July 9th 2017
Today I won the Gloucester 10k (kinda). Every year my work enters the Gloucester 10k Corporate Challenge, and for the last three years they’ve won it. You get to enter teams of 5, and the average time of the quickest 4 runners is taken, and the team with the fastest average time wins. My company entered 4 teams, and I was in the ‘fast’ team.
And we won!
I didn’t, however, contribute to that victory in any way. If I hadn’t’ve turned up we still would’ve won. Because you just take the fastest four runners, the fifth runner in the team is just there in case one of the other four collapses or something – not so that they can pick them up off the ground, but so that the team will still have four finishers.
So in my team, I was the guy at the back whose time didn’t count. Luckily.
I didn’t run a good race. It was a very hot morning, and I kinda hit a wall at around 7km. I ran the first half at or around my target pace, but dropped off massively after that. I was trying to keep with the two members of my team that were in my sight, but I slowly lost one, and then the other.
I think partly that comes down to race experience, and partly to mental toughness.
One of the team that beat me (annoyingly, the same guy that repeatedly beat me at Connect Four on Friday night, you might remember) isn’t a faster runner than me, he’s just a smarter runner. He knew that if he went off quick that I would try and keep up with him, and he knew that I’d feel it more in the second half than he would. So, he ran a quick first 5km, and then allowed himself to slow down a bit when he was out of my sight. Smart.
Knowing that he was doing that, I should’ve just ran my own race and paced myself more appropriately. I’ll learn.
Despite my failures, our team won overall, and we came first in the Corporate Challenge. Go team.
I discovered an annoying thing about running today.
When we’d all finished and congregated after the race, obviously people were exchanging times, and asking how eachother got on. This conversation is annoying:
Someone: “How did you get on?”
Someone: “Oh that’s great well done!”
Because it’s not great, not to me at least. It probably is to that someone – who happens to be a 55-minute kinda guy – but I finished that race really disappointed. Perhaps they’re just being polite, perhaps they’re actually impressed, but I think I’d prefer someone say “Oh that’s pretty shit.”
I’ve spoken about this before, how when I run (and in life in general) I don’t compare myself to those behind me, I compare myself to those ahead of me. Some people took 90 minutes to finish that 10k (thankfully no-one on our team) so compared to them, I had a good race. But I don’t compare myself to them, I compare myself to people that are better than me. And most importantly I compare myself to myself. I know I can run a better race than that. I have run a better race than that.
Until tomorrow, it just wasn’t my day.