Chew Valley 10K 2019

I ran my local 10K race yesterday, the CV10K. It’s a notoriously challenging course with a monster hill of around 100 metres of steep ascent at the halfway point, followed by more undulating terrain and then a steep descent to the finish line.

My PB was 41:12 from 2017 which was good enough back then for 21st place. Each year there are usually 10 people under 40 minutes out of 1000 entrants which says a lot about the difficulty of the course. My goal this year was to go under 40 mins and finish within the top 10. I’d run a couple of flat 37-38 minute 10K’s this year so I hoped it was achievable.

I arrived at the start line about 15 minutes early feeling well prepared. I was the only person in the sub-40 pen for about five minutes while the whole rest of the Chew Valley walked past making funny jokes. Talk about putting yourself under pressure in your own back yard!

Fortunately a few others soon joined me, including a few elite runners who’d travelled two hours to get there. The top 10 goal started to feel a bit more challenging. I focussed on my sub-40 goal.

My target was to arrive at the foot of Coley Hill at the halfway point an average pace of 3:50/km. I was bang on time and feeling fairly fresh in 9th place. I took the hill nice and steady, still remembering 2017 where I’d gone deep into the red on “The Hill” and really suffered (and then slowed down for the final few kilometres). I overtook one runner just before the top.

At the top my average pace had dropped significantly to 4:05/km which stressed me out a bit. It felt like too much to recover. Especially as the next 2km were very undulating. I pushed on, trying to maintain a decent pace but was really starting to hurt on each rise.

I arrived at 8km with my average speed at 4:04/km. Fortunately the final 2km is mostly downhill so I just threw myself down it, much to the angry protestations in my quads! I started to worry they might cramp up. I knew walking later on was going to hurt! By the bottom of the hill and with 500 metres to go I looked at my watch which said 3:59/km average. Success and time to just enjoy the rest of the race and the loud support from the streets. Or so I thought!

Someone shouted at me to say I was in 8th. But after I’d passed the clapping continued. That’s weird, I thought. There was nobody behind me at the top of the descent. I glanced over my shoulder to see two runners closing in. I’m not normally one for aggressive, competitive finishes. I’m normally too tired to have saved anything for a sprint finish. But I dug in and really attacked. I saw a sign saying 400 metres. After what seemed like an age I turned a corner expecting to see the finish line … and saw a sign saying 200 metres! WTF!!

I pushed on, but also glanced back and saw I’d put a bit of distance back into my followers. This somewhat eased the pain. Not long after I saw the line and sprinted over it for 8th place in a time of 39:40.

I stuck around at the line chatting to other runners for a while. And then hobbled back to HQ to meet my wife and kids for the 1K fun run!

My 5 year old daughter did a fantastic job on the 1K. She kept going for the whole two laps without stopping, even saying after that she’d started to feel tired but didn’t want to stop. My 2 year old jogged a little, walked a little and then got on my shoulders. We did one lap, getting lapped by my daughter and ending up in last place! As they say, you’re only as good as your last race!!

Chew Valley 10K. Great day out for the family. We’ll be back next year

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