Thursday, 11 May 2017

Race Report: PPRC 5k Summer Series Part 1

My first proper race! I can't quite remember how I came across this series, probably Facebook, but after I signed up I found out that my new friends Ke and M were taking part, so I'd have a nice group to hang out with before and after the race. The day before race day, though, I made a terrible mistake: going to the beach with my flatmates. It was only about 15C, but apparently that's too hot for my skin! The back of my neck, arms and legs were pretty scorched, but somehow my face was okay. Upon trying on my race shorts I found that the hem rubbed on the worst part of the sunburn, and for a moment I thought I'd either have to not run or struggle through in itchy, crispy agony. I applied copious amounts of Sudocrem and moisturiser and hoped for the best. 

Miraculously the Sudocrem did its job, and by the time we left the flat the burn had mostly healed (or had just become considerably numbed). Hurray for evening races! The race venue was at the same place as the parkrun start, so it was only a fifteen-minute walk away, and the BF and I jogged about half the distance to warm up. We registered and collected our race numbers, and just as we were attaching them Ke and M arrived. After they registered we gathered in the cafe with Kr, another runner from the EDS run last week, and chatted until we were called to the start for a race briefing. Unfortunately, there was a group of women near me talking all the way through the briefing and I couldn't hear a word the race director was saying, but I knew the vague route and I could always just follow the person ahead of me. 

The route followed the seafront along the cycle path that stretched alongside the main road, around the back of the civic centre, city library and residential area, around a small playpark and back again. I ran with M until just after the library where she stopped to walk but urged me to keep going. The first mile felt like I had gone out a bit fast and my garmin confirmed that the first split was 9:50 min/mi, quite a bit faster than my usual 10:30. I kept pushing with the hope that I could go sub 30 for the first time! 
I saw Ke coming the other way shortly after entering the residential area, and the BF as I entered the lap of the park. Running with people I know of different paces is a big motivator for me, as I can concentrate on trying to spot them rather than how tired I am! I lapped the playpark and started up the small hill, looking out for M and Kr on the way back. At the 2 mile mark I was getting pretty worried that I hadn't seen M, but she suddenly popped up beside me and started pushing the pace harder. 

The wind from a few days ago had caused the path past the library to be covered in sand, and by this point I was pretty tired, but I checked the garmin and saw that a sub 30 was still achievable if I pushed myself. The finish was in sight and only about a kilometer away. The downhill from the civic centre to the main road gave us a boost, and I felt pretty strong despite my shoulder being a passenger on the pain train. We approached the finishing straight and I felt that I still had some energy left, so picked up the pace to pick off a few runners in front of me. I stopped my watch and saw that I had a time of 31:25, which I was a bit disappointed with, until I noticed the course was a little too long at 3.2 miles. 

I met Ke and the BF in the crowd and had a look through my goody bag, which consisted of some vouchers for gym trial periods, half price beach volleyball court hire and some aloe vera gel which was ideal for my sunburn! We regrouped with M and Kr and got our free burgers and beers, and called the photographer over to take a group photo.

The Team!

I was pretty interested to see whether I has gone sub 30 for the actual 5km distance, so I connected my garmin to Strava as soon as we got home. I had achieved a PB by a looong way, but sub 30 wasn't to be quite yet :(

I only need to cut 14 seconds off my time! Sub 30 is definitely in sight, and I'll be so happy when I finally achieve it. 

A bit of a funny thing though: when I went to find my results online, they'd put me down on the men's results instead of the women's; someone remind me to get a name that isn't gender neutral! Otherwise it was an awesome race and I'm totally taking part in the next race of the series too.

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