Posted: 22/03/2015 at 21:53
Conflicting emotions going into this one. Training has gone well all winter, racing a bit less so. The morning dawned bright, chilly and calm - ideal really, and although I felt a bit rough, and a calf decided to grumble, I put this down to pre-race hypochondria and put both out of my mind. A big gathering for this one with my wife, sister-in-law, nephew and his girlfriend all running as well, and thus lots of support from the rest of that side of the family.
Interminable queues for the loos delayed the warm up, but I was happy enough with what I got in, the legs felt lively, the morning malaise had passed, and entering the pens, seeing a couple of familiar faces, we waited to get on with it...and waited...and waited...and waited. A 999 call on the course it seems. Grrr.
10 minutes later, finally we're off, and I'm probably a bit far forward. The plan to go off within myself at around 6:15s is immediately out of the window, and I'm sucked into a 5:58 first mile. Ooops. I feel fine, but wary of what happened at Rushcliffe, I let the average pace I'm tracking myself by slowly drift back towards 6:05, and then settle into a rhythm - this is nice. Beep - too nice...6:22 for Mile 2 says the Garmin. Oops again. Right, wake up FFS.
Settling into a rhythm again, but this time keeping a closer eye on pace, there's a nice little group forming round me, and despite a bit of an incline as we head towards the 5k mark, the pace is rock steady at 6:10. A former 'rival' of Lit as one of the leading local ladies down here who seems to currently be on the comeback trail after some time out, comes past. She's likely to be a far smarter runner than me, I'll use her as a pacer rather than constantly referring to the GPS.
6:12 for Mile 3, and through 5k in 19:15 feeling fine - this'll do nicely. Apart from the climb to the cathedral at the end, we're probably at the highest point of the course here, and the next 2 miles are gently downhill, I begin to push on. 6:10 for Mile 4 feeling ruddy marvellous and full of running. Thanks to Nat Teece for the pacing, but she's one of several I ease past in Mile 5 - 6:04, and 30:45 at 5 Miles. Since Mile 2 the average pace has never wavered outside of a tight range of 6:09 to 6:11, and it currently reads 6:09. Time for the final climb, and I remember how much this hurt last year - do I want to hurt myself like that again...?
I barely ran in anger for 6 weeks afterwards, I'm happy with the time I'm heading for, so decide I'll just try to keep my rhythm and rather than pick up pace, will wait until average pace drops below 6:10/mile then abandon reference to the Garmin, and just push on without ragging myself from there. At this point last year we were into the teeth of a strong southerly, and as folk were blowing up spectacularly all round me, the cacophony of the crowds combined with the effort I was pouring on had made me giddy. Today I'm able to lap up the atmosphere, and whilst I'm working hard, am enjoying what has been a cruise from first mile to last.
There's the finish line, a final pick up of pace, across the line and stop the watch. Right, let's have a look...38:25...almost a minute off the PB - later revised down to 38:24 on the chip - again, that will do nicely.
A winter's training finally sees some tangible reward, and although it will have to wait for another day, I'm confident there's plenty more in the tank.
A 5 minute PB for Mrs BBB who is now well down into 53:xx territory, and good debuts for the other 3 too. Massive roast in the pub afterwards...today was a good day.