Now three out of five race runs that I have entered this year have featured wind, rain and cold weather so I am now very much accustomed to it. In fact it is probably true to say that I would have struggled far more this year if all the runs had been in clear sunny (hot) weather - I very much function better in cool conditions, I am one of those people who in general has a warm constitution (I am a human radiator very often). So that it turned out the Swansea Bay 10k was my third race in cold rainy conditions didn't really bother me too much.
The preparation for the race in general went well, I got my race pack in good time and had all the arrangements for the day straight (travel, the kids, fuelling, kit and so on). The organisation of the event is just great as they have run the event there for many years and the arrangements run pretty much like clockwork - even in the bad weather. The immediate pre-race was marred by the death of our family dog on the Saturday night, he had a stroke and was euthanized as a kindness as he had lost so much quality of life to the condition. He was my first dog (though he was my wife's before I met her / them) and so I found it very difficult, as we all did. I will be at a loss for some time, and days will be very different without him around.
In the end I was running for the memory of our dog and I think he might have appreciated my effort if not my speed - he was a greyhound after all :-) I set off to hold a pace quicker than the Cardiff race two weeks ago, but not to go crazy and go too fast. It looked like being a bad headwind on the homeward half of the race so I didn't expect to negative split, and if anything resolved to run the first half hard knowing there would be a slowdown. The slowdown didn't come, and in fact I did manage a good negative split running the fastest mile of the race in the final mile.
During the run two people went past me just after the first two kilometers that I resolved to follow, they were talking between themselves so from that and their running style I reasoned they were on a schedule similar to my own target time. I was cheeky in using them a hare to chase, but I suppose I took a leaf from my greyhound friend and went with it. In the last two kilometers I could see they were flagging and pushed on beyond them. I looked up their times afterwards and we had identical times as they must have been a little way behind me in the start area.
The Swansea Bay 10k proved to be my best 10k race thus far, I managed a small personal best beating my old officially measured time by 4 seconds! My time was 51min 32secs - I will go under 50min at some point I can feel it. I was very pleased with how my run went, how I approached the pacing and the strength I found over the last mile.
At the moment I am so very pleased with my bounce back from a difficult summer of illness, I feel like I am somewhere near where I was in the spring with pace and fitness. I am determined to stick with three intelligent runs a week as a basic week (one long, one pace, and one intevals), from what I read there are advocates for this sort of training and it will allow me to mix in other training (rowing and so forth). The work from here is to build a solid Winter base for Spring races and hopefully more PBs (PRs).
Next stop the Cardiff Half-marathon in less than three weeks time.