Blue Runnings

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

Gateshead Trail 2015 – 10k

on 15 August 2015

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I don’t know why I bother with alarm clocks I really don’t. The Gateshead Trail kicked off at 10am, registration opening at 8am and knowing how busy it was last year even when I’d collected my number before raceday, I opted for getting there just after registration time to pick up my number so I’d set my alarm for early. I still woke up at 05:30 – a similar time to when I get up for work, and spent an hour in bed on the tablet before getting up for a shower. I took a book with me (to the race, not in the shower) and read it in the car for an hour after I’d picked up my number and t-shirt (pre-ordered with race entry, not a finisher’s pack one for this one) as it was still nippy outside. By not a huge amount of time after 9am it was already warming up and I was starting to cook even with the window down – I had a lightweight hoody on with the hood up to shade my face so my cheeks weren’t burning before I’d set off!

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I set off with a group of Bounders in the 60-70 minute wave but it wasn’t long before we all spaced out as we each settled into our own paces. Last time I did this race I’d not been running a huge amount of time and I remember being really pleased that I made it all the way to the 3km mark without a walking break – at the time this was a walk-free record for me, and actually as I passed the same marker this time I was tempted to do the same thing! Instead of just bailing and walking – that really would have been folding to just general lethargy, I made myself take a step down in the pace and use this race as a training exercise for keeping going for longer in the heat by not pushing myself as fast – or I probably wouldn’t have gotten round in one go as I did. Having run-walked it last year, I really wanted to run the whole thing this year, and knowing it’s mostly flat and I’ve covered the distance and further several times before I was not allowing any excuses not to!

I got a boost from the passing section where everyone waves and cheers on each other while they’re passing, but it wasn’t until somewhere between the 5 and 6km mark that I really started to find my groove and settle down into a quiet headspace where I didn’t have to fight with my legs, lungs or temperature. Of course, not long after that I hit the longest hill on the course and that nearly had me – I was determined to get as far up as I could even with some other runners dropping down to a walk halfway up and made it to the crest, but if it had been much longer I’m not sure I would have been able to!

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The last 3km were all in the shaded avenue of the Derwent Walk from the viaduct back to Blaydon Rugby Club and the finish line. I’d got water on my trainer from a thrown water bottle after the water station and this was making my sock rub on my toes for the last 2km, an irritation and possibly a problem if it had been for longer but not enough over that distance to be more than a slight distraction – not when I could almost smell the finish line!

There was a small group of Bounders cheering at the second to last corner before the finish and this helped push me round to a last big push for the end. Breaking into a sprint at the end of a race and really giving it everything you’ve got left in the tank to cross the finish line is an amazing feeling – coupled with the slight worry you might have broken into a sprint too far from the line and might collapse in a heap before you reach it! I find I’ve still got steam left for this on the 10k’s – but haven’t tried it on a longer one! It gives an oddly jelly springy sensation in my legs like if I don’t keep propelling forwards I’ll fall over and my concentration zone always shrinks to my immediate environs, but the shouts of “SPRINT FINISH” from the runners who’ve already finished standing around the last leg and the feeling like you’re flying along (god knows how fast it actually looks – probably not very but compared to a jog it feels suuuuper quick) is an amazing buzz that really stays with you afterwards.

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This has been a really good run for me for rekindling the embers somewhat – I really felt when I finished and even when I was driving home that I could go out and do another couple of miles, or at least tackle the housework with a degree of vigour. This was somewhat flattened by my lying on the bed for 2 seconds with the cat after I’d had a shower and promptly falling asleep for an hour. The cat didn’t mind and I obviously needed it. Can’t have it every which way!

Last year I ran this in 1:14:28, this year my chip time was 1:06:53 so I’ve knocked 7.5 minutes off my time 🙂 Slowing down a bit really helped in the heat with finding a level I didn’t boil at – I find it really demoralising as much as anything feeling like I have to stop not because I’m out of breath or my legs are lead, but because I may melt into a ball of smush if I don’t!

Campervan cash: Food – £3, Exercise – £3      Total: £6

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You can download the GPX file for this course from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX data on Dropbox

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