Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Sunderland 10k 2015

on 3 May 2015

Well, today was a stark contrast to the last 10km road race I did! Tyneside only a few weeks ago was blue skies and blazing sunshine, and today at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland it was bucketing it down with rain and I prefer not to think it could have been wetter or windier! Of course, now I’m sitting inside typing away at the computer the clouds have mostly cleared and the skies are blue with a gusty breeze…nice running weather – not too hot.

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J and I donned that runner’s bad weather favourite, the Bin Bag for our pre-race loitering and getting to the start line. We both obviously looked ridiculous – a little like a pair of bugs poking out of cocoons, or in my case possibly someone in a straight jacket heading for the loony bin…but we had a good giggle anyway πŸ˜‰ Probably if I hadn’t had it on, it would have been worse, but we were both still cold and wet before we’d even got to the stadium let alone the start line! Getting out of bed this morning was madness let alone trying to leave the house for an outdoor event!

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Much dawdling and shivering and hiding in bags was had, until finally the starting hooter went off and we tossed the bags aside and concentrated on not sloshing too much water into our trainers too soon, though in all honesty we’d had soggy feet since we first stepped out the car. I’ve not been to Sunderland before, and though I’ve now bimbled about some of it, passing shops, houses, the dockyard, the harbour, a park, and the seafront, I didn’t bother even attempting to wear my glasses with the amount of rain so it was all a little on the blurry side…and very grey! There was an impressive grey monster ship pulled in at the dockyards, and the waves at the harbour when we got down to Roker were impressive – they were even coming over the wall on one side! A very angry sea – noone on the beach or sea walls unsurprisingly and I was glad we weren’t going any closer. I can remember passing Roker Park after the sea front, very pretty it was too in a blustery kind of way. Looking at the map apparently we went round three sides of Mowbray Park as well but I really have no recollection of it at all…mind was obviously elsewhere at that stage…

The marshalls and charity cheerers were fab the whole way round – poor souls were standing in the cold and sopping wet but still managed to maintain good humour and encourage people on, it was a big help and there were plenty of them – you couldn’t get lost, even if blind as a bat like me! Just follow the next fluorescent yellow jacket and orange cones!

There were two races on today – the 10km we did and a half marathon route. The half marathon guys left half an hour after us, and only had the start and finish in common which is good if you’re normally one of the rear guard for the 10km. Nothing says ‘slow poke’ like the guys who’ve done twice the distance you have and started later overtaking you before you’ve got to the end! No sign of this today, and as J is always pleased by, we weren’t last. Apparently this is important! With 3500+ people across the two races I think we would have had to crawl to be last across the line!

We did finally make it over the finish line – after the dummy finish line…you had to go a few hundred metres further after crossing back across the start line to get to the finish, which was around a corner and out of sight, which threw a few people thinking it was over and done when it wasn’t! We then filtered round and into the stadium (the pitch looked really small?! I’m not a frequent visitor to football pitches but it looked like a massive back garden in size?!) to get our medals, finisher’s packs and t-shirts, well pleased with our time. 1hr17 – J’s record is 1hr12 on the very flat and non-headwindy route we often do from Wylam to Newburn, so for wet, windy conditions with hills to only add five minutes on is fantastic! This was also J’s first road race – and an excellent one to start on with so many people there to cheer on and chase – and no walking breaks for the whole thing!

The finishing pack contained many odd things I haven’t really figured out what to do with yet; shampoo, cold gel, rehydration drink mix, a sweatband and an iron supplement liquid gel thing called ‘Spatone’ – I’m not really sure whether I’m supposed to drink it or put it in the bath with a name like that! There was also a Rocky chocolate bar, but I knew what to do with that and devoured it as soon as I found it in the bag πŸ˜‰ I’ve never really tried gels and drink mixes and stuff…water and jelly babies or dextrose tablets have stood me fine so far, and they’re much cheaper! The shampoo I might actually use – my hair was a proper bird’s nest from the rain and wind by the end (see pic further down!) and it actually stayed that shape even after I’d removed the hairband before I sank into a well-earned bath! I’ve yet to garner the courage to drag a brush through it…

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After picking up our finisher’s pack we continued up the stands to get our t-shirts – which are really cool technical ones! And the medal is pretty cool too and has been added to my pride-of-place living room medal hanger. I did a clothes purge recently and several of my non-technical race reward shirts, and some of the technical ones, went into a black bag to help prevent me drowning every time I open the cupboard, but I think this one will stay πŸ˜‰

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We got changed out of our soaking wet running gear (which was a horrible experience – peeling soggy cold clothes off feels gross) and pulled in at the nearest McDonald’s for a well-earned, extremely high calorie burger and milkshake. I’d say we’re being calorie neutral exercisers but the way exercise translates into calories burnt we’d probably have worked off a carrot and a radish or something equally depressing. We’ll conveniently ignore that fact πŸ˜‰ We might have worked off a chip or two anyway.

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I had the heart monitor on again for this one – the longest trip I’ve tried it out on so far, and I’m not sure if I’ll bother with it again. I don’t know if it was the wet or just the monitor with the longer distance, but there were times when it was getting on my nerves a bit, and trying to re-adjust things under wet clothes is not nice. Most of the run however I did forget I was wearing it. I may try wearing it lower and see if it works around my waist or something. I don’t know if it will or not – one way to find out! Interestingly, my heartbeat was rock steady for most of the route – of the 1hr 17mins we were running for, a 1hr stretch of that had my heartbeat at 157bpm – just into the ‘race pace’ category. I don’t know if it’s normally like that and I get into a good balance when I’m running, or if it was just running at J’s militantly steady pace. The second table shows the amount of time I spent at each heartrate.

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Overall, weather excepting, I think we both enjoyed this race – definitely one to add to the race calendar for next year – as long as it promises not to chuck it down with rain all morning again!!!

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The GPX file for this race can be downloaded from Dropbox here:

GPX File Sunderland City 10k 2015

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