Half the distance but did not feel any easier

I ran my first Wycombe 10K on 19 July, only the 2nd year of its inclusion with the main event, the half marathon. The shorter event was more attractive as I had planned to run the MK (summer) half marathon for a change this time and was scheduled for 26 July.

Set off at just before 6am (for the 9.30am start) as the combined public transport / cycle journey would take approaching 3 hours. Fortunately for the cycle leg from Leighton Buzzard to Aylesbury I had plenty of time so decided to take a part detour along parallel country lane to avoid the poor surface on the A418. The journey took just over the hour into a moderate headwind. Arrived at the venue as planned, the weather despite the onset of drizzle was in our favour.

Mentally I was approaching it as a 10K so started at a faster pace across the flat Rye. Unfortunately as I was confronted with the steep 250 feet climb onto the Chilterns my legs felt fairly weak / tired and slowed quite markedly in relation to the competitors around me, most probably running the half marathon. The cycle journey and possibly lack of hill training (running related) were the reasons for apparently dropping back. The second half of the climb was a lot better in terms of not losing many more places.

Despite the wake-up call, soon after reaching the top I seemed to recover quite quickly and return to my 10K pace. I steadily overtook many runners, not knowing if they were 10K or half marathon runners. As the 10K runners turned sharply left at about 5K, we were confronted with another sharp and tiring climb over the M40 thereafter descended very rapidly. It was too much for my legs, still recovering from the climb, etc. I could not relax as we descended hence lost some distance to the few competitors ahead. Strangely it was a relief to reach level ground again. Still feeling a little uncomfortable, I began to close on the runners ahead and overtake. Reaching the Rye at the far western end where we climbed the 250 feet, I had envisaged the half marathon route to the finish but the 10K course still had some additional distance to complete with a large loop before rejoining the half marathon course to the finish. I still felt like I had run a half marathon as I slowly walked back to the changing area. My time of just over 43 minutes was a little disappointing but not surprised given how I struggled on the hills.

Then I had the relaxation of seeing the half marathon runners finish and one male runner had obviously not done anywhere near enough training. At first I thought he was putting on some act of a drunken runner, leaning over and almost collapsing as he veered from side to side, other runners having to take avoiding action. Someone decided to give him a helping hand but he refused with 100 metres or so to go. I assume he got there without any further embarrassment.

The rain came down heavily for a time so, no problems with the heat that we normally anticipate. The heavy showers continued on the return cycle journey but luckily I had the wet weather gear handy.

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