They added a hill!

What a fantastic day for a run. Well that’s what I thought when I got up at 7am, blue skies and sunshine with a very faint breeze. Got the usual pre-race stuff done – a very small bowl of porridge and some water, just enough to ensure hydration. Left home with plenty of time to spare, parked up in Bristol – usual car park – guaranteed spaces, walked to Millennium square. 


We met up with son #2 and his girlfriend who had kindly agreed to carry our warmer clothes to save us using the bag drop. Luckily it was so warm these didn’t amount to much. Then off to queue for the toilets with emergency loo roll (which was needed as they had already run out!). This was the first year that the Bristol 10K has been run by the ‘Great Run’ organisation and there were a few things that I wasn’t happy with (not going to mention them all here). One issue though, was the reduced number of toilets in Millennium Square and the queues were massive. They had dotted other loos around the site but unless you knew where they were then you didn’t know where to look! They had also done away with the large mens urinals – these are so invaluable because they reduce the queues very effectively. But hey, that’s enough toilet talk. 

Off to the start pens where the warm up guy took us through some funky moves and stretches. I just did my usual (very little) – not the time to add a new routine, just before a race. The pens filled up nicely ready for our start time of 09.46.

IMG_9166I started pretty quickly, I felt good and there was a good vibe. Almost immediately though I felt really thirsty and I knew that I had 5k to run before I got a drink. My thirst seemed to subside so the run along the Portway was pretty enjoyable, and the support was excellent, but when I did reach the water I was grateful. Some I drank and some I poured down my back! By now the sun was extremely warm. I would say these were the warmest conditions that I have run in this year. 

Just before the start we had been discussing the route, and it dawned on me that there was possibly an extra hill added due to the closure of Prince Street Bridge. This filled me with dread and I was slightly annoyed. The last thing you want when you get to the 8km mark is an extra unexpected hill. Well thats exactly what happened. The previous course flattened off at this point after the slow gradient up from 6-8km, but not this time, slight gradient turned into hill, the name of the road is actually Redcliffe Hill, so it is definitely a hill. I was cursing quite a bit by this point and was also running rather slowly. Luckily whenever you run up, there is a downhill to follow, which was greatly appreciated.  

The final km was not easy and I realised I wasn’t going to make the hour, but I ran it as fast as I could and finished with a respectable 1 hour 5 mins and 23 seconds.  I can’t really compare times to my previous Bristol 10k efforts because of the added HILL but I suppose I have now laid down a new course PB which is there to be broken (unless they change the course back next year – in which case I will be challenging for the hour again)

It was a fantastic day with an amazing atmosphere and loads of supportive people. The run was extremely hard and very hot but it’s always a great feeling when you cross the finish line whatever time you’ve done it in. A great reason to go off and enjoy a two-course slap up brunch, which of course, we did!


10k on Sunday

So it is the Great Bristol 10k on Sunday. I have taken part in this race on 5 previous occasions. The first time I did it was when I was probably about 2 and a half stone heavier and I had only just started running – this was in 2010 and we were running as a big family team to raise money for SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) in memory of a young family member who had sadly lost his life to this disease. My time was a respectible 74 minutes! The following year I lost three stone and concentrated on getting fit! I skipped a year and next entered the race in 2012. I was really fit and getting some pretty quick training times but I was now suffering IT Band issues, I managed to achieve 61 mins and 38 seconds – I think I would’ve made it under the hour if the IT pain hadn’t kicked in around mile 4.

I had treatment for my IT band which included physio and changing my running style from heel strike to mid/fore foot strike. This was a challenging process and it took a while for me to get back up to speed. I ran it in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with varying degrees of success but I still haven’t made the sub 60 mins.

I would like to think this is going to be the year, but my body is unpredictable and it depends on how I feel on the day and also what the weather’s like! I have managed two sub 30′ parkruns now so all I have to do it join those two together and keep running at my 5k pace for the whole 10k. Simple. I will report back soon! Eeek!