Not to spoil the end of a good story, but I totally made it round the hilly 10k course of Run Norwich yesterday without bursting into tears, walking, or suffering any major melt downs like last year.

As seems to be a consistent story in my race reports, I absolutely meant to train REALLY well this year.

But I didn’t.

The last 10k race I ran was last years Run Norwich, as the autumn races I normally run fell on bad dates, and the Trowse 10k, normally in spring, has now moved to autumn. That means that the last 10k race I ran was also the one where it was 26 degrees and I had a total meltdown at 7k and had to sit down while I remembered how to breathe.

So you can understand why I was little apprehensive.

Actually I thought I hadn’t trained well for this years, but looking back at last years run logs shows that in July and early August last year I ran the grand total of 7.5 miles over 2 runs. This year I ran 21 miles over 5 runs, so comparatively I’ve been training my little butt off.

I was still really looking forward to the race as Run Norwich has a great atmosphere, so despite the early Sunday start I woke up and walked down to the Race start feeling strangely perky and looking forward to a great day.

After checking in our bags we located a shady side street to lurk in while we awaited the start of the race.

In the 45 minutes we had to wait before the race start I bumped into 5 people I know, which made me start thinking about the scale of this race. Run Norwich has got really big, in a really short space of time. Most of the 10k races I’ve run before have under 700 runners. Run Norwich were expecting around 6,000 this time.

SIX THOUSAND!

They really do a great job of keeping everything moving smoothly. The portaloo queues weren’t too long, the race pens weren’t too crowded, and there was generally a great atmosphere.

Like last year, the race start has moved to the bottom of the Market to reduce the congestion that happened in the first year, and the runners starts are staggered by estimated start time.

We waited under an almost cloudless sky (apart from the one below that we thought looked like a brain) while the pens in front of us were released and then we all shuffled forward to the start.

Mr LLL decided to run with me, at least at first. I warned him that I had promised myself to keep it super slow to avoid meltdowns. My aim was to keep my heartrate under 170, which seems to be a comfortable pace for me.

Honestly, the first few kilometres the biggest problem I had was keeping my heart rate up! The busy route meant there wasn’t really space to cut ahead and go any faster without sprinting past people and then slowing down, which I hate doing, so I was actually going a little slower than I would have liked. Still, I wasn’t really worried about time, and at least that meant that at the end I wouldn’t have a meltdown!

We hit the 5k point in about 31 minutes according to my watch. Which was a nice comfortable pace.

Although this year wasn’t as hot as last year, where the weather hit 26 degrees, it was still really warm. The race organisers had learned from last year and installed water misters to run through at the first water station, which was a lovely touch!

At 5k Mr LLL decided I was too darn slow and ran off ahead. Leaving me to tackle the Rose Lane hill all on my own.

I was determined not to walk, and I didn’t, but the downhill on Prince of Wales Road was a welcome relief.

You’ll be pleased to know that although mile 5 was my slowest, I managed to avoid a meltdown and the beautiful run through the Cathedral was a lot more pleasant this year.

The last kilometre of Run Norwich is pretty much all uphill, finishing with the hideous climb up Rampant Horse Street (best street name ever). Knowing it was nearly over, and I was definitely not going to meltdown now, I even managed to pick up some speed for a sprint finish across the line.

I did see someone collapsed in the last kilometre being tended to by paramedics. I have since discovered they had a heart attack, but that the quick actions of bystanders and race marshalls mean that they are in hospital and recovering well. Which is always a relief to find out.

The end of the race was well managed to keep all those people moving onto Chapelfield gardens. On the way I collected my medal, water, banana and goodie bag containing snacks, a rather exciting Norwich City Scarf (perfect for a warm Summers Day) and, most importantly. A free beer voucher.

My place in this years race was actually a charity spot. Running for Norwich Community Sports Foundation. This meant I also got free snacks and got to tuck into fruit, brownies and flapjacks at the CSF tent. I could have had a free sports massage as well, though I was far too lazy to queue for it. This morning my aching legs are cursing my laziness.

Having refuelled in the healthiest way possible (with chocolate brownies) and rehydrated a little with water, it was time to collect my free beer, and pose for photos with a giant medal.

Note I was not too lazy to queue for a photo opportunity.

My time was sent to me by text message while I was enjoying the race village (and my beer) and I discovered I finished in 1 hour 5 minutes 34 seconds.

I felt a little disappointed as although I had deliberately set out to be slow as I was nervous, I know I can run it far faster. Still it was faster than last year, it’s not like I had any podium places to fight for and I really enjoyed the run.

I feel like Run Norwich isn’t necessarily a super fast 10k. It’s not the place to chase a PB, it’s a race with a great atmosphere, ideal for new runners and those who want to enjoy a Summer race.

Maybe I’ll keep up the training and take on some Autumn races this year with some killer times (or maybe not….)!