Running with the deers

Damien Clarkson and Aimee Harrison in GoodGym gear

Bushy Park by Hampton Court was to be the venue for my first 10k race. I met my friend and fellow Hackney GoodGym member Aimee bright and early at 7:30 in the morning. The weather for the race was set to be mild if slightly overcast, I decided to stick to my routine of fruit smoothies for breakfast to fuel myself.

For my race fuel I opted for a straightforward banana smoothie Durian Rider would approve of with 4 bananas. Hoping that the potassium would help keep me hydrated and the bananas as always provide plenty of good clean carbhoydates.

I had never been to Hampton Court before and I was delighted to discover the park has wild deers roaming and I found the scenery to be truly stunning. We dodged the pre race shower and set in the blazing sun, in fact it felt hot with temperature at around 17c.

Today was also the first time I wore my new Garmin Forerunner 210, I really enjoyed being able to monitor my average pace throughout the race. It made sure I kept things nice and consistent in previous runs I have been guilty letting my pace drop and not really realising until someone whizzes past me.

I set off pretty briskly with a first mile pace of 7:29 in my head I had my race strategy all planned out. It went something like this ; position somewhere around 50th place, run the first 5k in about 22/23 mins, then negative split and speed round the second half in around 21 mins picking off people as I go.

In fact I went round like this:

Bushy Park 10k splits
My time of 48:53 placed me in 59th place out of 197 finishers. I am fairly pleased with the result, I thought I would place somewhere in that region. The time was slightly slower than I hoped and I am a bit upset I didn’t negative split. There were a couple of factors which definitely contributed to this these were:

  • It was wet and a lot of running was on grass or muddy uneven trails. I definitely was struggling for footing several occasions
  • It was hot, probably the hottest weather we have had in a few weeks and humidity of 88%
  • I am stupidly inexperienced and again should have put the foot down earlier on

However the run was so enjoyable and two really heartwarming things happened during the race which just makes me love running even more. Firstly a part of the course at around 4km and 9km went through a narrow muddy trail surround by fern trees. As I passed through the trail I heard a rustling on my left, I looked over expecting to see a runner who overcooked it being sick instead a massive stagg deer reared his head from the ferns. It gave me and the guy behind me a bit of a shock but wow it was amazing. I don’t think I will forget that moment for as long as I run.

The second heartwarming thing was of a more human nature at about 5:40 miles a guy pulled over in front of me and let out some frustration. I had seen him start running again after stopping earlier, he could obviously run as he was ahead of me. I just gave him a pat on the back and a few words of encouragement urging him make it the half a mile to the finish.

At the end of the race he came over to me thanked me for my words of encouragement saying he overcooked and I helped him get through the end of the race. That was really nice and made my day. The more I run the more I discover the running community is filled with wonderful people.  Afterwards I went for a lovely post run coffee with Aimee and her Mum. Aimee who hasn’t eaten meat in a few months and is interested in going vegan, did brilliantly running a time of 50.23 in her first 10k race. We both felt on such a high after the race and are already plotting out next races.

Bushy Park

London Marathon

London Marathon

Well I am not going to lie I did feel blue on receiving my London Marathon ballot application rejection last week. In fact I felt the Smurf was quite mocking, I wasn’t a fan as a kid and certainly I am not now, I would have much preferred a Womble.

Seeing several friends getting ballot places made me realise how much I had set my heart on running this event. I know there are loads of great marathons out there but having been along to watch the London Marathon it clearly has a special atmosphere.

I live in London, studied in Greenwich and I am originally from the outskirts of south east London. So the streets the London marathon explores are places I have grown up around.

However slowly over the past couple of days I have started to feel less despondent. I been lucky to spend time with some great friends and family and spoken to other friends online and they have encouraged me to apply for a charity place.

My friends and family are the reason I have had my heart set on doing the London Marathon. I remember the huge lift seeing friends and family gave me when I struggled around my Royal Parks half marathon 3 years ago. So I think that is what I am going to do, I am going to try and get a charity place. My Dad died from Motor Neurone Disease in 2011 and running the London Marathon in front of friends and family and fundraising for that charity is something I am sure he would have been proud of me for doing.

Training in the last week has been varied and enjoyable. I have started preparing for the Capital Runners Bushy Park 10k on the 20th October. I am looking at definitely ducking under the 48 minute mark and I hopeful of perhaps ducking under 46 minutes.

My recent 10k runs have have seen me exploring the beautiful Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes. Discovering new parts of your local area has to be one of my favourite things about running. I would love to hear about the most amazing places you have discovered whilst running, please leave comments or tweet me.