banana, that way I could make sure I’d done all my digesting before the run started.


There’s event parking at the racecourse itself.  We parked on a side street a few minutes walk away – the streets do seem to be getting busier and busier every year though.   I’ve heard lots of people say the traffic is bad getting to this run from further away, so make sure you’ve left plenty of time.


We got the racecourse in plenty of time and spotted a MASSIVE queue for the portable toilets.  I didn’t even need a wee but the husband and I didn’t have much else to do so we joined the queue and stood around for 15 minutes.  By the time I got there, I did need a wee so all was well before the start of the race.  With an estimated 6000 runners, I think a few more loos would have been good.

The start

I’ve done this race in previous years and the start has been a bit of a mess – everyone penned in on Knavesmire Road and not able to hear the announcers.  This year there were pens for sub 45, sub 55, sub 60 minute runners to assemble in, to be followed by 60 minute + runners, joggers and walkers.  A huge improvement!  I set off with the sub-60 runners and was a bit surprised to see people walking within the first kilometre.  A bit ambitious in the group they stood with perhaps 🙂

The route

This run is billed as one of the most beautiful 10k’s in England and they’re right.  It goes past the river, York Minster…it’s lovely.  The route is mostly flat, with a few small inclines.  It does get narrow at some points though, so competitive types might find it a bit frustrating if they get stuck.

I had Harry Gration from Look North (our local news) running behind me for a while, he was getting so much attention from the spectators!  I sped up so he didn’t overtake me.

There were lots of people on the route cheering us on – thank you so much!

The finish

The finish came quite quickly for me.  Up to 7k I felt fine and like I was going fairly fast.  I didn’t dare look at my Garmin in case I was actually going really slowly!  The 8th and 9th kilometre felt harder but I had enough to get a sprint to the finish.

The goodies

A disappointing goodie bag, but I think I might have a got a defective one.  I got a medal, technical tee and small chocolate bar.  The husband got medal, tee, chocolate, lucozade and a stack of leaflets.  Oh well.

My time

56.41.  I’m delighted with that, another PB.  If it had been a little cooler I think I might have gone even faster too.

10k, Positivity, Running, Training

Week 13 Training

I had some good times and some bad times this week.  I think overall what’s happening is what I sort of guessed would happen – I’ve hit a plateau and the steady improvements I saw in the first few months have tailed off a bit.  It’s only to be expected, so I need to dig deep now and make sure I don’t lose focus or get disillusioned.

The biggest fear/doubt/worry I’ve got at the moment is the long runs.  Once I get past a certain distance I just fall apart mentally, rather than physically.  My long run this week went to pot in the last few miles so I need to make sure I have a good long run experience to get over that.  I wasn’t properly prepared so I finished hungry, thirsty and over-tired – all lessons to learn.

Here’s how week 13 panned out:

  • Monday: 14 miles – I finished it, but had to do some walking and wasn’t pleased with my 11.04 minute/mile average pace
  • Tuesday: fartlek fail – my chafing injury from last week turned 45 minutes into 20 minutes
  • Wednesday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Thursday: run 60, 1 hour climbing
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (back), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: York 10k – race review coming later this week

My main lessons are:

  • Don’t drift away from the training plan
  • Don’t do a long run when I’m tired and badly prepared
  • Focus on the positives and don’t let one crappy run destroy all the progress I’ve made

Onwards and upwards for week 14!

10k, Race Review, Reviews, Running, Weather

Race Review: Leeds 10k 14.7.13

Sunday 14th July was the Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10k.  The Jane Tomlinson events are always well organised and well attended, the entrance fees are steep but the atmosphere and the goodie bag are usually worth it 🙂

Getting there

Leeds isn’t too far from York so we had a leisurely breakfast (wholemeal bagels and honey, banana) and left the house at 7.45.  Traffic getting into Leeds isn’t bad and there is lots of parking, just make sure you read up on the road closures.  It was cloudy when we left York, but as we drove towards Leeds the sun really started to blaze.


There are lots of car parks in the centre of Leeds, and if you can find an on street space it’s free on a Sunday.


My pre-race wee is always a concern for me – will I have to queue, how grotty will the toilets be?  There were lots of portaloos but the queues there were quite big.  What most runners don’t know is that there are public toilets in the corner of Millenium Square where the runners assemble, and the queue there wasn’t too bad.   It’s a little thing, but a clean toilet and toilet paper make for a great start to the day.

The start

My only real quibble with this race is how early they want the runners to assemble.  The race started at 9.30, but we were supposed to be assembled by 8.30 to be walked to the start at 8.50. There was a lot of hanging around listening to the DJ rambling and most people just wanted to get going.  We found a little patch of shade which was much better than 45 minutes standing in full sun.

The route

The route was new this year – fast and flat, and similar to the Abbey Dash route (another Leeds 10k).  It’s an ‘out and back’ route, so the road was split in two for the faster runners to return while I plodded on.  I know some people don’t like this type of route, but I love being able to see the elite athletes zoom by, and when I’m on my way back I like to see if there are still people behind me.

There was a little bit of congestion in places but overall it was okay.

The finish

Slightly uphill!  Just like every finish in Leeds seems to be 🙂  The 200 meters to go sign was very welcome, and I crossed the line in 57.32, a new personal best (PB) for me.  I was targeting sub-60, so I was very happy.  The husband got sub-50 so he was delighted too.

The goodies

Jane Tomlinson events always provide a great technical t-shirt.   There was water, Lucozade Sport and  a couple of little chocolate bars which I devoured in the car on the way home.   There was lots of water and sponges on the route, which were very welcome in the heat.

My time

57.32.  It’s York 10k next month, now I have a new target to beat!  I really feel like my training is making me stronger and more consistent.  I’m a bit faster too, but strength is my goal with an eye on the marathon…it’s getting closer!

10k, Race Review, Reviews, Running

Race Review: Castle Howard 10k 16.6.13

Sunday 16th June was down for a 10k race on my training plan, so I registered for the Castle Howard 10k.  This is a gorgeous scenic race through the the stately home’s stunning grounds.

Getting there

Castle Howard is fairly close to where I live so it wasn’t too much of an early start – plenty of time to get some porridge into me and grab a banana for a pre-race snack.

There is a fun run and a 6k race that start before the 10k, which kicks of at 11.15.  Because this is a smaller race, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about fighting traffic.


Free parking is provided in a field about 5 minutes walk from the race start.  There’s ample space, but it can get a bit slippy if it’s a wet year.  This year was hot and sunny so no problems getting in and out of the parking.


There are toilets near the race start for runners to use – the queues can be pretty long but they are inside toilets with toilet paper which is always nice – better than a grotty portaloo!

The start

The race started a couple of minutes late to allow some stragglers who were stuck in toilet queues to arrive.  The start is quite narrow so for the first 100 yards it’s just a case of holding your own  – after that the pack thins out and there is no crowding on the route.

There was a warm up before the start but only 2 people joined in – perhaps because the PA system was quite poor so no one knew it was happening.

The route

The route is 10.45k in total – that extra .45k can be a real shock if you don’t know about it and are only prepared to run 10k.  It is a 2 lap route, on good quality trails that show you some of the highlights of the estate.  Most of the laps are flat or gently sloped, apart from the end of each lap.  Here, you run up a steep bridge and then up another steep slope on the other side.   It’s only a few minutes, but it can be a killer and many people choose to walk.

The finish

Even though it’s a small race there are plenty of folk to clap you over the line.  Timing is taken manually, no timing chips.

The goodies

A commemorative mug and a bottle of water 🙂

My time

I crossed the line in 1.04.47, so averaged a 10 minute mile.  I’m happy with that!  Previous years I’ve walked the steep section but this year I ran non-stop so it was a great 10k.  Leeds 10k is coming up next month followed by York 10k in August, I’m hoping to sub-60 minute in both of those.