my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise
Last Wednesday night, 28th May, over 200 runners congregated on Canal Side next to Beeston Weirfields for Beeston Athletics Club’s annual 5 mile race. It was my first time running in this race, and I was familiar with the location due to Beeston parkrun, whose course also follows paths around the weirfields (albeit in the opposite direction).
Picking up my race number was a quick and straightforward process, and a friendly chap even knew me, saying, ‘Ah, Tim the strava chap.’ I wasn’t sure exactly how to take this, and only later did I realise that it may have been a guy that I’d started following on Strava after I’d seen his name on a few leaderboards for running!
I met up with some other Strava runners, Mike and Chris, and was introduced to David too. More on these guys later! On the start line, I also bumped in to Gav, a similarly-paced runner who runs for Long Eaton Running Club. In a previous post, I wrote about trying out a running club, and it was Long Eaton that I’d tried.
We had a quick run brief before the starting sound went and we were off! I soon settled in near the front in fifth position. I felt great during the first two kilometres and the pace, similar to my 5k parkrun pace, was quite comfortable. Sadly, this feeling of comfort didn’t last, and I was soon dropping off the back of the group and at 2.5km I felt a runner right behind me. After a while, I wasn’t appreciating the fact he was using me as a barrier from the breeze, and dropped the pace slightly. He didn’t take the bait, and stayed on my tail until about 4km, just before we turned left onto the third straight of the long rectangular race loop. At this point, I was starting to tire and got some welcome support from the race marshalls, who were encouraging and also complimented me on my running style. That gave me a bit of a boost, as I was finding the mental battle of running alone a challenge at this point.
When I got to 5k I really needed to dig in, as I knew I was soon to have the breeze behind me, and while I was comfortably ahead of the next placed runner (I was now in 6th position), I didn’t want to let up the pace. I really wanted to secure my place and hope that I would chase down those in front of me, in the vain hope that they would tire over the last few kilometres. It didn’t happen. I overtook no-one, but instead, had the unfortunate experience of having someone zoom past me at about 6.5km. I was now 7th and had to really grit my teeth and dig deep to maintain my speed over that final mile.
At the end of the race, there was a cruel loop to run on a wet field of grass before you finished in front of the changing room complex. I’d planed on running 29 minutes something, giving me a respectable sub 6-minute mile pace for the duration of the race. I actually finished in 28:51, giving me an average pace of 3:35mins/km or 5:45mins/mile. I held off a couple of guys, one of which was Gav I mentioned earlier to make sure of my position.
Since the race, I found out that a friend of mine who is more of a cyclist than a runner now, ran the race a few years ago. He completed the course in 27:03, coming 2nd after leading at one stage. That gives me some motivation to train for, and enter this race again next year. With a time like that, I’d be in with a chance of a top 3 finish!
The event ran smoothly throughout, and the guys I mentioned earlier all ran incredibly fast! You can check out the full set of results here. The weather conditions were pretty much perfect, cool and only a light breeze. There was no rain, although the sky threatened it throughout the evening. The ground was rather wet in places and on a drier day, I think I would have run slightly quicker.
Out of 205 runners, I came 7th. I’m now looking forward to working on a faster 5k time (in pursuit of one of this year’s running goals of doing a sub-17 minute 5k, current 5k PB is 17:24), and hoping to extend my endurance with a 10k race in August and then running a PB at the Robin Hood Half Marathon at the end of September.
My split times for the Beeston AC Trent 5 mile race:
Km 1: 3:21
Km 2: 3:27
Km 2: 3:37
Km 2: 3:41
Km 2: 3:41
Km 2: 3:36
Km 2: 3:39
Km 2: 3:36
You can check out this run on strava here: http://www.strava.com/activities/146619876/overview
To see my running progress, check out this link to a previous post about my 5 mile PB back in February 2013.
Have you run any races recently? What was the biggest challenge for you during the race?
As always, I’d welcome any tips for faster running, race tactics, nutrition expertise, etc.
Also, ff you feel like you’d want to reach out to my readership as another blogger or journalist, please feel free to get in touch about writing a guest article.
Run fast and run free!