As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to write up my experience at the Newport 10k this year – I wasn’t sure I would do it this year, but I was offered a free entry thanks to this blog which made the decision easy. It should be noted that even if I hadn’t received that free entry I would have wanted to write this post exactly as it reads right now – I have written about it before (I’m actually surprised I didn’t write about it last year too), and in this case, I have very good reason for wanting to write about it again.
This year the weather was perfect, although a little chilly at the shaded start line. I wanted to get some extra miles in so I had already done a 2.3 mile warm up so I knew that I would be warm very quickly once the race got moving. During that warm up I spotted from a distance that it looked like someone was setting something up for a wedding either on or right by the course – I didn’t actually run that way but a friend did and warned them what was soon going to be happening and also told race officials about it. By the time we came around that part of the course during the race, the arch they were setting up had been moved to one side.
The condition of the roads was not great – at least from memory I don’t remember it being as bad in previous years – there seemed to a fair number of potholes to avoid which is maybe not surprising given the winter we had, and one particularly sharp turn was covered in slippery gravel – at least the course marshal there was warning everyone to be careful but it still almost caught me out but it didn’t require too much effort to avoid. There are also certain streets that clearly suffer from angry driver problems – I’ve seen it before in this race, and there seemed to be more of those this year too – in one particular place it seemed clear from the positioning of a car that someone had actually considered driving through, as he had swung out of the regular traffic line further over into the middle of the street.
This course is my 10k PR course, it is pretty flat, but it also has a lot of turns, particularly along the boardwalk stretch towards the finish, so perhaps I can do faster (I’m wondering if the upcoming Ridgewood 10k could do that for me). There is a chance as it looks like I have the potential to run faster than I thought I could right now. After an unsteady start to the year with a good performance at Miles for Music 20k, followed by a relatively poor Unite Half Marathon, and last week a reasonable Clinton 15k, I wasn’t expecting too much from Newport this year.
I set myself a goal of going out at around a 6:40 to 6:50 per mile pace to see how I felt (my average pace at the Clinton 10k was in the 6:50s so that seemed reasonable). For once I actually didn’t get too carried away at the start and I went through the first mile clock at around 6:43. After the second mile I was starting to think I could perhaps pick things up a bit and throughout the rest of the race I moved ahead slowly reeling in each person ahead of me pretty much all the way to the finish. I judged my effort perfectly as it wasn’t until the last 100m or so that I felt I had nothing left to give. Even though I was 3 seconds slower than my PR I was ecstatic – simply because this is how I always want to run races. It was perfect. I was still excitedly telling everyone about it the next day, even people who clearly had no interest.
I couldn’t stay around for long at the end – I grabbed some food (squagels are great), sat on the grass in the park area for a little while, and then did a short cool down and headed home because I needed to start preparing for setting things up for the Highland Park 5k the next day. This meant I didn’t get a chance to stick around for the raffle prizes which is a shame as the odds of winning something aren’t usually bad at all as a lot of people have already left.