Sunday, November 15, 2015

Leeds Abbey Dash 10k 2015

This is the first race blog that I have written for over a year.  Since my last blog in September 2014, my life has been on a roller coaster ride with many sad times and some very happy ones too. I got married to my wonderful partner Zoe but also lost my dear mum to cancer.  Running took a back seat for a while during my mums illness and treatment, she sadly passed away in May. I was very close to my mum as she was both parents to me due to an absent father, so it was an incredibly emotional time. My wife and my sister were both amazing support to me and I am very grateful to them both.

Then slowly but surely running came back into my life and has proved a great source of comfort and pleasure. Zoe and I have recently become members of the Driffield Striders running club. Zoe used to be a member previously and we know many of the Striders already. In fact we first met at one of the Striders Tuesday night runs back in October 2009.  I was a member of the Pacific Road Runners in Vancouver and missed the camaraderie and social side of a club.  The Striders also run speed sessions and participate in the East Yorkshire Cross Country league through the winter months. Nothing quite like bombing around muddy fields to get the heart pumping.

Zoe's had a stellar year of running.  Getting placed in her age category in virtually every race that she's run.  PB's, prizes and accolades galore.  She's been pushing me hard and keeping me honest.  So we travelled to the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k with high hopes of a good race. We ran this race back in 2013 and knew that it has PB potential.

The drive to Leeds proved quite stressful as we followed the wrong directions, printed out in a hurry that morning.  We ended up in Morley near to Leeds and it looked like we were going to miss the start.  Tensions were high as we frantically drove the few miles in the right direction and parked up.  We got to the start line with just 5 minutes to spare!

The day was very windy and wet but luckily the weather seemed to clear when we toed the start line along with 9,000 other runners. Then we were off and soon settled into a good pace, surrounded by other runners going well.  The first few miles passed, Zoe and I ran together at approx. 6min 25secs/mile pace.  Could we maintain it for the rest of the race?

The halfway turnaround point came and we headed for home.  I had lost sight of Zoe and hoped that she was close behind still.  After mile 4 came, it was getting tough but with only 2 miles to go, I gritted my teeth and drove on.  With such a large field, I was still surrounded by other runners all going for it and this helped, a camaraderie of warriors charging for the finish.

Finally the finish line was in sight. I hadn't looked at my watch for the past few miles, I just focused on running as fast as I could. As I crossed the line, I stopped my Garmin but didn't look at first.  I wanted to recover from the pain for a few seconds as I felt crap.  I had pushed really hard.  I glanced behind me to see Zoe crossing the finish line too. Brilliant!

As we walked away from the finishing area, I finally looked at my watch to see 40mins 58secs.  I was delighted as it was a PB and my first time under 41 minutes.  Zoe also ran a PB time of 41mins 11secs. Then I suddenly felt sick and threw up.  I should have known that the sausage and egg McMuffin that I had eaten on the drive to Leeds was a bad idea.

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