I broke my PB, smashed it actually, but how could I knock 1:21 off my previous best when I’ve spent most of the last four months struggling with knee problems and using the couch to 10K program to rehabilitate myself?
I have some theories. My 10K PB until this race was 42:01, which I managed in March 2011. At that time, running was all I did and a half-marathon was my longest race. A lot has happened since then.
I bought a mountain bike and spent whole days cycling around Gifu. I learned to swim and went to the pool every week. I started hiking and trail running. The mountains here in Gifu and around Mino are beautiful and I’m sure the steep climbs have done wonders for my leg strength, stability and endurance.
All this, plus running my first marathon and completing a homemade half-Ironman triathlon has helped my mind and body adapt to stress and long-periods of sustained activity. So even though my workouts were less intense over the winter because of IT band syndrome and whatnot, I think I still had a good base to push for a 10K PB. The cold weather and my new, super fast running shoes might have helped a bit, too.
Saying that, running a hilly course at a fast pace (for me!) is not a fun experience. My eyes glazed over, the Red Bull shaking around in my stomach made me feel a bit sick and my chest started to hurt towards the end. The thought of pulling out crossed my mind, but I’m glad I didn’t because when I saw that time of 40:40 I realized why it was so hard!
Next week I’m running the Inuyama Half-Marathon. My PB for the half is 1:31:54, which means I’ll be especially hard pressed to beat it, but I’ll set out with that intention!