As I write this I do not even know if I will be running the Vitality London 10K. On Thursday I took a spill down 4 stairs and my left ankle buckled under me and popped.
The noise was more scary than the fall. However, unlike the time I multiply fractured my right in 1993, it did not swell, it did not turn blue, and it did not balloon to a point I could only wear one of my housemate’s slippers (size 11s). I walked on it to work on Friday and, other than the time it was rested under my desk, I did not limp and the pain was more of a dull ache. Saturday included a walk into town and again no limping as I RICEd it.
Last night (Saturday night) though I could not sleep and my ankle was killing me, with the Achilles area really seizing up. Not good. And so this morning I bailed on the Vitality Westminster Mile, my first DNS since the Run with the Girls a week after Berlin marathon 2015, and binned the race bibs for both.
It is poignant that I mention Berlin, and you will see why. For today I have been down on myself. I have been resigned to missing both Wesminster Mile and my RUNNIVERSARY race the London 10K (formerly BUPA and now Vitality). To combat this sadness I booked myself on another race later in the year. Of course I did! Do you not know me by now? I am an impulsive fool. What did I book myself on? None other than the original marathon, the Authentic Athens marathon. Finishing and starting in the most amazing of places
And this will give me the chance for an end of year marathon PB as there is very little chance of one at Beachy Head the month before or at the Punk Run or Race to the King. So, to cheer myself up after resigning myself to missing both this weekend’s races, I extended my calendar and gave myself a PB potential race to finish the year on. Yay for American Express.
I went to lunch in town and the ankle felt fine. Fine enough to jog the last 50 yards home, even though in deck shoes which has changed my mind about tomorrow. And so I pulled the race bib out of the bin, and attached the timing chip to the laces of my shoes and prepared the race kit for tomorrow, just in case I feel better.
You see, back in 2013 my first full was supposed to be the 41st Berlin marathon but I had injured myself at the Shakespeare Half in Stratford upon Avon months before and so didn’t run. I travelled there though, as has paid for the hotel and the flights in advance and, as I watched the back of the pack plodding their way around in 6 hours I thought “I could have done that, I could have tried” and have regretted it since.
So tomorrow, unless I feel that I can’t even hobble around, that I would do myself more damage, then I will cast out the demon of Berlin 13 with London 2016. Here’s hoping.
The Big Day…
Was there any doubt that I would be doing this? Probably yes. I could have woken with my ankle inflamed and sore. But I didn’t and, after tea and a mars bar I walked the route, a tradition as it is on London 10K days, over Primrose Hill, through Regents Park and down past Bond Street to the Ritz and then into Green Park for the bag drop.
When You Get that Feeling….
It is not always “sexual healing”. I wore the London A-Z top and it has been quite popular online. A lot of people have asked me where I got it. I wasn’t expecting those who saw it in real life to be taken quite so aback by it. It started in the pen as we were waiting for the off. Someone touched my lower back. I turned to a couple fingering the part of the vest where the map was their hood. I was glad they didn’t live any further south. A little later, after I had moved a poke under my shoulder blade and a guy was apologising for trying to locate his house. And this happened a lot, all the way to KM8 when a guy poked me to give my shirt the thumbs up. I highly recommend it if you want to meet new people as even as I waited for the timing chip to be removed from my laces I was getting looked at and pointed at. Not advised for the paranoid.
And to the race…
Same old same old. Bag drop in Green Park, start pens with our back to Buckingham Palace facing Admiralty Arch then up and along the Strand, onto Fleet St by the Royal Courts and Kings College, up and onto Holborn viaduct, down onto Cheapside by St Pauls, back behind Bank of England near the Guildhall, then along to Bank and back again.
Basically the route of the BUPA London, Winter Run and (spits) British 10K since the cycle super highway fucked up the Victoria Embankment.
How I did?
I was overly focused on my ankle. Even on the walk down I would jog for a few yards and then focus on the sensation. Was it breaking? Was I making it worse? Will this screw up the rest of my year? So when we actually started, after the touchy feely moments with my vest, I was concerned.
Given the success of the Run/Walk method a week before at Copenhagen Marathon I planned to do the same but the sheer volume of people and a few bottlenecks meant I couldn’t slow down and instead ran a cautiously paced 10K. My KTape held and I am still okay a few hours later. In the end sacrificing the Westminster Mile worked. That extra day of rest and the removal of 6 minutes of Bat Outta Hell sprinting from the calendar meant all was fine with me.
Nowhere near a PB, over 5 mins slower in fact as it was 55:04, which I am very happy with considering I wasn’t planning to run at all, and I even sped up for the last 400 metres to almost a run.
The Bling and the Switch to Vitality from BUPA
Ok, the bling first.
I prefer the back view (steady). This is the back and it shows the route. It shows Vitality in larger font than the city of London, unlike the slightly more plain and to the point front. It isn’t terrible and the square shape sets it apart from the previous four years I ran this race under the guise of the BUPA London 10K.
What else? Well nothing really, it was the same organisers as the BUPA and therefore if it ain’t broken there’s no need to fix it. Great bag drop. No issues for me there. I didn’t need the water tables, although they were there. And the tee is, as we all agree, finally one you can run and train in. It is also spelled right (taking note NIKE Europe?).
Met up with the crowd, including a few I had only chatted to online. That was good and a few pints were gladly supped.
I will check for the obligatory race photos over the next few days. We shall see.
How can I not be happy with that? My 106th medal in exactly 4 years of racing and the fifth running of my anniversary race. And all this a week after the Copenhagen marathon and 4 days after injuring my ankle.
Would I recommend the Vitality London 10K? Absolutely. The opportunities to run in this part of London are few and far between. And this one is special.
Would I run it again? Never say never but I am done with 10Ks after the RAF Museum race in September, and done with halves after Bacchus. Not next year as I will be running 12 in 12 and nothing else. Maybe 2018 in my MDS year?
SHREWSBURY (wherever that is?) HALF