For the past few weeks, the Facebook page for this event has been promising a surprise for today. Unfortunately, this had to be postponed for another day. I’m no nearer knowing what this surprise is except we were told we would need to bring a camera: very intriguing. Could it be someone famous attending – maybe even a famous runner? There are a few living in this part of the country. We’ll have to wait for this surprise to be rescheduled to find out.
So for this week the weather forecast predicted heavy rainfall the night before the race. This would have made certain parts of the course quite tricky as it is prone to waterlogging and gets very slippery in places. Thankfully the rainfall was a lot less than anticipated; conditions were actually quite good.
My aim this week was to run my fastest time in 2016 and also run sub 25 mins for the first time this year. To aid in achieving these targets I eased down in training, a few days before, as I felt a bit leggy at a couple of Parkruns recently. Another boost is that my timber-loss program is still going well. This weekend I was between 1 – 2lb lighter than the previous weekend. That was cause for a celebration and I duly obliged with a few glasses of red and a Chinese takeaway Saturday night (post Parkrun).
There was a good turnout with well over 200 runners but it can make for a congested start to the race as it is on a fairly narrow path. I positioned myself about a third of the way down the assembled runners on the start line, from the front. I got into my running quite well, none of the stiffness I suffered from the week before, and found by the time we had got into the country park that I was in a good rhythm. To be honest, I felt like I maintained that all the way round.
Once I had run along the path at the top of the reservoir, where the course is at its most exposed, I knew I was on track for a good time. I still felt strong and wasn’t experiencing any problems. Psychologically, you know at this point there is only (approximately) a mile to go which helps you draw on your reserves. I worked hard over the last part of the course but wondered if I could have dug deeper and ultimately produced a quicker time. During this stage of the race, I was catching and overtaking runners, which also aids in maintaining pace.
Being a flat-track runner, I’ve never liked the finish of this race, which is uphill before a sharp turn onto the field. I ran strongly to the line and didn’t see my time until I was out of the funnel. I just about managed to achieve both objectives with a time of 24.53.
While warming down with a jog around the field I still felt there was quite a bit of running left in my legs. This is odd as I usually feel totally spent, and then I remembered how I felt over the last part of the course. If my theories correct; faster times may be ahead. I just need to race regularly, gear my training to improving VO2 Max, and limit the alcohol and takeaways.