Monday, 15 March 2010

A Ritzy Weekend

The weekend kicked off in great style with the arrival of my fab new kit from Brooks. A boxful of running goodies included new trainers, track spikes, some very cool training gear and my extra spangly Brooks race outfit. I've even got some podium wear; a rather fetching Brooks retro bomber jacket, made for looking one's best at those all important presentations. Feeling super stylish I laid out my neatly folded running goodies ready for the early start on Sunday.
Saturday was also treat filled; a belated birthday trip for M to the Ritz for afternoon tea provided a much needed carbo-loading opportunity. The short journey via Waterloo Station was followed by a suspenseful cab ride for M. We arrived at the Ritz in our best frocks for a proper afternoon tea. The outing promised unlimited supplies of perfectly cut sandwiches, fresh cream scones and the most beautiful cakes my eyes have ever seen; all of this in the most sumptuous Art Deco surroundings.
I sipped my Assam from lovely bone china tea cups whilst M attacked the cream scones. It was surprisingly filling; the four of us only making it through three tea stands before we were well and truly beaten! I was secretly wishing I'd prove to have better endurance on race day. A walk via Trafalgar Square burned off a bit of cake before we turned back for home and some pre-race resting up.
At 6am on Sunday the alarm sounded and we wolfed down our improvised and unappealing hotel room breakfast; I never fancy eating with a nervy race tummy but the race made it all the more important to force down the fuel. We set off early with Old Man Teasey as our support and arrived at the race start in plenty of time.
The Tempest 10m and Spitfire 20m are combined races sharing a 10 mile loop starting from Dunsfold Aerodrome. The course loops through undulating country road before turning back onto pancake flat airfield at miles 8 and 18. I wasn't quite sure what kind of warm-up to do on my first 20 miler but it was nippy and breezy and my ultra sleek Brooks kit lacked any cosy feel. After some delay we were off to a fast start but the advertised course was unexpectedly undulating and windy, making pacing tricky, particularly with a mix of 10m racers in the pack to add to the racing confusion.
There were no ladies to be seen as I settled in with a couple of blokes; a brief chat reassured me their plans for sub 2.45 marathon pace was about right. I'd spotted M up ahead and tried to avoid any chasing. The race pace was surprisingly laid back and relaxing, very different to the usual experience of lung-bursting and eyeball-popping hard work over 10k. I ran strong as the miles ticked by eagerly until mile 8 and the turn back onto the airfield; the windy blast nearly ground me to a halt.
A battle over the next mile or two saw me eventually wave a big 'well done' to M on his fantastic second place position at the 10-mile finish. I ran on to start my second lap and was by this time feeling a wee bit lonely, having left my racing company behind. I pressed on into the wind and kept on clocking my miles; the pacing was all over the place. The going was good but getting noticeably harder as the wind still blew and my legs remembered all the hard work they'd done this week. By mile 17 I was starting to tire and braced myself for the final windy blasts up to the finish. The wind seemed to have gained in strength or else I was that bit weaker, but once again my pace plummeted as I battled against the tormentor, focused and determined on the final push.
I came to the finish having run the last 12 alone, placing 9th overall and winning as first lady by a healthy margin. I was chuffed to have survived my first 20M race relatively unscathed and enjoyed the comfort of being met by M and his Old Man over the line. A good race result I think. The final time of 2:06:21 saw me average 6.18 over a fairly tough course. I'm happy with that, as was M with his run after a tough training week; our first and second places got us both in the prizes, though sadly no presentation was to be had on the day. I'll have to save the new outfit for another time. Results here.


Julie said...

Hi Sarah,
Oh my God, you shock and amaze me!! Congrats on kicking some big time butt!! You did so awesome...Good Lord, you kept a 6:18 pace throughout the entire race!!!! I ran one mile hard tonight and my time was 6:50...that was one mile at that pace and I wanted to puke after:) I then went back to my 8 something pace:) Looks like I need a little work! Congrats to M too!! You two are so darn cute!! Sarah, I love your pony tails:) Also thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures as they were fun to look at!! Congrats again, both of your have every reason to feel proud!

ultra collie said...

excellent runing rb, no wonder youre pleased!
and boy do you guys scrub up well..looks and sounds like an altogether fab (retro word) weekend

Mark H said...

Never mind the running , it's the cakes that's got me drooling .. although having just checked out the Ritz afternoon tea menu prices , I was wondering Sarah , how I'm fixed for a loan from all your winnings of late??
then I'll book a table for next month :)

Antony Bradford said...

Gosh, it really is a good life been a champion. I hope you still keep in touch.

Hayfella said...

Brilliantly well done rb. Makes all those splashy track sessions in the freezing fog all worthwhile. Perhaps you could get sponsored by The Ritz too!Such style.

Old Runningfox. said...

Excellent performance RB and a cracking time in the windy conditions. Looks like the other women in the race never stood a chance! You've earned and deserve every bit of that new sponsor kit from Brooks, not to mention being entertained at the Ritz!
So proud of you.

T.C. said...

Well done! You kept up a fine time in spite of that nasty wind! Tea at the Ritz sounds heavenly...

kate said...

assam with afternoon tea!!! surely that should be high tea. i prefer the delicate flavours of a ceylon for afternoon tea ;)

....great running too. you must be brimming with confidence

Runningbear said...

Thanks for your enthusiastic comments Julie, not sure if you've heard of 'tea at the Ritz' but its such a famous English institution that its definitely a 'to do' list experience for many. The cakes were out of this world.

Don't worry bloggers, I shall not be forgetting my humble origins (and anyway I didn't pay!). It felt champion to have been and done it though. I'm sure those scones were rocket fuel, top fuel tip there Kate ;)

Simon Anderson said...

Very well done on your first 20 mile race. A PB!

I urge caution at this point in The Plan. It's around this stage that people tend to fatigue or pick up injuries. Remember to take a few steps back from time to time i.e v easy week.

Best wishes,


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