Sunday, December 22, 2013

Aranjuez 10K Race Report

Considering that this was the 30th edition of the race, there could at least have been toilet paper available in the toilets but at least I came prepared. I hadn't come to Aranjuez to appreciate the historic significance of the town or indeed its beauty: my aim was to run 10K in under 36 minutes.

The start was also a bit of a cock-up - we were given the "go" before being called back again. In the process my shoe came off my heel and I was worried we'd be set off again and I'd have to opt out of the race to sort myself out. In the end, after some shuffling about, we were given another count down from 10 seconds and we were off...

After running Marathons, 10K races seem horribly hectic to me. I wanted to stop after a kilometre, one which was quite fraught and yet there seemed to be an unfeasibly large number of people ahead of me. In spite of that, I reached the first kilometre balloon in 3:23, more than 10 seconds ahead of my planned pace. The next few kilometres were right on the money, so those 10 seconds stayed in the bank. I remember hoping I'd trip over a stone or that my shoes would fall to pieces or something - any external "fuerza mayor" excuse to stop this suffering. But, at the same time, I was conscious that it was a level of discomfort I knew I could withstand until the finish line and I also knew that there was no way I was going to pull out and tell my kids (who had come to watch me run) as well as my work colleagues (who were also running) that I couldn't be bothered to make it until the finish line.

I got halfway in a Personal Best time of 17:43 for 5K, which boded well for a sub-36 finish. Still, I knew that it'd be tight. I saw my family waiting for me and heard my eldest shout "not far now!". Thank goodness for the slight downhill (not counting a small "repecho") in the last few kilometres - the sums were still working out in my favour. With one kilometre to go, I calculated that I had little margin and that I'd have to pull out all the stops if I wanted to be able to say I could run 10K in 35-something. I could see the clock marching on relentlessly and realised I couldn't afford to let up: a last minute sprint for the line and my prize of 35:48. It was hard but not so hard that with a bit of extra motivation I won't be able to break it again. I didn't know it at the time, because I was so focussed on getting to the line on time, but my wife told me later that my eldest was very excited to see his dad only just achieving his goal.

A perfect end to a very satisfying year of running results and a challenging but not too daunting gauntlet for next year. My friend Manolo (who picked up my race number for me - thanks!) broke 40 minutes for the first time - so he was very happy - and my other friend Dani, with whom we enjoyed a fantastic lunch afterwards, also got a best time albeit a slightly frustrating 42:01 (as is any time that is just over a minute mark).

Now all that is left is San Silvestre which I can now happily run with my wife, with no pressure for my work is done here.

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