After my successful run at the Vitality 10k last month, I decided to join the Virgin Sport British 10k last Sunday to keep the momentum going. Actually, I watched the race last year after my morning run and it inspired me to join because apparently this annual event is within our neighbourhood. Besides, it is a beautiful route as it passes through some of the most iconic landmarks in London. I thought it would be a real shame if I didn't join this year. So, I sacrificed my monthly shopping money and paid £44 to join the race instead.
However, on the day of the race, I was having second thoughts because I wasn't 100% feeling well. Basically, I had diarrhoea early hours of the morning. Perhaps it was from the delectable fresh mushroom salad that I devoured the night before. I wasn't sure if it was worth taking the risk considering that the weather was predicted to be a record high of between 28-30 degrees centigrade. But I was also preoccupied and needed to clear my mind, so despite feeling doubtful, I made my way to the race.
The start pen in Piccadilly is about 20 minutes walk from our flat. When I got there, it was barely 0930 and the warm-up was still ongoing. I tend not to participate in warm-ups because I want to save my energy and er, my bladder from getting full from all the jumping and twisting- because I hate portaloos basically.Besides, I didn't want to disturb my tummy too much that day.
Anyway, the almost 30-minute wait to the start line was a bit annoying because I was already beginning to feel thirsty. Unfortunately, the closest drinking station was at 3km. By the time I started to run, it was almost 10am.
The first 2km took us along Regent Street (to almost Oxford Circus) then back to Piccadilly Circus down to Pall Mall. The route was confusing for me because there were at least 6 areas throughout the race whereby we had to turn around and take the same route back. I wasn't sure if I was meant to be motivated seeing other runners way behind me, but it slowed me down a little bit. I just never enjoyed running the same route in races to be honest. But regardless, the route was great as it was flat and well, it took us to the very heart of London. So, I shouldn't really be complaining.
At 5km, my face started feeling numb because of the heat. I knew at this point that I wasn't going to finish the race at my PB. It didn't help that I decided to run without any music on (for the first time ever) because apparently, there was entertainment at every kilometre. I actually had Keith's music on while I was still at the start pen doubting myself whether I could run the whole 10k or not because I was a little unwell. But as soon as his favourite song came on and I finished listening to it, I took my earphones away.
I saw some runners stopping and walking as early as 200 metres into the race, then more and more from 3km. Perhaps it was due the very hot weather. After 5km, I was convinced that the day wasn't even about achieving my PB anymore. It was all about finishing the race without stopping and collapsing. I thought the Vitality 10k was tough, but this race was tougher.
The crowd was not as enthusiastic as I thought, considering the route was Central London and we passed by many touristy spots. There were few high-fives which I enjoyed of course, but it was lacking the upbeat atmosphere that the Vitality 10k had, especially at the last few metres to the finish line.
More than anything else, I think it was the thought of Keith and seeing young spectators that kept me going. I didn't want to fail Keith and so I tried my very best to finish the race with a positive attitude. One of the kids who cheered me on offered me some sweets, which I gladly accepted.
It was around 6km when we finally reached the Embankment. My face was really burning, I had to slap myself a few times. I went under every water mist there was which I never did in my previous races. The only consolation I had at that point was the fact that I was running my normal route which only meant that I was close to finishing the race.
One of the bands played Despacito at 9km which was encouraging. It made me want to dance away to the finish line. I thought the finish line was in Trafalgar Square but it was actually in Whitehall, a few yards away from Downing Street.
It was a good finish I thought but I had no idea about my time because I didn't turn my running app on and I didn't get a text straight away unlike the Vitality 10k.
Despite the earlier challenges and despite running at a slower pace, I was still proud of myself for even finishing the race.
Just before I reached home, I received a text message congratulating me for finishing the Virgin 10k in 1 hour, 1 minute and 41 seconds. Not my PB, but what matters at the end of the day is the fact I completed the race with a huge smile on my face.
I hope to be able to run again next year, so watch this space.