Race Review: North Tyneside 10k 2023

I’m in a bit of shock and still processing this one, really!

Bag drop for this point-to-point race has to be done and dusted a full 45 minutes before the race start, so I was up early and at the race start early in order to get my bag on the van. This meant a bit of hanging about, but gradually other folks from my running group started to arrive so there were lots of people to talk to. Last time I did the race, in October 2021, runners weren’t allowed to congregate inside the sports centre due to COVID restrictions – I’m so glad this has changed, because it was a chilly morning and I was cold after putting all my warm stuff away in the bag!

I hoped to average 10:30-minute miles, as that’s the faster end of the pace I’ve been doing with the group recently. The aim was to get well under 1:10:00 and close to my PB, as on paper that was the expected result based on my recent training. However, none of my races were as they should have been on paper last year, so I was incredibly nervous (see yesterday’s blog post). I felt a brief spondylitis twinge on my left side as we were walking to the start line, which didn’t help! But the calm side of my brain reminded me that these twinges while doing warm-up walks hadn’t continued into my runs recently.

First mile was 9:54. Too fast! I managed to settle into a more sensible pace after that, probably helped by the big hills in mile 2. One of my major worries was just not being able to find the speed on the day, but the race atmosphere was a huge motivator, as were my race shoes (Saucony Endorphin Speed; I only ever wear them for faster efforts).

North Tyneside 10k
With one of the many North Tyneside lighthouses in the background. Photo from Coastal Portraits by John Fatkin.

Issues that cropped up during the run:

  • That weird shoulder stitch (which tends to happen if I’ve eaten less than 12 hours before the run)
  • The beginnings of an actual stitch that didn’t quite develop into a full-blown one (ditto)
  • My standard-issue foot pain (I’ve accepted that this is inevitable in the later stages of a race when I wear my speedy race shoes, as they’re not wide enough for my mile-wide flippers; I can put up with it for distances up to 10k, as the extra speed they give me is more than enough of a tradeoff)

Issues that did not crop up during the run:

  • Anything spondylitis-related. Score!

Running at under 10:30-minute mile pace (10:24-minute mile average pace, to be precise) for 10k was definitely a harder effort than I’m used to at the moment, but it was manageable. I did think from my on-the-spot maths during the race that I might be on for a PB, but it wasn’t quite to be. However, I was only 26 seconds slower than my PB (1:05:07 today), and prior to the race I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near it – so I can’t be anything other than thrilled. Training has not been at all ideal for the last few months, so I’m hopeful I’ve still got a bit of room for improvement in the 10k. I still want that sub-hour one day and I still believe I can do it in the right circumstances.

A few more 10ks booked for this spring/summer. Fingers crossed I might see that improvement soon.

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