Race Recap // West Run London 10K 2015

11/18/2015

For full disclosure purposes, I received an entry to the WestRun London 10K for free in return for a race recap blog post. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.


As you may well know if you've been reading my blog recently and seen my training diary posts.. this past weekend, I was in London for the very first Vitality WestRun London 10K.

I was excited about going to explore/see more of London as I don't go there very often - if at all except for races! and I was just generally excited for a new race and the experience of taking part.

After my experience with RunHackney last year, I had high hopes for WestRun London and it definitely didn't disappoint!
The Morning Of..
It was a mega early start for us in the morning, we had a fair bit of travelling to get to the race start so we had to be up at 4:40 AM. I don't think I've ever been up so early!

I had my usual porridge for breakfast and a cup of much needed coffee. I got dressed and changed my outfit twice. I was originally going to wear a vest.. but decided it would be too cold so wore a t-shirt.. then the t-shirt didn't match the shorts, so they were changed too.

We got our last minute bits and pieces sorted for our bag, like clothes to wear post race and then set off to the tube station at 5:40 AM - We needed to get the 6:40 AM tube, which was an hours drive away and then travel 1 hr 10 mins to the nearest station to the race village.

Once we got there, we headed straight for the toilets! The good thing about arriving a little earlier is that there are no queues but they did end up building up VERY quickly.We then had a complete hoo-ha over our race bibs. We have Event Clips for our race bibs so that we don't use any safety pins, however, I totally forgot that the bib didn't have holes for them - and since the bibs are waterproofed(however that is) it was SO hard to put holes in them.. and the wind was bad too so we had a nightmare of a time trying to fix our bibs to our t-shirts!

After wasting a lot of time with that, we had just enough time to go and drop of our bag(which was seemless, just dropping it off at the tent in your bib number range). We headed off to the warm-up(lead by Virgin Active) which was great - except it was on grass and it was a little muddy and slippy - whilst we were doing the warm-up, I felt like I was about to pull something in my leg(I'd been feeling it a few days prior on one of my shorter runs but tried not to think about it).
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The warm-up made me feel pretty tired! For some reason, rather than actually warm me up, they tend to tire me out, haha!

After the warm-up, we had a short walk to the start line. You just entered the timing pen for the time you were aiming to finish in. I went into the pen for 45 min to 1 hr. Phillip said that there wasn't enough room in the pens and that it was really packed for the faster times. I didn't have too much of a problem in mine.

The Race
The race started dead on 9 AM. It didn't take very long to cross the start line, maybe a minute or so. My legs felt very heavy when I started running and I was worried that this would be what I'd have to put up with the whole way round. I was also worried about the wind as it was very blustery and I knew that I would have to work harder to compensate for it!

As with most, if not all races, I'm not familiar with the area, so can't really pin point specific landmarks, so here's a course map! All I knew was that it a fast, flat run through Fulham.
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My first mile ended up coming in at 9:06 min/mi - I ALWAYS start out too fast, I just can't help it. I need to work on it so I don't burn myself out so quick. My legs were still feeling heavy but I knew that if I wanted to even remotely get close to a PB, I would need to just push through the discomfort.

The heaviness in my legs started to fade after about 2 miles - My second mile came in at 9:36 min/mi - I knew I was on for a good time if I could keep the majority of my miles under 10 min/mi. After mile two, I was feeling really hot, regretting my decision to swap to a t-shirt AND my second mistake of not drinking enough water. I was dehydrated and was praying for the water station!

We had a long straight road up to the 4k mark with a turn around at the top to come back down. Just past the 3 mile(5K) mark, there was a water station - I'd seen it when we were going up the road and there were tables lined up for quite a way with bottles all layed out for people to just run by and grab one.

Unfortunately, this didn't go quite to plan, instead, there seemed to be a lot of people taking the opportunity to stop and walk at the water stations.. which meant I had to completely stop running in order to reach around people and grab a bottle. I was SO frustrated! I know that once I've stopped, it's SO hard to find a rhythm again afterwards and that was certainly the case here.

I'd done my 3rd mile in 9:38 min/mi but my 4th mile ended up coming in at 10:06 min/mi. I had planned to take a gel earlier at the 2 mile marker but completely forgot. I ended up taking the gel at around mile 4.

Note to self, check the best before date of gels before taking them for a race. HAHA! The gels I took with me actually ended up being out of date by about 3 months and my stomach REALLY didn't agree with it. At one point, I thought I might have to stop for the toilet. It eased after a mile, but it didn't do much for my time.

At the 7k marker was probably the only Landmark that I remember from the course as it was Stamford Bridge, We ran around the outside of the stadium and it was almost like a wind tunnel! The wind was SO bad in this area.

I ended up finishing mile 5 in 10:21 min/mi. Then it was just the last mile to go. Up until this point, I had actually managed to keep the 1 hr pacer behind me(or at least I hadn't seen her go past me at any point). Until around 5.5 miles. I was getting tired and felt really fatigued, I knew I was slowing down and I was ready to be done.

I saw a couple of people in front of me that were looking behind them, I wondered why, until I looked behind myself and saw the pacer on my tail. I tried to keep ahead of her but was getting more and more fatigued the more I pushed.

She ended up passing me and finished just under an hour. I couldn't even muster a sprint finish at the end, my legs were tired! I passed the line in 1:01:06 with mile 6 coming in at exactly 10 min/mi.
IT WAS A PB! My hard work and pushing managed to knock 4 minutes off my PB. I'm over the moon to have gotten a PB, my training wasn't totally sh*t afterall! :)

Afterwards, I grabbed my medal, goodie bag and went to find Phillip. He was speedy, as always, and finished in 35th position for the race!

We queued for Whole Foods who were giving out a whole bunch of goodies, then I went to go and speak to Team Vitality - I was supposed to go and see them before the race to pick up my Team Vitality t-shirt but we ran out of time. The girls were lovely and we had a nice chat about the vitality  races and what I thought of the race.

Overall Thoughts
I thought the race was great, although it wasn't picturesque and there wasn't as much to look at during the race, I still enjoyed it all the same. There were plenty of people out to cheer people on, the route is along streets with lots of houses, pubs, restaurants and shops so there were lots of people about for support. The race was very well organised, everything started on time, everything was clearly marked, tonnes of Marshalls.. everything you would expect from a great race organiser.

I've only done one other Vitality race prior to WestRun which was RunHackney last year but I can hands down say that they have been the best race organiser thus far!

Their goodie bags are also great, there's plenty in there, with the added bonus of the Whole Foods tent, there was quite a lot!
and of course, I can't forget the Medal - They never fail to disappoint! They're great quality and quite chunky, so I love putting a new one on my medal hanger!
If you haven't done a Vitality Race before, I'd highly recommend them. They have 9 in their run series at the moment. I already have two Vitality Races planned for next year, including the North London Half and Run Hackney - I'm sure that I will be visiting West London again next year too!

Thank you again to Vitality for providing me with a complimentary entry into WestRun London! See you next year! :)


Question: Tell me, what has been your favourite race that you have participated in?


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5 comments

  1. Well done on your PB! That is absolutely brilliant! Lovely pace also :) I had a terrible race on Sunday, I started way too fast (Around a flat 7mm - Am I insane?!) on my second lap I tripped/cut my knee&sprained my ankle...Wahhhh! My favourite race was a off road 10km, it had a beautiful vibe, the area was lovely, I really enjoyed myself.
    Bit jealous of your goodie bag! X

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  2. @Katie G Thanks Honey! I really pushed myself to get that time and my legs were totally feeling it the next day.

    I heard about you spraining your Ankle! Boooo! :( That sucks! I always start out too fast too - I think I just get carried away with the rest of the crowd but you have to be careful otherwise you just burn out so quickly! I hope your ankle feels better soon!

    I was very surprised with the goodie bags to be fair - Whole foods had a tent at the race village and were giving out loads of extras - picked the socks up at the profeet store for participating in the race too, so it was a good one!

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  3. Whoop whoop! Congratulations on your PB! That's fantastic lovely x

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  4. Well done on the PB! Sounds like a great race :)

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