It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a running diary entry. Life has been hectic due to the girls and their dancing competition which spanned two weekends. My endurance training was sure put to the test – who knew sitting down for hours on end could be so exhausting. Anyway, I’m back with my first ever race review – the Thirsk 10, which I took part in earlier today.
I almost didn’t run it
Although I’ve been running a lot lately, getting in over 200 miles in the first two months of 2019, I wasn’t necessarily ‘race ready’. Fortunately, I had put in a couple of 10 miles runs recently so when Helen announced she’d entered me into the Thirsk 10 I did at least know I was capable of the distance in my current condition.
However, my body decided to remind me of the fine line between being fit and being sidelined with an injury. I was out for a run on Tuesday evening and I was feeling pains in 4 separate places. I mean, one injury is bad enough – but 4 is just not funny.
My left Achilles was hurting for no apparent reason – I certainly don’t remember doing anything to hurt it. Both my knees were playing up, but this is nothing new to someone who has had his fair share of knee injuries over the years. My biggest worry though was my right hip.
The troublesome sartorious
So the pain I was getting was in my sartorious muscle (or possible a tendon) at the front of the hip. Now, I’m no physio but that’s the Dr Google I can confirm that this muscle can indeed be aggravated and usually due to an issue in the knee. Isn’t human biomechanics amazing?
So, it would appear my dodgy right knee could be linked to the pain in my sartorious.
Thankfully, taking 4 days rest prior to today seemed to ease my troubles enough to allow me to run.
The Thirsk 10
The Thirsk 10 is a ten-mile road race that starts close to and finishes at the racecourse. The course is pretty much flat and that makes for a good time if you are chasing such a thing.
The race is organised by the Friends of Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers and they do a great job. As a race organiser myself I always appreciate the effort that it takes to put on events like this.
Living only 30 minutes drive from Thirsk and the race not starting until 10 am, I had no rush to get there. They have a huge field for parking opposite the entrance to the racecourse and the registration area. Despite the constant rain yesterday I was pleased to find the field quite firm and didn’t require the 4×4 mode on my SUV.
I didn’t know this was where you could park beforehand though. The race information simply said to follow the signs for the car park. But, I never saw a sign at all, so as I drove into Thirsk I just naturally headed for the racecourse.
I arrived at the registration desks at about 9.15 – it was packed. They adopt the system of runners finding their number on lists on the wall then you have to go to the relevant desk. This can cause a slightly chaotic scene and I am glad at my own even we have done away with this and now email entrants their number before race day.
With it being a racecourse they have plenty of toilets – though that didn’t stop there being a queue for the ladies (why is there always a queue for the ladies?).
There was a bag store, which can be handy, but as the car park was so close I chose to store my gear in the car instead. There was also a sportswear/running shoe/accessory stall that seemed to be doing a brisk trade in gloves and arm warmers! I resisted the temptation to buy anything.
The start of the race takes places about half a mile from the registration area on a quiet, closed country lane. Which hedges at either side it does a good job of hemming the runners in. With the previous day’s rain though there were some large puddles at the edges of the road and while we were still packed in and the field not yet spread out that did make for some jostling as people avoided getting their feet wet.
As I’ve said, the course is pretty much flat. It follows Newsham Road, a closed country road, for the first 3 miles, with the first water station coming not far before you take a left onto a busier A167. This isn’t closed and cars do get a bit impatient at times and zoom past a bit too quickly. It forces runners to really keep left and you need to be checking over your shoulder before overtaking anyone.
After a couple of miles on the A167 you take a left onto the busier A61. Again, not closed and cars do get too close and impatient. Marshals do remind you to keep left, as well as cheering you on. It doesn’t really bother me as I’m used to it from my training runs anyway, but I did hear a few runners grumbling.
The A61 brings you back to Thirsk, but not before an out-and-back to Sandhutton where you’ll find the second water station. As you arrive back at the racecourse you take a sharp left into the entrance the finish line is a few yards further in.
After crossing the finish line you go and get your finisher t-shirt – a rather nice yellow and blue combo. There’s also more water available if you need it.
For me, I would like to see a medal for a 10-mile race in addition to the t-shirt, but at just £18 (unattached) for entry, you can’t grumble really.
The mark of a good race is whether I would do it again. The fact that I live so close to this race aside, I would definitely do this one again. The distance is great and the flat course means you can push for that PB if you want to.
It’s well organised, in a superb location and benefits from good facilities at the racecourse too.
How did my race go
I put it out on Instagram while having my breakfast that I wanted to beat 75 minutes for the race. With no specific training for this race, I thought that was a challenging target. I wasn’t wrong.
I training in kilometres, not miles, and that’s how my watch is set-up. So, I knew to get under 75 minutes I needed to be doing about 4.6 min/km – that 7 and a half minutes miles. I hit the first mile marker on 7:25 and when I passed the two-mile marker my watch was just tripping over to 15 minutes. I was bang on course.
My injuries weren’t bothering me at this stage, but I decided to be cautious and keep this pace until 4 miles. When i reached that point my right knee was niggling and my right hip too (as their linked it was no surprise). But, I was just under 30 minutes so I was on target for the time I wanted.
I stuck to my game plan, not heroics or pushing too hard. I was racing nobody but myself. But, in a race, you always get a bit carried away when someone overtakes you and you feel like you have to up the pace.
By mile 8 I was still on course to get in under 75 minutes – just. I passed that post at 59:56 (ish) so two 7.5 minute miles would get me what I wanted.
I pushed a little harder in the last mile, I couldn’t help it. But, that did mean I got in comfortable under the 75-minute target I had set myself. I did the race in 1 hour 14 minutes and 16 seconds (according to my watch). I’d call that comfortable.
I have the Wakefield Hospice 10K next Sunday. Despite living close to this race for 10 years it’s once I’ve never done. It’d going to mean an early start for us all, that’s for sure, as it kicks off at 9am! I managed to get the first 10K of today’s race done in under 45 minutes, so with a bit of steady work this week I am hopeful of a PB.
Thanks for reading.