my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Notts AC 10 mile road race 2013 report (part 1 of 3)

On Friday 7th June I took part in my first ‘long’ race since the end of March, which was a 16-miler from Ely to Cambridge. Friday’s event was a 10 mile road race, in its 42nd year, and hosted and organised by Notts Athletic Club, the largest athletics club by members in Nottinghamshire.

I should say right now that the actual race bit of this race report will come in the Notts AC 10 mile road race report part 2 blog post and should be with you in a couple of days. I had to stop this one, as it was already crazy long and only refers to my preparation leading up to the start of the race!

Like any good story, this series of a blog post has a beginning (race day lead up to the race), a middle (the race itself), and an end (well yes, the end of the race and also the fallout from it!)

So, now I’ve lost my only reader, I’ll continue!

It was held at Holme Pierrepont, the home of the National Water Sports Centre. The route included two entire laps of the 2000 metre long lake. This location is known for its bleakness when the rain or wind set in and so tonight’s race was completely at the mercy of the weather.

Fortunately, our wonderful spell of glorious weather continued, the sun was out and the gentle breeze was just enough to cool you down as you ran into it, without it feeling like hard work. However, it was also so gentle that it really didn’t feel like it gave you any extra advantage when it was ‘with’ you!

Here’s some bullet points about how I prepared on the day for the race, as writing it out in paragraphs will make this a(n even more) horrifically long blog post!

  • Write a list/pack everything you need the night before, ready for the next day
  • Keep hydrated on the day, particularly important for an evening race like this was (I’m so bad at drinking from plastic cups during the race, and it ends up going up my nose, all over my clothes and I end up breathing really hard with the effort of swallowing water while trying to maintain my running speed!)
  • Don’t drink too much tea or coffee! Personal opinion this one
  • Do go to the toilet before you race – sometimes more than once will be needed!
  • Leave plenty of time for your journey to the race
  • Listen to MUSE (Album: The Resistance from 2009, it ROCKS!) in the car on the way to the race to help you feel pumped up for it – and to make sure you have a cool, upbeat song that enters your head when you’re racing!

I managed to avoid eating too many sweet things on the course, and being disciplined in not eating the stodge, or drinking copious amounts of caffeine-rich beverages meant I seemed quite lively in the afternoon. This was a good thing, as we were looking at employment law all afternoon. Yes, it was pretty intense, but I was well up for it. Particularly as there were little prizes given out for pertinent questions or observations on the case studies we analysed. Just a quick note to say, I came out on top, achieving FIVE (Yes, 5!) little prizes for my contributions. I won. Yes, it mattered to me in a small way, and the concentration I needed helped me to stop thinking about the impending race and the countdown to it. The guy delivering the course was fantastic and very knowledgeable, making the difficult subject matter appeal a great deal more than it had merit too! What did I win? Well, two big packets of Sun Maid California raisins, a Matlows drumstick lolly, a small packet of Haribo and some Cadbury’s chocolate buttons!

We arrived at the start line after toilet stops with a few minutes to spare. I observed to my friend, Phil, who you can see in the picture below, how running is so different to competition I’m more at ease with, in the forms of football and cricket. In those sports, after 5 minutes of a match, or seeing someone bat or bowl, you can make a pretty reasonable judgement about how good a player someone is. In running on the other hand, unless you can put a face to a name and have an amazing memory for times and races, you’d struggle to discern the elites, or top club runners from the guy or girl who has lots of spare cash to buy awesome running kit!

Here’s a picture of us after the race:

Phil and TC post-race

Phil and TC post-race

Indeed, in a race, you only tend to see those who are of a similar speed to you as well, so unless someone makes a dramatic break at a certain point, or you suddenly see people tail off or stop, running doesn’t seem to me to be a sport you can easily work out your rivals in! I wish it was easier, because then you’d know who to try and run with in seeking out a goal time. Perhaps organisers could start making people wear their goal times on the front or back of their running tops so everyone can help each other out? What do you think of that idea?!

Within moments of these thoughts, the countdown for the start of the race was on, and I was luck to get my Strava app working and detecting gps just in time to hit ‘record’ at the right time. Eek! That was close!

The actual race report will come in instalment number two in the next couple of days!

But, for those with little time, who want to check out my time and route, here’s the route on Strava:

Have a great week one and only, I mean, one and all!



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