You’ve signed up for a race, got your kit ready and prepared yourself for race day. But what is a Race For Life really like? On a grey day a few weeks ago I hit Delamere Forest, ready to run my Race For Life 10K. Delamere Forest was the smallest Race For Life I’ve attended, though the atmosphere was warm and friendly. Before the event I’d lost my race number, so I was very anxious to get there early to sort it out – turns out it took mere minutes and the marshal made the process simple. My worries that I’d get told off or worse, told I couldn’t run were completely unfounded!
For any Race For Life event I thoroughly recommend doing it as part of a team or group, or even roping a friend in to keep you company. There’s a mass warm-up at the start with lots of dancing, stretching, waving of arms and singing. Being on my own, I felt a little self-conscious at the start line though I do remember last year during the Pretty Muddy warm-up I loved it, since I had a big bunch of friends around me! Soon we were across the line, and running into the picturesque forest.
I’ve run, walked, cycled and horseridden around Delamere Forest many times before so I do know it well, and the Race For Life route took full advantage of the forest by not using the same stretch of path twice: winding around to show the forest off at its best. The 5K and 10K runs set off at the same time but there were plenty of marshalls to signpost you in the right direction.
If you look at the image below closely you can see my pigtails bouncing over the finish line! It wasn’t my fastest 10K, though I was really pleased to be the 10th runner home, and it also meant I had post-marathon run under my belt. I had gone into a running-slump after my marathon but the week of my Race For Life I’d started to enjoy running again; the route winding through the forest and around the lake was refreshing compared to the long periods spent road running during my marathon training.
It also reminded me that I still don’t know how to pace myself during a 10K race. I went out way too fast and attacked Delamere’s various hills with such vigour that I had to walk a couple of kilometres in! My next 10K is Sunday so I’m planning on sticking with the 50 minute pacer for the first half of the run, then pushing on a little if I feel comfortable halfway through. Let’s hope this most recent stitch will have taught me a pacing lesson once and for all.