Today was race day number 3 in my foolish quest of completing a 10k race once a month for a year. This one was only a short train ride away (I’ve actually walked to this part of London and back many times) so there would be little chance of me being fleeced by any rail companies.
Although the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (yes, I’m going to continue to refer to it by its full name) is only a couple of miles away from me, like many famous landmarks in London I had yet to visit it – and now that it will soon be the home of West Ham United I hope to never have to visit again – unless it is to witness Millwall hammering them.
As I came out of Stratford station I realised I had not printed off my ticket that I was to give to the people at the registration table. I then had to download the Event Byte app and set my account up to work with it so they could scan that barcode thingy that people use these days. When I went to the registration table they asked me for my name and then handed over my race pack – so I didn’t need to stand outside the station and furiously download and set up my account after all!
I was hoping to be able to get in under the hour barrier, but although I managed to get in regular training runs since my last race I was only able to do 5k sessions, and since this was advertised as a fast race I was going to settle for beating my Stockley Park time (01:05:35).
Part of the run takes you along a canal and I was almost hit from behind by a speeding cyclist who stopped as he passed me to tell me to “get out of the fucking way”. Obviously this didn’t sit well with me as I know that pedestrians have right of way on canal towpaths so I told him to “fuck off.” He got off his bike and walked it over to me and asked me “who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” It was slightly amusing to see him suddenly back up as I jogged up to him and he realised I was bigger than he first thought.
We exchanged some verbal insults and I invited him to come and see me at the finish line where I’d be only to happy to smash the fuck out of him. A race steward intervened and told me to continue the race, as I jogged away I heard the steward tell the cyclist “he had right of way, you were speeding like a lunatic”.
I have no problem sharing the towpaths, and even pavements, with cyclists, but please remember WE have right of way and they are NOT your own private speed lanes.
I continued my run and with 0.5km to go I sped up and with 0.2km to go I really went for it and surprised myself that I had enough left in my tank to sprint the remaining 100 yards. I gave the clock a quick glance as I passed and was delighted to see I had made it over the line a good three minutes UNDER my best time of 01:03:30. Although I would have to wait until later to find out my EXACT time as the time I saw also included how long it took me to get to the starting line.
My chip time was recorded as 59 minutes and 49 seconds!
After the race I had to climb two flights of stairs to retrieve my bag, my goodie bag and my medal, and then walk down the stairs again. The walking up was tough, but the walking down part almost killed me and I had to stop half way for a breather.
I did a bit of a cool down workout as I watched and clapped home some of the other runners. I then started to head off to a pub when I saw a big lad walking the race, he had about 0.6km to go and was clearly struggling, so I jogged down to him and offered him some encouragement and walked with him. Turns out it was his first race, as we had 0.3km to go I coaxed him into jogging slowly and then at the 0.1km mark I left him and he really went for it as people cheered him across the line.
That’s one of the things I love about running these races, the encouragement and the camaraderie. And no. Trig, that wasn’t the Italian kid.
I went to The Goose and had a delicious rump steak and chips with a couple of pints of Tribute and Ghostship while feeling very proud of myself for breaking the hour barrier as early as I did. I believe with a bit more training and and some longer training runs I can get the time even lower.
I went round to Reiss’ and Alison’s house later in the evening to play a card game called Cards Against Humanity. You basically use cards to make sentences incredibly rude as possible, and I had a great time playing it and watching Alison get embarrassed at some of the things me, Reiss and her son were coming up with.