Well today I ran the most local race I’ll probably ever run. Literally on my doorstep practically. With Edinburgh next week I was torn over weather to use this as a ‘race’ or a long run. Runners will know theres a big difference. With the added heat of today I was unsure if my idea to ‘race’ it was sensible. But I’m too competitive for my own good even if its only with myself and I wanted to give it my best to knock some time off my personal best.
We arrived bright and early at the Race HQ as chips had to be collected on the day, I have to admit that did bug me a bit as I do prefer it when chips are sent out ahead of time and then just collected in at the end like Silverstone. There was zero queues so we quickly got ours and sat outside in the shade to put them on before having two toilet trips, I was very thankful for that second one as I’d had a bottle of lucozade and turns out I really needed it! Think I would have been running it with crossed legs otherwise! We headed for the start and I believe we started on time. I didn’t have my phone on to know what time it was but it was all well organised and prompt with no waiting around.
The route is run on mostly open roads with assistance from police and marshalls to deal with traffic control at junctions. The first part involves a loop from about 2km through to 4km nothing too daunting, just a tad boring running the same stretch of road. After that it heads down towards Laleham on a boring straight road and then a left turn onto another long boring road but for some reason today I didn’t find them long and boring. I had set my sights on 10minute miles or thereabouts. Anything around that I was going to be happy with. I went out fast which was ok in the long run really and I still managed to keep the pace up with my average pace being 10:10 so I was happy. I struggled a bit around 4km and felt the pace dipping a bit but taking on some water at the halfway point seemed to help although it was the dreaded cups. Running and drinking from a cup does not working and it really bugs me when races use them! It means if you really need to drink properly you have to slow to a walk or stop to take it on without taking in air at the same time. I grabbed a second cup and threw it over my head and back as I was really starting to bake at that point. My best friend who I was running with got a stitch and needed to slow and told me to head off, I was a bit gutted tbh as I’d envisaged us crossing the line together so I was a bit sad about that but decided to just put my foot down and go for it.
Before I knew it 8km was approaching and I knew with only 2km to go I still had a lot left in the tank and could keep pushing. A lovely lady was holding a tub of ice cubes for runners to grab so I got a few and sucked those for a minute, they were greatly appreciated in the heat! Then it was time to round the corner and head for the road home. Because it was local I knew all the landmarks and what was where which kind of helped really because in my head I was like come on 1.5km is nothing just GO! As the 400m sign came into sight I gave it my all and sped up all I could before rounding the corner back towards the finish line with the 200m sign and I sprinted with everything I possibly could. Finishing I stopped my garmin unsure of what time it was going to show as I have it set to show me distance and pace. I could have jumped for joy *but I didn’t for fear of looking a prat* when I saw I’d knocked a minute off my 1km PB! A very happy day!
The finish funnel was a bit of a nightmare as you had to get your chip taken off and then it wasn’t well signposted where any water was, as you can imagine I was gasping! Unfortunately you don’t get given your medal straight away either as you have to head over to the leisure centre to pick it up which is a bit anti climatic! I like races where you cross the line and someone plonks a medal straight over your head!
The organisation wasn’t perfect but then its a small race and I wouldn’t expect it to be. Seeing as water was in cups it would have been nice if they had added an extra water station somewhere due to the heat but you can’t have everything. Would I run it again? Yes. Maybe next year I’ll be on sub 1hr 10kms! Fingers crossed!