I’ve been rubbish this year at blogging for Janathon. Although I have been including little #Janathon snippets on Twitter on the days that I haven’t written a full blog post. I have also been sure to exercise each day. Even on days like yesterday, when we had the dreaded email warning us that Ofsted may be with us in the morning. (Luckily not long after, we received a second email letting us know that that was no longer the case…Phew!)
As well as exercising and tweeting about it (when not blogging) each day, I have also been keeping on track with my Jantastic goals. My target number of runs for each week in January was five, which I completed in week one. I’m happy to say that I completed at least five runs again last week (depending on how you count it).
Monday: (no run)
Tuesday: (3.7m easy with Dan)
Wednesday: (6m trail)
Thursday: (4m easy with Dan)
Friday: (10.3m trail)
Saturday: (no run)
Sunday: (1.5 mile run to race, 10k race, 2m to car)
Sunday was my first race of the year and one I went in to without a solid game plan. With the race held just up the road from our running club meeting point and as one of the races selected to make up our trail running league we had a fantastic turnout with 29 of our club turning up to run one of the three distances offered; 5k, 10k or 15k.
The race offers the three distances over a 5k loop. If you are competing in the 10k distance, you run the loop twice…Three times for the 15k. I can have a bit of a love hate relationship with lap courses sometimes and these points sprung to mind over the weekend:
Love them because I know what to expect of the course after the first lap…
Hate them because the course never really thins out from runners…
Love them because the crowd of support is never far away…
Hate them because it’s likely you’ll get lapped…and have to stick to one side of the path for the rest of the run…Usually the muddiest side of the path.
Love them because you can encourage other runners from your club at several points out on the course where the route overlaps.
Because the football team Dan plays for was playing in Wellingborough on Sunday morning I suggested that I share his ride and jump out of the car a mile or so away from the race start line, to allow me time to warm up and get a few extra miles in. After the race I also ran to the park where Dan’s team were playing to wait for him which added an extra two miles to my overall distance for the day.
I never intended on ‘racing’ the 10k Wellingborough Multi-terrain race. I just loved the look of their medal on the Just Racing facebook page (below).In fact, for the first five minutes of the run I casually trotted along next to another member of the club, chatting and laughing away. I wasn’t really aware of the speed which we were running at, but it was slow enough that I could chat and laugh, so I figured it would be fine. As the other runner pulled away in front I took a bit more notice of my surroundings. I’ve run the course numerous times before as it’s so close to home. A mile in from the start of the race is a very steep hill that gets muddy very quickly at this time of year. Especially when several hundred runners have already gone up it infront of you! I powered past a lot of runners here who were busy pussy-footing around the muddy sections (impossible!) or had slowed to a walk. There’s something to be said for training on lots of hills! Luckily the photographer wasn’t at the top of that hill, but instead at the bottom of the muddiest downhill section instead another mile into the course.I don’t do downhill running very well so it’s not the most attractive expression on my face in that photo and I won’t be adding it to my photo wall!
As I began the second lap I realised how comfortable I was finding the race. I glanced at my watch briefly to see 160bpm according to my heart-rate monitor and decided to try and keep my heart rate between 160-165 for the remainder of the race. Or at least until the end was in sight!
I overtook a few more people side stepping muddy puddles through the trees and a huge collection of runners when I ran the steep hill for the second time. The light was just wrong coming up the hill and I was squinting to see what was around me.
The final 3/4 mile is run in sight of the finish line…
…before tucking away again into a back field out of sight, through a thick muddy patch and back into sight as you come along to the finish arch. There was a lot left in me for a sprint finish so I made sure to produce one! No-one was catching me up here! The lady in blue on the far left of that photo had been infront of me for the majority of the race and I used her as my unofficial pacer – a guide to sticking to a regular pace until I got to that final 3/4 mile and then I don’t know where she went! I’m not even sure if she was running the 10k or 15k distance…I’ll have to have a look in a minute. **Edit, just looked, I beat her at the 10k distance by 4 seconds**
As I crossed the line, I spotted someone I’d marshaled with at Country to Capital the day before so stopped for a chat. Normally when I cross the line I either throw myself onto the floor from exhaustion or have to continually pace until my heartrate returns to normal so I was happy with how quickly I was able to recover once over the finishing line here.
I watched the last few runners from our club come over the finish before taking the slow jog over to the football field.
Finishing position: 143/180
Official time: 1:00:37
I was really happy with my finishing time as I took more than two minutes off my time that I’d run the same course last year (62:53) and I’d put much more effort in last year than this. Times aren’t everything though, and I was much more happy about the fact that I’d paced my run consistently, without pressure and remained upright over the finish line!
Lap lover or hater? Can you think of any other lap love/hate comments I’ve forgotten?