The 10k went much better than the half marathon two weeks ago. The weather was similar, with bright sunshine and about 18 degrees C. According to Garmin the course had about 60m of elevation. This raised my eyebrow because 60m over 10k is about the same as 30m over my local 5k Parkrun, which I regard as not flat but certainly not very hilly either, whereas the 10k felt pretty hilly. This led me down a rabbit hole of reading about how elevation data is calculated. The simple answer is that it’s calculated according to elevation mapping datasets, but these are noisy and imperfect. Then, small differences are smoothed out by a curve smoothing algorithm to try to account for the noise. If you change the smoothing parameters, my run gives a total elevation climb of anywhere between 32m and 180m. So in summary: garbage in, garbage out. Let’s just say that it was a two lap course with two climbs on each lap.

My time was 43:05 which got me 26th place out of just over 300. It’s towards the slower end of a 10k for me but it was hilly and hot. Two people passed me around the 7th-8th km and that was entirely on me for going out too fast and not being able to hold the pace (I only held as well as I did because I was trying to keep up with one of them). This is frustrating because my pacing over about 5k is usually either perfectly even or slightly negative (faster on the second half) but apparently pacing longer distances is still a mystery to me. Though the heat doesn’t help.

And as for the heat…. well, I didn’t die or feel unwell, but I definitely felt the sun. I think the forecast temperature is largely irrelevant compared to whether or not it’s clear sun, which is really what cooks both you and the road. I prepared better this time by wearing a very light running vest and drinking half a bottle of water 15-20 minutes before. But I think I actually got more dehydrated on this 10k than I did on the half marathon two weeks before. My ears blocked up right after I finished, which is something I’ve only experienced one other time from running, but it was also during a hot race and I think it’s a dehydration thing. There was water on the course but it was in little paper cups rather than bottles, so you couldn’t take it with you while running. I grabbed one cup, managed to get about half a mouthful into my mouth and then poured the rest over my head. I’d have fared a lot better with bottles because I’d have got more water into me and I could have kept pouring it over me for longer. Today I feel a bit headachy and probably worse than I did after the half.

My achilles tendon was fine until about 7km (on a hill) then gave me a 1/10 ache for the rest of the run. I’m trying to remember how this has developed. It’s a small ache in the mid-portion (i.e. slightly above the heel), which is supposedly easier to rehab than the insertional variant (i.e. right down at the bottom of the heel). I’ve been having tightness in my calves on and off for a few weeks so it all blurs together, but I think I didn’t feel anything in the actual tendon until last Monday. And I think that I’ve probably overstretched it in trying to sort out my calves. At the moment I can’t really stretch them at all without it starting to ache. So I think with a few easy days and no stretching (and definitely no hills this week), it should start recovering. I don’t feel like running today anyway…

Next on the calendar is another 10k in three weeks. But in two weeks there is a 3 mile/8 mile race very locally which I did last year. If it wasn’t for the achilles tendon I’d be signed up to the 8. I’ll see how it is by the end of the week, the 3 miles should be OK…

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