Sunday, 28 March 2010

Racing Rituals

I'm just nicely home after a far too early start to a Sunday. I have just survived the horriblest race I can remember. No offence to Wilmslow mind, the course and event were race organisation at its best; with loads of loos and shiny bunches of bright balloons tied to the lampposts along the start and finishing miles. There were loads of supporters around the undulating course too, including quite a few mad villagers clanging pots and pans in a frenzy. It certainly worked as I managed to muster the odd spurt just to escape the racket.

Today was the English Half Marathon Champs so I’d been questioning my sanity entering this whilst so training tired. The timing of the event is great though and quite a nice course too. I set out this morning framing the day as a chance for a strong training run with a hope I’d come away with a great quality threshold session under my belt and a bit of a taste for racing again.

The line up was impressive with the likes of Michelle Ross-Cope and Rebecca Robinson; stars of English distance running and out for great times at London this year. I tried not to freak out at the other fantastic looking ladies around me; all small pants, rippling lady muscles and long socks. I quivered inside.

I’ve been keeping quiet about this but I’ve been enjoying some expert training advice of late from a very long established athletics coach. A new experience for me as I’ve never worked with a formal coach before. We’d discussed my strategy for race day over coffee last week. The idea was to let rip at the start and see how long I could hang on. So, let rip I did. 5.30 for mile one. The pace continued to be pretty frightening until mile 8 when things started to decline; the howling wind tunnel that met with every turn spat me out of the other side like an empty husk. Unfortunately, the recent training miles started to shout out at my legs to slow down and I gradually dropped off pace. The final miles slowing to over 6 minute miles and worse on some of the final climbs. Wilmslow is NOT a flat course!

Wilmslow is supposed to be fast. I reckon that’s more about the types that turn up to race than the course itself. I hit miles 9-12 with dead legs but in 5th place. Just as I recovered to run the final mile home I then got gazumped by two young and far too fresh looking lasses, leaving me dead in 7th place. I finished. Just. The time clocked 77.43 and I was so glad it was over. The race felt tough from start to finish and I felt desperate for home and a hot bubble bath. All in all though it was a great session on the back of what will be nearly 100 miles running this week. M drove home with a yawning and snoring RB in the passenger seat. Where would I be without him...? Race results here.


Mark H said...

The last part of your report says everything.
You are in unknown territory doing 100mpw so you are bound to be tired going into the race.

You still did a very good time all things considered , and the marathon is the big picture for you at present.
You won't be running that on tired untapered legs and I'm sure you will have a stormer.

So , chin up RB , or else I shall have to give you a damn good talking to the next time I see you ;)

That wind was awfull today.

Julie said...

Hi Sarah,
Congrats for job well done!! Seventh place is awesome:) You ran your first miles crazy fast!! I have to hand it to you...even when your are tired and over trained, you still run like a champ:) Nice work! I hope that you have a great week!

Henry Heavisides said...

I think that you can take a lot of positive things from that race..... 7th in the English championships, racing without any taper, solid run in tough conditions. Keep up the good work.

Hayfella said...

Don't be downhearted rb. That was a fantastic run. You'll be well rested before the big one - and you won't have lost an hour's kip because of the clocks! Very well done.

ultra collie said...

i say sack your coach!
great time though
imagine how you might have done 10 miles running fast steady then blasting the final 3.1?
sorry, contradictory suggestions abound
hope you enjoyed it though looking back
closest ive come to 7th was 7th last i reckon

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