my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise
And for the post you’ve both been waiting for! (That’s assuming both readers actually want to read this!)
You may first of all be wondering why this is part 2 of 3. Surely you tell us about the whole race in this post? Well, yes I do – although come to think of it…maybe I’ll split my next race report in half. That’ll guarantee some curious bloggers read at least part of the second half of the report to see how I finished!
The third instalment will cover my reaction and others’ to how I did, how I felt/feel and what I’m going to be doing next in light of my run.
Anyway, enough of my stream of consciousness. On with the report!
The countdown finished and we set off, at a fairly quick pace. I was conscious I didn’t want to get sucked in to too fast a pace with the over-enthusiastic at the beginning, and so settled in to what I felt was a fairly comfortable pace. The conditions were warm, but cooling, and a gentle breeze. We ran past the short section of stadium that is normally used as a viewing platform for activities going on, on the lake and it was nice to hear everyone being cheered on. I did think though that it would be a long time until I heard their encouragement again, and it would be right at the finish line. My mind wandered off briefly to consider what state I’d be in at the finish line. I shook the thought from my head and concentrated on not tripping over anyone in front of me.
As we headed on to Adbolton Lane, it became clear that the field of runners was stretching out already. No-one was passing me anymore, but I could see the field ahead stretching out slightly. I settled in to a steady rhythm just behind a group of three runners. As we headed onto the section going round the 2000m lake for the first time, it became clear that we’d have to negotiate our way past the geese and swans that made their presence known on either side of the path. Fortunately there were no issues and they allowed us through without bother for the duration of the race.
The section of the course along the lake heading away from the crowd was probably the toughest section, which we had to do twice, simply because there was a slight headwind. In my position behind a group of three runners on the first lap, I managed to feel less of this. I’m not too sure how much this might have affected my speed anyway, but I still got enough of a breeze to cool me down as I ran into it.
My first 4 km times went like this:
Quarter of the way through and things were looking good so far. Only another 12km to go!!
That 4th km did make force me slightly out of my comfort zone by reminding me that I can’t just coast, and the next three km splits were:
All under my target time of 3:44 per km, in order to achieve my goal of completing the 10 miles in less than an hour.
At about this time, or maybe before, I was running next to another guy, pleasant and friendly guy, who had spotted me from the previous weekend Rushcliffe parkrun (he’d finished in 4th, where I’d come second). He asked me what my target time was and I was honest enough to say 1 hour, although I gave myself a buffer in saying that 1:01, 1:02 was probably a bit more realistic. He said he wasn’t sure what he’d be going for as he’d really only done shorter races. We ran together for about half a mile or so, before he seemed to tire slightly and while he tried to keep up, it soon seemed like I’d left him behind.
The next bit of maths for me to work on, was to project my time based on the halfway point of 8km.
That 8th km came in at 3:47, and my wonderful Strava app kept giving me this useful information at every km – my split time and the overall time I’d been running. I think this was a key part of my race, being in control and having up to the minute information that helped me to adjust and react as I needed to, in real time.
The half way split of 8km came in at 29:27. I was really pleased with this. I’d hoped I wouldn’t start out too fast (e.g. about 28 minutes or something), which I’d feared would lead me to blow up before the end of the race. And I also didn’t want to go too slow (32 minutes or so) for fear of not being able to speed up the pace enough to duck under one hour. So far so good, but there was still half a race to go.
At just after the halfway stage, I grabbed a cheap plastic cup of water. Why do races insist on providing water (useful) in the worst known drinking-on-the-run-invention ever – the cheapest, thinnest plastic mass production see through cup. Maybe it is just me being an idiot, but I tried a few times to sip the water while maintaining my pace and I just couldn’t. I got a noseful in one attempt, a wet cheek on attempt two and nothing on attempt three, such was my caution in trying not to repeat efforts one or two.
In the end, after getting a mouthful inside me, I tipped the rest of the cup of water over my head, partly in frustration, and partly because it seemed like a great idea at the time. It WAS instantly refreshing, but sadly the stray water had run down my legs and was all over my hands from my awful efforts at drinking. I had to really block out these weird wet sensations for the next couple of kilometres and focus on my running form, still staying with an awesome slightly older runner, who really seemed to know what he was doing.
By this, I mean he was maintaining his pace and seemed happy to allow me to just run a couple of yards behind him. I honestly felt bad for him, and guilty that I was using him, but he genuinely seemed to be running his own race and it just so happened that it fit me perfectly too. I also had a slight inkling that he may have overheard the conversation I had with the guy from the parkrun and may have been trying to help me achieve my goal. I don’t know, but I didn’t want to ask!
Kilometres 9-12 continued to give me hope that I would achieve my goal. Despite these times being significantly faster than I’d done in training recently, my body felt good and my breathing was rhythmic and comfortable. The times were:
I think it was at about this time that I sensed the guy I’d been practically on the shoulder of for the entire race was starting to tire. We’d put in a fast 11th and 12th km in reigning in a runner who’d been ahead of us up till this point and I honestly think he’d perhaps gone a bit early in putting that effort in. I wasn’t going to let him go though, and so at the 12km split, during a short uphill section, I took my opportunity to lead him for a change and see if he could stay with me. I also felt that it was probably my turn now to guide him for a bit and hoped he might appreciate the sentiment. If he didn’t I’d soon know about it and he’d be elbowing his way past me!
It turned out he had faded, but only slightly and said these words as I passed him, looking ahead to the next runner ahead of us, “You’ve still got time.” I smiled to myself at that. The competitive bugger was still looking to get ahead of other runners even though it might be through me that he overtakes them, rather than in his own body.
I can’t tell you how excited I felt as I rounded the top of the last small hill, knowing that I was about to get onto the last km of the race to the finish line.
KM15: 3:50 (including the slight hill)
At KM15, Paranoia set in. I was convinced the guy I’d pulled away from was going to chase me down and pip me to the line. I didn’t want that to happen. So, I ended up running the last km in 3:32, finishing in 7th place overall! Woohoo!! That last km time is quite an achievement in itself, as I couldn’t stop myself from having a good look behind me on a regular basis to relieve my paranoia!
As I crossed the finish line, I realised I couldn’t see a finish line, so I kept running right through the funnel to the end! I then picked up my goody bag and a nice drink of well-deserved water, before claiming my finisher’s t-shirt (went for baby blue over baby pink!)
So, I managed to realise my goal of running this race in under 1 hour, in an official time of 59:29!! Full results can be found here: http://www.cix.co.uk/~neper/notts10/results.htm
I’ll give my reactions in full in my next blog post, but suffice to say that I was utterly delighted with my effort and relieved that I’d managed to get under the hour goal I’d set myself, without burning up before the end.
It’s taken me a while to get this blog post together as I was hoping I could include a pic of me during the race, but sadly there was no official photographer and I can’t find any images of me on the ones shared on Notts Athletic Club’s website. If I find one, I’ll add it!
Finally, the kit I wore for the race:
Saucony Fiya trainers
Donnay trainer socks
Nike black running shorts
Strava running vest by pearl izumi
Cheapo budget sporty sunglasses
Karrimor waist belt
Next up: post-race reaction from friends, evaluation of my performance and my future running plans!