You know those days when you wake up and you know you won’t enjoy something? Today was one of those days. For whatever reason I knew things would be off. Perhaps it is just a combination of the long build up in training, pushing too far on the last LSR with no water, or giving blood last week that did it. Who knows? It probably didn’t help to feel this way before the race.
Going into the race I wasn’t sure where to aim time wise. The 10 mile does seem a bit strange that way at the pace I’m running right now. There is no easy round goals to shot for. Right now I’m hitting between 5 and 5:30 most days in training with the LSRs being much slower. In fact these last 2 weeks or so have had the pace all over the place, no way consistent, and usually dropping way off as the distance goes on. I was expecting as much during today’s race.
Once again I went into the race with my usual level of preparedness, i.e. none. I knew it was in the park, but that is where it ended. As it turned out we were to run down the main straight away, and we were to do it twice. Then onwards around the usual back part that all the other races take to the finish.
I started in the second pen today, 80 to -95 minutes I think. A good round goal of 90 minutes seemed doable since that only required a 5:35 split. With the watch set at 5:30km/min off we went. There is definitely a difference in starting at the front of a pen and at the back. Things don’t space out anywhere near as quickly. Luckily some people had the great idea of moving onto the grass verge on the side which meant a much clearer path as I followed. My goal of 5:30km/min quickly went out the window as my pace was sitting around 4:30km/min during the straight. Worse still, even though I felt bad and tried to slow down I just couldn’t.
At this pace I did end up passing quite a few people and even found myself doing those little sprints to get by as others slowed, but it was taking its toll, mentally more than anything. As we were completing KM6 and coming back onto the main straightaway, my stomach decided it was wanted in on the action as started its usual pain. Really not the place to start thinking Why the hell am I doing this? I’m not even enjoying it! But since I don’t really understand the concept of giving up, I kept going. Sure I had time to burn until the cycle home so I might as well keep running.
Water water everywhere, so let’s all have a drink!
Giving my level of preparedness, I was slightly counting on the water stops. It didn’t help when the first one was before the 3mile mark, much too early, for me at least. The second one was after 7miles which is probably about right, but it is very, very hard to drink from cups while running. More ends up on your face than in your mouth unless you stop, or perhaps I need some lessons? The water probably hurt more than it helped as well given than my pace dropped off quite a bit after I drank. More and more often in future as I’ll carry a bottle for sure.
The last few KM really were a slog. Funnily there were two or three people who kept the same pace as me from early on and kept appearing, falling back, appearing, falling back, or most likely it was me being inconsistent, but it provided some amusement.
Nearing the last corner I could hear the guy doing the commentary. An aside, that guy definitely adds to the atmosphere and it is amazing just how he keeps talking throughout. But as I was coming home he was announcing that the first group had just under two minutes to cross to break the 80 minute mark. Immediately my head starts racing thinking oh no, how long is left and do I need to speed up. It wasn’t my target but it’s a round boundary. Luckily I remembered that there was a 3 minute gap between the two groups, and that would easily give me ample time to finish without speeding up or worse, sprinting the finish.
Once over the line, so begins the death march to collect a t-shirt and the goodie bag. I was looking forward to the sports drink more than anything; the whole zombie mode isn’t enjoyable. Disappointingly the t-shirt was white today which means it’ll have chocolate on it. Every white tee I’ve owned has ended up that way the first day so perhaps if we don’t touch this one it’ll remain safe.
The journey home on the bike was a slow drag. With very little in the legs it proceeded at a pace I haven’t experienced in a long while, bad enough to question the smartness of cycling in the first place. However given that I don’t feel as bad as I have after the LSRs of recent, perhaps it did help.
For the record
My official time was 1:21:17, Pos 1224. Chip time of 1:18:26 Rank 1134 which matches very closely to my gps record. A Category position of 458. Definitely down on the last race but I’m happy with it, much better than I expected going into it, but I’m glad its over. Only one more stepping stone to go before the big day.