Happy New Year! Serpentine 10K Race

That was 2013. Phew! Done and done. Can’t say I’m sad to see it go, a very mixed bag. A few wonderful memories; my niece, Ayla Rose, arrived on Valentine’s day (miracle baby), and we celebrated our first year of wedded bliss (twice -once in Jo’burg and again in London).  
Also there was Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. I had the pleasure of reading Life After Life  by the inimitable Kate Atkinson which is, by far and away, my top read of 2013, and in my Top 5 Books ever (it’s that good, read it now)
In my lycra life, I finally found the nerve to join Run Dem Crew, which has had a hugely positive effect on my running, and introduced me to a number of pretty awesome people too. 
Which is how I found myself with a place in the Serpentine New Year’s Day 10K race. This sounded like a great idea seeing I was playing hermit on NYE, so would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a race on New Year’s Day. I had not taken into account the following
  • I would be floored by the dreaded lurgy for a whole two weeks over Christmas that left me feeling bleak even after the worst had passed
  • The additional mince pies, quality street and cheese (mmm cheese) had resulted in an additional 5 pounds to haul around. Worth every ounce, I am not complaining, just stating a fact. 
  • The weather would be totally, and completely, miserable. Wind, rain, side wind, icy rain, all of the wind and all of the rain. All the time
But the thought of brand new race bling, on the first day of a brand new year was very tempting, and by the time I got my trainers on at the very reasonable hour of 10am, I thought I may as well head up to Hyde Park and give it a go. 
For such a dreary day there was a very decent turn out (they had around 800 places, race results have the finishers at 580), the registration was swift and pain free, and the race started just about on time (11:04 – not bad going given the conditions) 
The first 2kms where congested given the mud and puddles, (or small lakes) that appeared along the route. My shoes and socks were soaked through within about 5 minutes of running. And there were nice muddy trails for added squish. But after around 3km the faster runners had pulled out in front and the course started to clear. 
As per usual I started far too quickly. I need to stop doing this, I hit 4km and wanted to go and have a little lie down. Classic me. I know if I start out a little slower I’d reserve my energy and keep a more steady even pace, but somehow I forget this when the gun goes! So 4km to 5km was horrid, and became more so as we turned left down The Broadwalk, a lovely decline sponsored by biting icy rain in the face and a headwind from hell. Nasty. And we get to do this twice as it the first of a loop around Kensington Gardens (the square bit on the map below) . Great. 
The Course, with loop de looping included (the square bit)

Thankfully after 6km, having given myself a proper talking too, the race picked up. I gritted my teeth through the windy bits, and although I couldn’t quite find the additional oomph that I needed to get my pace back where I wanted it, I didn’t collapse under a bench and wait for everyone to go home either.

In fact, by the time I got to 9km I thought I might just beat my last PB. Sod the wind, I thought I’d give it a bash. Heading under the bridge and coming out by the Serpentine, my energy stores fizzled (thanks lurgy) and although I managed a stronger finish, I missed setting a new PB by 15 seconds. GAH

BLING! First one of 2014. Oh and my lovely manicure

All in all though I am pretty pleased with my effort bearing in mind my lack of any recent, viable training and the devil weather. Medals collected, times received (so quick! very impressed), I grabbed a coffee with a new running pal that I had met while registering (we both needed cake) and laughed about how mad we where to have gotten out of bed that morning. Running nutters. Got to love them.

That just left me to get my drowned-rat-looking self home. Even the dry clothes I brought along got pretty soaked on the way back to my flat. And thanks to wind, rain, sweat etc, my hair looked like this. Two de-tangling brushes, leave in conditioner and a few tears later, I managed to get it looking mildly human and less wildling. I almost had to get the scissors out.

Knotting Hell 

Vanity aside, it was a brilliant way to welcome in 2014. I ran a race, got a medal, made some friends, drank some coffee, had some cake, jumped in puddles. Got really muddy. Not bad for a Wednesday.

All this bodes well for my next race on Sunday (Regent’s Park 10K) in which I need to make peace with my hatred for lap courses. This one loops Regent’s Park THREE TIMES. So boring. But apparently a great course to PB *fingers crossed*

Happy New Year everyone, hope there’s more where that came from!

My shoes, in the recovery position

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