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Abbey Dash 10k Race Recap

November 21, 2011

Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I had a fantastic time staying in Leeds with Peter, including starting the festivities with a visit to Leeds Christmas market on Saturday. It was absolutely packed with people, so I didn’t manage to get any good photos to show you. I might go back at some point during the week when it’s a bit quieter and take some. The best thing about the market is all the German food that’s on offer. I remember going crazy and overeating quite a bit when I went last year, but I think I hit a better balance this year. I had a delicious pork burger on a bun with loads of ketchup, a white chocolate covered marshmallow with honey and almonds (cue lots of embarrassing “oh my god, this is delicious” noises), and a few mini potato pancakes with strawberries and chocolate sauce. I also tried one of the Belgian chocolate covered strawberries that Peter’s addicted to – it was pretty good.

I called that fuel for the Abbey Dash 10k that I did on Sunday morning. Much to Peter’s disgust, I got out of bed at 6.30am (on a Sunday … the inhumanity!) to have a pre-race breakfast of banana porridge with peanut butter. The race started at 9.30am and from experience I need at least 2.5 hours for my breakfast to digest. We left the house just before 8am because it’s a big race (all 8000 places were filled) and I was paranoid about the traffic and finding a parking space. Despite the dense fog, we got into Leeds and got parked up fine and I was one of the first people to get to the start (the story of my life really … I’m usually one of the first to arrive anywhere).


After a few more people had arrived

It was very chilly and I was loathed to take off the fleece I was wearing, but I sucked it up and waited at the start in my T-shirt and leggings. This is my “hurry up and take the photo, I’m flipping freezing” face.


I found a group of tall people to stand in the middle of to keep warm and waited for the start. It started on time, but it took seven minutes for me to actually cross over the line because there were so many people. However, once over the line there was plenty of room to run and it felt less crowded than other races I’ve done. I started quite fast as I normally do, but one of my aims for this race was to run negative splits, so I forced myself to settle into a comfortable pace. I maintained that pace for the first 4km without too much effort.

I was told that it was a flat race, which was only a half truth. It was flat for Yorkshire, but there were still some inclines. There was a fairly long incline approaching the halfway point, but I actually enjoyed pushing myself up it and my pace quickened. When I got to the halfway point I still felt good, so I decided to go for those negative splits. It was only during the last 2km that I started to feel like I just wanted it to end, but I wasn’t in pain or overly tired.

Here I am just after crossing the line, considerably warmer than before:


And here are the splits that I ended up with:

Mile 1 8:25
Mile 2 8:20
Mile 3 8:15
Mile 4 8:01
Mile 5 7:56
Mile 6 8:05
Last 0.23 1:39 (7:21 av. pace)

My official chip time was 50:46 which I’m more than pleased with! My previous PB was 54:25 at York in July. Going into the race my dream scenario was to finish in 52 minutes, although I would have been happy with 53 minutes. I would love to run a 10k in under 50 minutes at some point in the future, but I think it will take some doing because the Abbey Dash course is very fast compared to others. Perhaps a realistic goal is to beat my time next year.

Going into the race I was a bit apprehensive because it’s such as big race and I’d heard some bad feedback about organisation in previous years, but from my point of view it was very well organised this year. The other feedback I’d heard was that the course is boring. I’m not going to argue with that, and it was even more boring because of the fog which meant that I could only really see what was directly in front of me. That didn’t bother me too much though because I was enjoying the feeling of running, but if you want a scenic race, don’t choose this one.

I celebrated my victory by going to a very nice Italian restaurant with Peter yesterday afternoon, but I think I’ll save that for What I Ate Wednesday. Surprisingly, I’m not sore at all today, although I think that my hamstrings and hips will thank me for going to yoga later on this evening.

Do you plan to go to any Christmas markets this year?

Are you usually an early-bird or a late-arriver? I naturally tend towards getting everywhere early, but Peter’s the opposite, so I think we balance each other out nicely.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 5:18 pm

    YAY congratulations Sarah!! Really chuffed for you. That one I mentioned in Feb is very flat, could be a chance to get under 50? 😉
    I love Christmas markets. I’ll probably go to the little one in Chester outside the town hall but I don’t think I’m going to any others. And I’m always early, and Alex and his family are even earlier which means we spend a lot of time sitting in the car waiting for things to start hehe.

    • November 21, 2011 9:56 pm

      I looked into that race earlier today and it looks great – I like the idea of homemade cake at the end 🙂 I’ll hopefully get round to registering soon.

  2. November 21, 2011 6:12 pm

    Great Job, Sarah!

  3. November 21, 2011 7:17 pm

    That’s such a great result! Nice job!

    I’m always early to races too since I am totally paranoid about having enough time to warm up, pee, and get lined up in an optimal place 🙂

  4. November 21, 2011 7:24 pm

    Well done that’s a really impressive time! You’ll definitely go sub-50 in the future.

  5. November 21, 2011 7:48 pm

    Wow well done what a fab time! 🙂
    Aim to go sub 50 next year on the same course I reckon.
    Me and Andy did want to go to a Christmas market this year- maybe Bath, but our weekends are very busy! We might try to go into London for one afternoon, and there is a local one at Hatfield House that we will go to as well. I love all the gingerbread at those places!

  6. November 21, 2011 8:16 pm

    Great race, well done! I hate being late so I’m usually places really early too. I love Christmas markets, looking forward to the ones at Newcastle 🙂

  7. November 21, 2011 8:25 pm

    Awesome race report and negative splits, wooohoooo 🙂

    I’m sure if you and I were to run the same race we’d be the 2 earlybirds … I”d rather wait than be the hold up!

  8. November 21, 2011 8:36 pm

    Woo great job on this race!! Your splits look great, negative splitting is the best!

  9. November 21, 2011 8:49 pm

    Well done! I love Christmas Markets, especially Leeds as it was my first experience of one, and I use to go to uni right across the road from it so I use to wander around it a lot! I’m a big fan of the mulled wine 🙂
    Once I get my arse in gear and manage to complete a 5K tn I so want to aim to run the Abbey Dash, just because it takes place in one of my favourite cities!

  10. November 21, 2011 8:56 pm

    Well done on the PB! I’m also an early bird – drives my OH mad! 🙂

  11. November 21, 2011 9:13 pm

    Congratulations on smashing your PR – you look so incredibly invigorated in your finishing photo. It brings joy to my heart to see others enjoying running so much, and doing so well! You’ve progressed amazingly with your running in a short period of time: own that PR with pride.

    I am most definitely a scatterbrain, and thus a perpetually late arriver. My Mum and Dad are the opposite, and always ridiculously early to everything. If it wasn’t for them chivvying me along I probably would have missed the start of most of my races.


  12. November 21, 2011 10:04 pm

    Congratulations on the time, lovely finishing picture too!
    The market sounds great; I love proper Christmas markets and the food sounds even better.
    I’m always late, even though I hate it, but so’s everyone in my family!

  13. Errign permalink
    November 21, 2011 11:11 pm

    I’m an early bird generally, but since I’ve been in Asheville, I’ve been nearly late to the point of almost missing all of my flights. Rather annoying and stressful.

    Well done on your race. I like your headband 🙂 I can’t seem to wear headbands without them falling off!

  14. November 22, 2011 1:34 am

    Congrats! That’s a great time, you did awesome! I would have passed out at that pace haha..
    That marshmallow sounds really good too!

  15. November 22, 2011 2:43 pm

    I love the photo of you clutching your drinks, smiling and looking fresh, while the three people immediately around you are flaking and pulling faces!

  16. November 22, 2011 5:28 pm

    That is SUCH a great time! I’m so impressed. I actually feel motivated to pick up my pace in my run today.

  17. November 23, 2011 9:34 pm

    Wow it was a foggy day in Leeds!
    Under 51 mins… that’s amazing! Only in my dreams will I ever run a 10k that fast! Plus I can’t believe how fresh you looked after that race. I look like a total beetroot even after a 5k run! You’re clearly on top form at the moment. Well done you!


  1. WIAW #19–Race Day « Every Day's a Picnic

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