Posted: 20/07/2015 at 21:10
A gap in my race schedule and the sense, after Ryton 5 a couple of weeks ago, that I am currently feeling ‘up for it’, led me to look for potential pb opportunities and this low key club race suggested by Charlie looked ideal (apart from the late start and relatively long distance to travel). I’m just approaching the end of mesocycle 2 of my summer schedule, so still some way off what I hope will be my peak for the summer season, but fancied the opportunity to improve on a soft 10k pb achieved with a bit of a cold last autumn.
The heavens opened during the journey to Worcester and I could definitely see the tops of the trees swaying beside the M42, but on arrival the sun came out and the tree lined racecourse seemed reasonably sheltered. In any case, I told myself, the racecourse is aligned north south so the prevailing westerly will only be a headwind on the northern curve. No excuses!
I arrived early and after a decent warm-up, lined up with one fellow clubmate who was also hoping for a pb and a gaggle of Kenilworth Runners who were out in force. However, I had noticed a bit of a bottleneck formed by some of those white horsey fences shortly after the start, so decided to move forward a bit and found Charlie a few rows back from the front.
And we’re off. As predicted the first few hundred metres were a bit congested, but the field quickly thinned out and I settled in behind the Kenilworth lady and her BRAT chaperone, mentioned by Charlie, for a while before I pressed on and they dropped back. The same tall grey lad went past me and I tried to tuck in behind to shelter from the wind, but he was travelling to fast for me so I let him go. First lap was right on target and I felt reasonably comfortable – or as comfortable as you can in a 10k. 6:16, 6:20.
Early in each lap there is a little dog-leg through an old gate and straight into the wind for a 20m or so, enough to tell me that the wind had picked up a bit on the second lap. On various exposed sections on the back straight I try to find shelter from the wind, but everyone seemed to be slowing, so I have to brave the elements and press on. It’s a cross wind – I keep telling myself. 6:32, 6:28.
Third lap and BRAT and Ken lady come passed me. I’d lost quite a bit of time on the previous lap, but now the end is in sight (it is if I look sideways across the racecourse) so I decide to step up a bit. Leave BRAT and Kenilworth, pass grey lad, who seems to have slowed to a leisurely jog, along the exposed section beside the river (IT’S A CROSS WIND), startle a plump lady walking her dog (I wonder if she will be similarly startled an further 270 times over the next half hour). Last half mile. GRRR. 100m out past a guy in blue, but he responds and just pips me across the line. 6:25, 6:14 (& 5:41 pace for the .2)
Official time of 39:20, so marginally below target but still a 20 second pb, VDOT back to the maximum achieved at the end of last season and a good benchmark for the rest of the summer. Great race by the way – definitely recommend it anyone local looking for something quick and cheap with a nice shiny medal to boot.