After a year off racing, The Chew Valley 10k was my first official race, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
After a 5:30am start with the sun seeping through the curtains and my alarm pinging, I did actually leap out of bed a bit like a child on Christmas day morning! A mixture of nerves and excitement came over me so I chilled out to the radio… probably waking the neighbours as it was a bit loud! Si and Si arrived at 7:15 (after carbing up on gin the day before!), and we promptly left after google mapping race HQ! En route we left Cheddar and went up onto the Mendips where is was much chillier and very foggy…we wondered at one point if we could see our hands in front of our face then decided that maybe it was a positive that we might not see the hill!! Parking was easy…in the farmers field only a short way from race HQ. When we arrived at base, there were lots of stalls including a BBQ and cakes – we were eyeing these up for after – something to look forward to! Baggage area was easy and instant access…no long cues, (always a bonus!). Si Walsh and I decided that at 8:30am we would do a 2 mile warm up whilst waiting for the rest of the Cheddar Crew. When we got back they had all arrived and we made our way to the starting pens.
I started in the 40-50 mins pen with some of the other crew to, including Lee who I had asked to pace me. After a short introduction to the race etc via mircrophones… we were off….I shot off leaving the others behind thinking they would catch me up, the 1st 2 miles were fast and flat and I had the biggest smile on my red and very wet face… then at mile 3 I hit ‘the hill’, and I shouldn’t have looked up as it filled me with dread! I was determined to keep going and not walk it… my quads were burning but everyone else was running it so I put my head down and got on with it. However I didn’t realise there were more inclines after getting to the top of ‘the hill’, a couple of runners ran past me looking far too fresh so I pushed on trying to get my pace back on track…it improved but wasn’t where I wanted it to be as my legs were like lead… it improved on the downhill stretch… my quickest mile…my legs just ran as fast as they could and not head was struggling to keep up…Im surprised I didn’t end up in a hedge but I knew one of the cheddar crew behind me would pull me out! The last 0.2 of a mile was on a cheeky incline but after the downhill section I had re gained some of my energy and it was head down to the finish line…I vagely remember Jenny, Nikki and Jo shouting at me at this point! I could see the big finish line ahead and everything seemed to be a blur as I was so focused on the line…I dapped my watch over the chip line and came in 1st for Cheddar in 46:22. Very very pleased with that considering how undulating and hilly it was for road 10k. The rest of the Cheddar crew came in looking really strong…back at HQ we all enjoyed our BBQ and cake and Sarah Neild won her category, Paula completed her 1st 10k road race, Gill who is just amazing for over 70 too so there were celebrations all round. We all had our photo taken for the mendip times too.