You might think a sunny day is great for road racing, but let’s be honest: it’s not. Give me 10C/50F and cloudy over 20C/68F and sunny any day — the latter were this morning’s conditions for the Hornsey YMCA / Crouch End 10k. Maybe if the weather had already been this warm for weeks it would’ve been fine, but the warmth snuck up on us and this has been the hottest day of the year. That meant almost none of us were acclimatized to the temperature — not to mention the sun — and so the race felt a lot harder than it might have if it had been cooler.
That said, the sun makes for a great atmosphere and bright moods all around. After participating in many races over the past year that have consisted of 90% club runners, it was refreshing and fun to run a race where the tables were turned: probably 80% of participants did not belong to a club and were running this as a one-off and/or to raise money and/or to support the Crouch End community. There were over 1200 finishers — a fantastic turnout. Heathsiders were out in force — this being one of our “home” races that we helped organize and marshal (I spent two hours on Saturday morning stapling arrows to trees and putting up kilometer markers) — and there was even a small group running to represent my chorus.
Now to the race itself, with a few personal qualifiers: I had modest goals for myself, since I’ve run more than 10k only twice since getting injured in January. I knew the distance would be tough both for my knee and my endurance, based on the low running volume. Surprisingly, however, my lower body felt pretty good for the whole race — my knee was only a little bit sore by the end ((hooray!).
But did I mention the other factor? It. Was. Hot. I stupidly didn’t wear sunglasses (never making that mistake again), though I had remembered to put on sunscreen. The heat went right to my head, and though my legs felt fine throughout the race, my brain felt overheated, which led me to run a bit more conservatively — especially in the last 4km — that I might have, especially after seeing quite a few runners who dropped out because of the heat. I grabbed water at all four stops, which I never do in races shorter than 10 miles.
Fortunately, Jo and I ran together for the whole race, trading off small leads and helping each other along. We had some brief contact with Caroline B. before she took off and beat us by almost 3 minutes; Caroline W. also had a great race and finished a minute ahead of us. My splits were all over the place — my pace definitely dipped on the gradual uphill sections, so I tried to make up time on the downhills. I ended up finishing the 10km (6.2mi) race in 48:16 (7:47/mile = 4:49/km), well off my PR/PB but right around where I’d hoped to finish based on how my training has gone. I finished 212th/1236, the 27th woman of 549 and the 6th Heathside woman of 23 running.
Well done to everyone who ran today, especially the CEFCers and Heathsiders. Special props to Heathsiders Cathy and Rebecca for going 1-2 in the women’s race and to Tom for winning the men’s race!