Last weekend I ran the Swansea Bay 10k for the first time. I’ve lived here for, er, 6 years or so, and watched my brother run it but I’ve never entered myself. After Sunday’s run I reckon it’s cracking to be able to run with 4000 other people by the sea, on a sunny day, just down the road from where you live, and with an international field able to run sub 30mins (and probably sub 29mins given the warm weather of Sunday). See what others can achieve, and see how far your limits are from your perceptions.
It was a lesson in physiology. A long warm up with some short race pace segments softened up my tendons (& what is probably a little bit of bursitis in my left heel) and my legs felt ok. From the start they felt okish, not awesome, but they moved nicely. I’m in my off season now & running for fun, so I’ve put a couple of kg on over the last 2 weeks (mostly in biscuits and cake). I’m a wee bit heavy and somewhat undertrained. Part of running this 10k was to see the effects of this.
The first km felt good, but the next few were a smidgeon slower than hoped. I paced by perceived effort, and had overestimated my run fitness a touch. Always hopeful. I had to push a little harder to keep pace to the turn at 5km, and that was expected, but from the turn my heart rate jumped. I soon got above 190bpm and held that all the way to the finish (at 195bpm). I didn’t know my heart rate could still go that high! I hadn’t had it that high for that long in probably 20 years.
My legs didn’t feel terrible from 5km but I was struggling to breathe fast enough & hard enough. Soon after my legs and body began to feel bloody awful, my pace dropped & I just kept pushing as best I could.
The tailwind was probably around 10-15mph, and about the same speed as us. We’d lost the cooling effects of the breeze and the cooling effects of running through the air (it was moving with us). Unusually for Swansea not only was it not raining but the sun had come out too. Crikey, I haven’t prepared for this! Gareth pointed out afterwards that we should have grabbed water at the turnaround and soaked ourselves regularly on the way back. That’s a good point, & worth trying in the future (maybe at Eilat if I get there).
I finished in a disappointing 36:59 (not a 37 though!) but I’ve learnt something from it, so it was a good race. I’ll have to wait until next year to drop my PB, so let’s see if I can be a bit more sensible this winter & keep myself & my running healthy.