Three weeks on from the 5 mile, today was the next step along the path. The weather meant it was a beautiful day with some sun and >15C. Actually this was a run so not so much.
I had intended on doing some speed training between the five mile today, and I did manage to get a few different ones in. Hill Repeats, great for cycling, a little painful when running, some sprints of sorts, even some humpty dumpties (called that way for the pace up and downs), and all that only in the first week.
Things were looking up.
So in week 2 decided to go for it and see what kind of speed I could hit. I went all out for 5km and got a respectable 4:23min/km. One of the harder runs I’d done for sure, but given I just needed a sub 4:30min/km to get a sub 45minute finish, it was a bit positive. Unfortunately the rest of the week didn’t work out so well and the training didn’t go exactly as planned. It ended with an LSR run that had a pretty slow pace. Worst was how it dropped off throughout.
The final week leading to the race went mostly ok. Not setting training before hand played a part and I didn’t do as much as I should. And I missed Fridays session due to a complete lack of energy which meant a run on Saturday. Not ideal for running so I’m told, but then perhaps I do better with some training stress before an event.
The Race Itself
At the start line I was wondering which way I’d target things. I had already agreed with myself that a sub 45min finish was out of the question. Really it wasn’t going to happen, especially since how tired I felt. The course was meant to finish up a steep hill with a tight road, an obvious bottleneck if there ever was one, so my goal became be 49:10. (Yes my memory was a little off given that one was a PB of 49:40).
So off we went and this time I had learnt how to use my GPS. i.e. I started it without stopping it again. This was one area where I will fault the event somewhere. Yes there were pens, but they weren’t marked, at least not at them. Down on the back main street had signs for which pens were which, but I honestly couldn’t fault people for being in the wrong ones. (Well expect for the walker at very front in the middle of the road. That was just rude). Anyway this setup meant the first km was spent wiggling around people while things tried to settle.
There must have been more people doing this event (timing company says 3229) than the 5 mile run as the roads were wider, but it was harder to move through people. Running down the by-pass it did start to thin out and there was enough room to move. But already by this point I was feeling the heat. For whatever rest my gps seemed like it was getting heat stroke too showing a 3:23 min/km when I looked at it. I took this as a sign to ease back a bit and the averages started to fix themselves.
I believe there were course changes as we didn’t go through Applewood, and instead of going straight along the pitches, we first turned back up north street, down by the castle, then around by the water treatment plant. It wasn’t the only change, as the final cut up by the old ESB shop was changed to take the longer way up towards the Lord Mayors. Given that road was wider and not as steep, perhaps a good thing. I do have a weakness running downhill and was passed quite a bit on the decent, but I’m pretty sure I re-passed everyone on the way back up. Cycling technique at is best.
Annoyingly I took the point at the bottom as a good enough place to switch onto the timer function. The watch read 43 minutes and something, and we were already into km 9. Could it be possible? Could I do it? Thoughts raced and I just had to try.
Onward I went, pushing hard but not hard enough that I’d blow up. By the time I was passing the ESB building it was already reading 44 minutes on the GPS. Given the finish sign was only at the lights it’d be an easy run to get there.
The finish was actually at the bottom of the main street. Hard as I could I pushed. But it was a long run that seemed so far. 45 minutes showed on the clock and I was still a ways to go. Given it was only 300-400meters, it really felt longer, watching those seconds tick by, but all the while seeing the finish just there.
In the end I came in with a time of 45:56. Really not bad given that I felt quite sick before heading out in the morning. Timing people gave me a chip position of 531, and a category position of 235 which is top 20%. Not something I can complain about, more so since this really is my first year of running.