UQ Twilight 10km

20 Mar

Having recently done my first half ironman (yep, I mentioned it again), the thought of lining up for the Twilight UQ 10km fun run wasn’t really all that daunting.  While I hadn’t actually gone out and run 10km straight of late, I was confident I’d be able to do the distance. Friends encouraged me, and many suggested that it was “only” 10km so I should ace it no problem at all.  I think the reality is what I have found is that no matter what the distance, you give it your all. Whether it be a sprint distance triathlon, a local parkrun…. or even a half ironman, I always want to get to the end of the race thinking I couldn’t have gone any harder rather than well, that was an easy day out. So despite it being a shorter distance than some events I’ve participated in lately, I approached the start line ready to give it my all. Last year I did the race in 1:18 and I wanted to beat that time this year.

We went along with our friends Jeff and Debbie and were at the start plenty early enough. Early enough in fact to watch the start and finish of the 5km race ahead of us.  I have to say that was a great way to start our running afternoon. Such a cool reminder that anyone can have a go at running – there were all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities participating. I know when I started running I couldn’t make it from one street light to the next, but by just increasing my distance a little further each time, and consistently getting out there, I’ve been able to finish various sized events – and I really enjoy it!… anyway I’m digressing, this is a race report….

The rain was falling by the bucket load Sunday morning… as the race start time approached the skies had cleared, the temp had reduced to what could normally be classed as a pleasant 26, but the humidity was above 80% and the dew point 22.2… and by the time we hit race end it was 25 but humidity had climbed to almost 90% and the dewpoint 23… all in all pretty uncomfortable running conditions. You only had to look around at the finishers – we all looked like we had been caught in a torrential downpour but the delightful news was it was all sweat!

As our start approached, Jeff, Dave and I lined up. The usual nerves kicked in while waiting on the start line, my heart rate was 120 before I even started (double what it normally is!).  I wished the guys well in their run, and not long after we were away.  The first couple of kilometres are uneventful, before the first long slow climb up over the green bridge.  I was feeling good at this point, I’ve crossed the bridge a time or two on my bike, so I knew it was just a long slow steady climb and knew that I’d be fine.  At this point Dave was still running beside me. I’d love to say we had been chatting the whole way but I’m not sure we had even said a word at this point… both of us were too busy breathing.  Once we’d successfully crossed the bridge it was a welcome downhill to head along the Corso.  We were surrounded by so many runners – it was really wonderful to see so many out.  It was here, at about 3.5km I enjoyed my first hydration station. Knowing how hot it was out on course I decided that I needed to have a couple of mouthfuls at each station from here on in to replace some lost fluid.  At each water station I took the time to have two good mouthfuls of water, and then continued on my way.  Dave was still sitting to my right, I wasn’t sure if he was sticking with me to help pace him, or if I was slowing him down… I honestly didn’t have much breath to ask the question, but we kept chugging away side by side.

The Corso lasts forever… okay, so it really doesn’t, but the turn-around seems to be a long way away. At the 5km mark I was pretty happy with my time and just wanted to keep going as long as I could, as hard as I could. I still couldn’t see the turn around, and I couldn’t remember how much further on it was… all I could see was a sea of runners ahead of me, so I kept just putting one foot in front of another.  I’m pretty sure that the first words I uttered to Dave (who was still running alongside me) was “Thank you God” when I saw that the sea of runners ahead had started to turn around…. There’s nothing like knowing you’re on the back half of a course!  It was here I could tell myself “just one parkrun to go!”

Once we turned around I made the decision to take on a gel. I had brought one with me as a “just in case” – for an hour of exercise I didn’t really need one, but I was starting to really feel the effects of the heat and decided that I would use the extra kick.  The problem was, my hands and my shirt were just soaked I couldn’t actually get a good grip on my gel to get the top off!! In the end I was able to bite the corner out, but consuming the gel through the tiny hole took at least 1km if not more – Dave who seemed to have voice, checked with me a couple of times if I was finished and I could only shake my head each time (he was generously asking as he was prepared to carry my rubbish).  As we got to the last couple of aid stations, I slowed even more to pick up some drinks. But other than that we kept on.  Dave would get ahead of me at aid stations but then hung back to wait for me to catch up again after them.  I’m sure he could have done a better time yesterday if he wasn’t waiting for me!

As we approached the cemetery I knew the last hill was coming… and I knew it was a lot steeper than the first slow climb. However, I also knew, once I got over that hill it was either downhill or flat for the remaining 2km.  So, I set off to try and get up the hill without having to walk. I would love to tell you that I let out a big cheer at the top when I did make it up without stopping, however the reality is I was desperately trying to breathe, and oh so thankful for the break of the downhill… the last 2kms – such a relief to almost be able to “see” the finish line.  I was still really happy with my pace overall and wasn’t sure if I’d make a personal best 10km or not, but I knew I was well on track to beat my time from last year.

As we hit the last kilometre, with Dave still by my side he picked up his pace…. Nothing like the finish line to spur one on! But I didn’t have too much left in me, I tried to pick up my pace a couple of times and then found I had to settle back a little.  One of the pacers for the half marathon (going out on the second lap) yelled out “you 10km guys should be going as hard as you can home” – someone near me said they were… I was just trying to breathe….  The race finishes on the UQ sports field track, with the grandstand next to you – it feels like you’re really finishing a race.  I saw Jeff and Debbie (Jeff had already finished) right near the finish line and gave them a thumbs up as I ran past. Dave and I crossed the line together.  Our time exactly 1:05:13 – we started and finished another race together.

As we crossed the line, we went for a short walk to keep moving.  I felt shocking! I was absolutely stoked with my time, but I honestly thought I was going to vomit. I walked, and bent over, and walked and bent over, and willed myself to keep my stomach intact.  So there you have it, another fun run achieved.  I’m absolutely stoked to knock a full 13 minutes off my time from last year – no complaints about a greater than 10% improvement.  What is even better is that it did end up being a PB time for me over the 10km distance as well. So, I was pretty stoked with that!

This was my first event as a fisiocrem sponsored athlete – so I was sure to wear my fisiocrem visor, and equally as sure to put some of that cream into my tired legs before bed! Maybe my new purple visor made me run faster…

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At the start line – with Dave (L) and Jeff (R).  

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Also got to wear my new MND fundraising tights – super comfy!

 

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