10km Sun Run & Why Running Only 10km's is Really Hard

By  Melissa Robertson
Category: Race

There's something especially hard about a 10km race. Unlike other events where I get to catch my breath by having to hike up a mountain or getting a long downhill that I can just let loose on and use to recover, for me a 10km race is a constant grind where I feel like I never get to catch my breath and my heart rate is going through the roof. The Sun Run is no different, although it is very scenic.

Start Line

I was lucky enough to win an entry through a competition that R4YL was running, and as I was in Sydney that day anyway the race fitted in perfectly. This was very much a Sydney race, lots of people, lots of good looking gear and a scenic location right on the beach as the start. I positioned myself near the start of my wave and got ready to race, this race starts straight up what looks like a gentle hill, but is actually steeper then it looks, or maybe I just go out too hard and it makes my heart rate go sky high so it feels like a steep hill. Either way this year I was better prepared and when we started off I didn't go at sprint pace but held back just a little bit so I could kind of breath and watched as a lot of guys sprinted past me. By the top of the first hill I could feel my hear beating hard, 190 something, which is fast race pace for me, and for the rest of this race it was all about holding on. The first lot of sprinters started dropping off at around the 3-4km mark which is pretty normal in this sort of race and I was still feeling ok, or ok, as in I couldn't breath, my heart was going crazy, and there was pain but my legs were still moving which is all that matters.


I followed the course on it's weird in and out pattern as it goes around parks and a series of 90 degree turns as it doubles back on itself to ensure it gets it's full 10km distance. Then it's back on the coast and up some hills to fantastic views over the Pacific Ocean and Sydney's North Shore beaches. My mum and aunt were waiting at Freshwater to cheer me on and take photos while they were buying their morning coffee, I couldn't really say anything to them as I ran past as that would have taken breath that I did not have. I may have given a thumbs up.

The final stretch along the front of the Manly seems to take forever and by that point I was in pain, I was still pushing but my body was yelling at me to stop. I could feel my lungs, heart and legs all pumping as hard as possible and I didn't have much left for the kick at the end but I still managed to get my heart rate over 200bpm, which I think is high, it felt high. The sort of high where the edges of my vision start to get darker and I know I'm going to stop soon one way or another. I think this is why runs <=10kms are just not my thing, the pain is too constant and I find that I get mentally as well as physically drained. On longer runs my body is yelling at me to stop at certain points, but that's normally just at the end of the race, or if it's earlier in the race, it's more of a confidence thing then me actually being in pain or pushing too hard so it's easy to ignore. It's interesting though to see how much control your mind has over what you can push yourself to do. For me it's like a fire inside of me, I get super competitive and I have to keep it under control during training, but come race day I just let loose and see what happens.


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