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Alderley Edge Bypass 10k 2024 🏃🏻‍♀️❤️


⏱Time: 40:33

💕10th female out of 601

💥6th out of 181 in my age category

🏃🏻‍♀️87th out of 1,418 overall

 

Goooooood morning folks, and welcome to Cazza B's latest edition of… CRIPPLING DISAPPOINTMENT!

On this week’s episode, we feature the Alderley Edge Bypass 10k!


Right, let me start by stating that the actual race in itself was most definitely not a disappointment. Being a Run North West event, it was immaculately organised, bursting with lovely marshals, and vibrating with an atmosphere that reminded me that there's no better way to spend a Sunday morning. 🥰

The disappointment, however, came in the form of yet ANOTHER near-miss in my mission to bag myself a sub-40-minute 10k.

My God, I was so close this time, I could honestly weep.

 

So first off, everything that could have gone wrong before this race, DID.

 

1)     My trusty trainers split during my final prep run, meaning that I had to go into the race wearing brand new, unbroken shoes.

2)     Because my new shoes were tight due to a lack of wear, my arch support insoles wouldn’t fit, so I had to run without them. Hence, the agonising arch pain that has promptly followed suit. (…Tell me you're in your 30s without telling me you're in your 30s: I own arch support insoles! 👵🏻🤣)

3)     The weather was a bit on the warm side*. (*Read: molten).

4)     I had approximately 4.5 hours sleep the night before the race (too busy raving at Take That, wasn’t I?! 💃🏻)

5)     Anddddd to top it all off… ‘Mother Nature’ decided to make a VERY unwelcome appearance, literally an hour before the race. Crackin’.

 

Sorry gents, you might want to switch off for this next paragraph…

I can just about run through anything: stitches, migraines, Covid… Heck, I’ve even been known to run through injuries before (NOT recommended, btw 🙃). But the one thing I cannot run through is period pain. Exercising is always a complete write off on ‘day one’ – it’s simply too excruciating.

Those TV adverts that show girls gleefully figure skating through their periods… Nah. Smoke and mirrors, mate.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I couldn’t believe the unfortunate timing of it all. AN HOUR before the race.

I seriously debated pulling out of the event but, well, FOMO and all that.

The show must go on!


 My beautiful medal 🥰❤️


I miserably dosed up on paracetamol, shamelessly scoffed both halves of my Boost ‘duo’ bar, and tied a sopping wet cooling towel around my waist in a bid to ease my worsening pains.

Just to reiterate, I went out in public… with a cooling towel tied around my midriff. 🙃

I must have looked like some 90s footballer trying (and failing) to start a new trend but honestly, by this point, I was past caring.

My only ambition was to get round that course without having to stop and throw up through the intense stomach cramps, and then sulk my way home to eat alllllll the chocolate in the world, and ugly cry over videos of rocks with faces.

The REALLY frustrating thing is that I have never felt better in terms of my form.

I've been running 60k a week, with a half marathon every Saturday. Last week, I ran two half marathons in 24 hours.

This time last year, my comfortable, non-race pace was around 4:48 minutes per kilometre. Now, it’s closer to 4:20, and it feels effortless.

My confidence had grown in the weeks leading up to this race, and I really did think that I might have had a shot at sub-40.

 

I actually did a fairly comprehensive warm-up before the race too, which isn’t at all like me! Please don’t lecture me, because I know I’m dicing with death here, but I very rarely warm up. I’ll sometimes go for a few little trots up and down the road for all of about 2 minutes, and I might even do some half-arsed stretching if I’m feeling particularly cheeky, but usually, I just rock up and run.

One of my friends recently told me that I frustrate him for the following reasons:

1)     I never wear a watch when I run, I just trust the timing chip and pacers.

2)     I wear ‘lifestyle shoes’ rather than actual running shoes (to be fair, this is only because this particular model is the only shoe that's ever fully supported my high arch. I’ve tried Brooks, I’ve tried ASICS... Wasn't impressed. It's New Balance for life, for me.)

3)      I don't warm up, I don't cool down. Before races, I eat chocolate and go. After the race, I eat chocolate and go.

4) I'm not part of a club, so when people ask me about conditioning and strength and hill reps, I just stare at them blankly. Tbh, I have no idea what any of it means. I just lace up my lifestyle shoes and hope for the best. Probs why I'm still battling against that 40 minute barrier!


There she is, cooling towel around her waist 🤦🏻‍♀️🤣


It's safe to say that when it comes to running, I am the QUEEN of winging it! 🥴

But, I felt today was as good a day as any to actually take on board professional advice, so I set off for a steady 2.5k warm up jog. My main aim was to get my body used to the movement and hope that the worst of the stomach cramps were out of the way before I hit myself with the intensity of race pace.

Race HQ was held at Alderley Park, and the grounds are so beautiful. I really enjoyed my warm up, weaving around the labyrinth of pathways in between serene, stretching meadows dotted with lambs and spring flowers in the early morning sunshine. ☀️

During my warm up, I anxiously acknowledged the cramps, and the fact that I seemed to be overheating pretty quickly. At this point - with 20 minutes to go until kick off - I abolished all thoughts of sub-40 and prayed to God that I'd simply be able to get round without having to pull over. I pre-empted a finish time of around 43 minutes. Not ideal, but what could I do?

I gave myself a little pep talk before the countdown: ‘This race is not a reflection of my current form, and I can’t help things like the weather and period pains. I know I'm running well at the moment; I've already smashed my half marathon PB this year and got it down to 1:28. Even if I do finish in 43 minutes today, I must try to put it into perspective and not beat myself up about it. There will be other opportunities to run sub-40.'

Correct me if I'm wrong, but any runner will understand that ALL of the above sense fell on deaf ears.

We runners are a unique breed, aren’t we?! God, I could literally have a limb hanging off, and I’d still be like, ‘wonder if I could get a PB lol xox’ 🤦🏻‍♀️🤣


And then, just like that, it was 'go' time…

I took the first kilometre at a steady pace, constantly checking in with my body.

Miraculously, I felt okay!

As we edged onto the bypass, I started to relax.

To my amazement, I was struck with a sudden burst of energy. I wasn't going to sit back and let it go to waste, so I pushed into it, allowing my legs to gain traction across the tarmac. It felt so incredible.


Proof that I was ahead of the 40 minute pacer at some points during the race! 😱

Between about 3k and 6k, I was actually ahead of the 40-minute pacer, which has NEVER happened before, in any race! I was absolutely cruising! The pace wasn’t taking it out of me whatsoever, and I genuinely (heartbreakingly!!) thought I had this sub-40 malarkey in the bag.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how well everything was going, despite all that had been seemingly against me just half an hour before.

But, you know what they say: if things seem too good to be true, it's usually because they are... 


At around 6k, I started to fade. The heat suddenly ramped it up a notch, and every step felt like such a huge, massive effort.

Had I gone out too fast? Possibly. I must admit, it's not my usual tactic. Normally, I start off very slow and steady, and then gather momentum as the race progresses. Sadly, I was now experiencing the complete opposite.

I was really struggling to catch my breath, and my chest felt like it was swelling. I tried to gulp in the air and regulate my breathing but nothing was working. I knew that I needed to slow down or I was going to burn myself out.


Was that a giant bear at the side of the bypass…? Who knows.

Mentally, I started to tap out; my mind had totally gone by this point. I left it to my body to get through the rest of the course.


Reluctantly, I dropped my pace, and was beyond gutted when the 40 minute pacer sprinted past a few minutes later. 💔 Honestly could have cried.

I kept him in my eyeline all the way to the finish line, but I just couldn’t get back to him.

There was absolutely nothing I could have done. 😔

I did revive a little at around 9k, but by then, it was too late.

I crossed the line in 40:33, placing 10th female out of 601. 🤍

Mixed emotions at the finish line…


It was a bittersweet moment: while it wasn’t exactly a poor time, it certainly wasn’t the result I’d been hoping for. So near, yet so far… Again.

I’m so, so disappointed, but deep down, I know that I did the best I could, given the conditions.

It’s been challenging to rid my mind of those little niggly thoughts: ‘Just a couple of degrees cooler… Any other day, just not day one of your period… Perhaps a bit more sleep the night before… Maybe, just maybe, a sub-40 10k.’

I guess we’ll never know.


Looking at the results, just 7 amazing ladies ran sub-40 during the race. A friend also said that quite a few members of his club reported running a lot slower than usual due to the heat, so that made me feel slightly better.

Despite feeling extremely disheartened, the one thing I have taken from this race is the belief that I’m almost there.

I do feel ready to smash through that sub-40 barrier. After my efforts today, I feel entitled to dream with more ferocity than ever. It’s within my reach. I’ve worked so bloody hard for this, and I’m not going to give up.

Just ONE sub-40, ONE TIME, and I’ll be satisfied.

 

My next couple of 10k races are either trail, or on courses that I wouldn’t exactly describe as PB friendly (cough, SANDBACH 🤗🤣!), so I think I’ll have to sadly park this ambition until the Knutsford 10k at the end of September. The race actually falls on my birthday this year, and it would be the BEST present EVER to finally tick a sub-40 off my wish list.


We move.

On to the next one!


Cara Jasmine Bradley


 

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