This weekend after working a 70 hour week, I ran the Birchwood 10k. I was tired, really tired, but having not had the chance to run all week I was looking forward to getting out with the club and taking my weary legs for a jaunt.
It was a really hot and muggy morning and I only really noticed this when we actually started going. The heat and my tiredness made for hard work and when I reached the 5k mark I knew it was time to stop thinking about finish times and just concentrate on getting round. I slowed a little but kept going as much as I could. I can't honestly tell you much about the course - it was fine. A mixture of paths and roads and from what I remember not much shade. There were a couple of little inclines, mostly bridges over main roads, and I was thankful for the downhill that came with these. The kilometres passed by - 7 then 8 and then finally 9. Hurrah last stretch! I turned a corner and thankfully saw the finish line. I was pleased I'd not stopped the whole way in the heat and was so looking forward to finishing the run and cooling down. This race was never going to go down in my running history as a great run, but I was pleased I'd given my best on the day.
That was until 300m from the finish line a girl in front of me totally collapsed. It was horrible. I stopped along with another runner and we tried to break her fall a bit and he managed to lie her down and get her in the recovery position, while I ran back to the last marshal I'd seen to tell them we needed the medics. She couldn't talk and was really hot. When I got back to her thankfully a spectator with water was also helping. Another girl up ahead seemed to be in the same situation on the ground.
It was horrible and it really scared me. Everyone running past us looked exhausted and it made me realise how important it is to be sensible. Chasing PBs and giving all we have is part of most of our running, but it should not at the expense of our health. I know I'm definitely guilty of thinking 'it's only 10k' or 'only' such and such distance but these distances and the running conditions on the day should be respected and not underestimated.
So this race served as a bit of a warning to me. Remember to listen to your body and stop if you need to. No finish time is worth it.