Sheffield 10k – A mental battle.

On Sunday I travelled back to my hometown of Sheffield and ran the ‘Jane Tomlinson Run for All 10k’. My Auntie signed me up as a Birthday gift which made it extra special, even more so as she ran it too.

In the build up to the race I struggled a fair bit in myself. My intrusive thoughts were regular and I still didn’t feel 100% after my chest infection. Even now, it would probably benefit me to rest for a few days but that’s not going to happen. I’ve recently had my meds increased and as a repercussion of this, I’m really struggling to sleep at night. My mind seems far too active and I’m finding it really difficult to switch off. I know how important sleep is so I’m probably subconsciously screwing myself over, it can happen at times.

I decided to try and straighten up my diet so I purchased a meal plan from my local health shop. It worked a treat as I lost 3lbs between Tues & Sat and felt much healthier in myself, however on the down side my anxiety was sky high – especially during the evening before. Maybe this is common? Maybe it was the pressure I was putting on myself? I knew what time I wanted and I was confident I could achieve it.

Finally, race day came around and it wasn’t just my amazing Auntie running the race with me. Two of my best mates got late registrations to support me aswell which gave me that extra boost.

I woke up around 07:30 feeling pretty nervous. The lads turned up around 8:00 which helped settled me a little & the excitement started to kick in. I was delighted my girlfriend was over in Sheff with me too. It would be the first time she’d see me race and knowing she’d be there at the start & finish was amazing. She puts up with a lot and I her owed this one. My Sister also came to support us, which was great for moral.

My goal when my Auntie initially signed me up was to run a sub 50 but my goal on race day was to sub 48. I felt strong and pretty confident after the Bristol half marathon. I knew I could comfortably run 5k splits, plus I was aware it was pretty much downhill from the 7 k mark. My plan was to get in to a good rhythm, run 5ish km splits and finish fast.

I set out a little faster in the beginning. I covered the first km in 4:34, second in 4:36 and the third in 4:43. I felt ok but the speed and conditions weren’t overly suited to my style. It was all a bit sharp and fast. I didn’t feel as good as I did in Bristol, which is mad as throughout the build up to that race, I’d literally lived off burgers and rubbish due to feeling so under the weather.

The race went to plan. The hills were a little steeper than I’d presumed but as I’d managed to cover the first 4k quicker than I thought I could, I’d given myself the opportunity time wise to take the 1k of hills steady, prior to upping the pace and returning for home.

I usually listen to music when I’m running as it helps me focus. I’d given it a miss on this occasion though as I’d anticipated one of my mates running with me. Unfortunately, as they’d entered the race late, they didn’t have as much time to prepare as I did so I ended up running ahead on my own after the first km. This also caused my mind to tick a little more. Without the distraction of music, my intrusive thoughts were running faster than I was and that added to the battle.

I finished well. I’d managed to run negative splits on the back 5 and came in at 45:58 with my girlfriend and sister cheering me on encouragingly at the finish line. It was extremely hard work out there but I’d done it! I ran 4:02 faster than my previous 10k PB which was a huge achievement.

I think now having had time to reflect on the race, it shows how far i’ve come. I somewhat agree with the saying ‘You can do whatever you want when you put your mind to it’, although I think my mind was on another planet throughout the whole of that race.