Great Manchester Run 2012

It’s my third year running in Manchester and I have to say, this is my favourite 10k. True, it’s expensive, but it’s also very well organised, flat as a pancake and simply huge with 40,000 runners this year!

This is the biggest 10k in the UK. They close Manchester city centre down for the event and build a temporary running track down Deansgate for the Great City Games in the afternoon too. It’s on TV and this year the field included three of the fastest runners on earth; the marathon world record holder Makau, winner of this year’s London marathon Kebede and of course four time Great Manchester winner Gebreselassie who met at the line waiting for the gun. I was about 6 feet behind them. Until the gun went of course when they left me for dust!

I’d got myself to a place where I thought I could get close to my PB today (set in the very same event last year) of 41:02. Conditions were good, but to be fair the only practice I’ve had at racing 10k since a year ago was three days ago! This was always going to be a challenge, but there was a possibility I’d get close.

I started near the front of the ‘normal’ runners pen, we all surged forward to stand behind the fast club runners about 30 seconds before the gun. Bang! We’re off!

I know this course. I know it’s flat. I know what pace I can run for a marathon. What I don’t know is what I’m capable of today at this distance, that really is another matter so we’ll see. I’d decided to use my heart rate as a guide and run accordingly. Allegedly 87-91% of your max heart rate is where you want to be for a 10k. My max HR should be about 186, but the finish on Thursday proved not as it peaked at 192. So low 180’s is about right for today.

Shame I ran high 180’s for most of the first four miles. I’d set my ideal pace at 6:34/mile as that gets me in near as damn it 41:02. Shave a couple of seconds off and I’ll be very happy. It wasn’t to be today though. I could tell it was a stretch too far for me right now, even without watching the heart rate hover around 189 for most of the run!

It was a fairly warm day. By 5 miles I knew I was well off my PB and have all but given up. The thought of the marathon next weekend was weighing on my mind and I figured I’d ease back a bit and crossed the line in a respectable, but a little disappointing 42:20.

Not bad, but not as good as I expected to do. I’ll be targeting a 10k in the summer to push that time down some I think. Maybe late summer after some proper preparation…

Edinburgh next weekend then.

And rest.

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