Last Thursday, a fellow Triton told me he’s running a 10k at the Lee Valley Velopark on Saturday and asked if I’d be interested in going along. I thought, why not? I was going to meet with some friends in the afternoon but had nothing else in the morning. Besides, I knew it would be perfect prep for a duathlon I’ve got coming up in October!

So on Saturday, whilst most people were just waking up, I was on my way to run in a 10k race. To be honest, I hadn’t been running much as I’d been focusing on cycling, and my recent house move has put a spanner in the works on the running front, so I really had no expectations coming into the race.

The event was unusual, about 6 one-mile laps of the iconic Lee Valley Velopark in the Olympic Park at Stratford, a cycle centre that provides track, mountain bike, road and BMX facilities. The venue is testament to the legacy of the London Olympic Games and provided a great race headquarter with showers, café and lockers.

I arrived at the start line at 9:15am, an hour before to my start time. It was already quite busy but with a really relaxed feel. There was a slight mix-up at registration as it turned out there was another Jessica Lowe running on the day and she had taken my number! But other than that, the organisation was impeccable.

After taking a pre-race photo, George was off on his 10-miler. He looked pretty strong and we cheered for him as he went around the course, going faster as time went by!

At 10:15am, Gary and I were off for the 10k. I set off on or around 5K PB pace and tugged myself behind a guy who was running the same pace as me. We traded places a couple of times before he dropped me on the second lap. From there, I was running on my own. I overtook quite a lot of runners who were doing other distances (like the half marathon, 10-miler and the 5k) which wasn’t a problem and made for a great distraction. The only negative was that I clearly wasn’t taking the racing line whilst overtaking people. The laps were slightly undulating, but on a smooth tarmac surface. I worked the hills with a few quick strides and recovered as the course rolled back downhill. I went through the 5k mark at 20:02, and after that my lap splits were pretty consistent.

My time for the 10k, according to my Garmin was 40:55 – which is a new PB! It turned out I was also the first woman to finish! I think, on another day, on a flatter course, I think I probably had a sub-40 in me… especially if I train specifically for a 10k. That can wait, for now.

After the race, Gary, George and I caught up over coffee in the cafe upstairs. By the time I headed back to the road circuit, the road track had already reopened for cyclists so I hired a Condor bike and did a few laps on the bike before meeting up with friends for an Escape Room experience! I managed to average about 30km/hr over 20km on a hired bike, so I was pretty pleased with that! Overall, a very good race and a very good event. The race was well organised in great facilities with lots of friendly volunteers. All runners got a medal. I got a special engraved one as I was the first female to finish!

It’s been over two weeks since I stepped on the podium and it’s definitely a boost to get another win in the bag! As someone looking to grow and improve, I always felt a sense of dissatisfaction about where I am. As there are three disciplines to work on in triathlon, there’s always one discipline that gets overlooked. You do the best you can to juggle between them, and with life in general, but you never quite know if what you’re doing is “enough”, and it’s the “am I doing enough” question that has us constantly hustling and striving and training. There is nothing better than getting a PB and knowing you have gone outside of your comfort zone and really pushed your body’s limits!

– Jess