Something different for #ShirtOnSunday. Many of these are about music, but they can be about anything really. @hickney started this off.
The Standalone 10k is a 10km road race that starts and ends at Standalone Farm in Letchworth. I first ran it in 2013 and this was my fourth time today. It is very well organised with lots of marshals and they close a lot of roads for it. There were over 1700 runners this year. The forecast was for rain and I could hear it as I lay in bed this morning. Happily it stopped before I cycled over there. For some reason there was a big queue to check in bags this time, but I was ready in time for the start. Usually they have some boards with times so people know how far back to line up, but I did not see them this time. I did not even hear the start horn, but I could see those ahead of me setting off.
The first stretch is downhill followed by a fairly steep climb. That helps to spread the runners out a bit as we go through the edge of town. There is a loop around some back streets before we head out onto the country road. That is only closed one way. That also goes up and down a bit, but I was not struggling with the hills. Generally I felt good and was not puffing too much. By the half-way point where we go onto the bypass I was still going well. I was getting updates from my phone and could not quite believe my pace. I had expected to do my regular 5:30/km, but the crowd was pushing me a lot quicker than that.
When we left the bypass my legs were starting to feel it, but my upper body felt fine. We had some blue sky by then. The roads were wet with a few puddles, but not too slippery. My newish On shoes were gripping well.
There is a last hill before turning back into the road where the farm is. There was a samba band there to give us a boost. There had been lots of people out around the course. I saw one guy with a bike several times as he was riding to different places to watch.
It is downhill for the last stretch, but I was running out of steam. As we turned into the farm and onto the grass I seemed to find some hidden reserves and sprinted to the finish, overtaking a few people. The clock was just ticking past 52 minutes, so I knew it was a good time. I picked up my finisher's shirt, which is pink/fuchsia this year. The colour changes each year. I saw a couple of people I knew around the finish. Then it was off to collect my bag and ride home feeling very satisfied.
I got a text with my official time shortly after I got home. 51:34 is about a minute quicker than my previous best. Endomondo shows me running several kilometres at around five minute pace, but gets to top speed wrong as usual. All that interval training has paid off. I have really improved in the last year or so. I will never be a top runner, even in my age group, but I am happy with my progress.
The geeky guitarist and facilitator of the 10K Minnows Project.