Monday, April 21, 2008

Race Report #5 - 10km in the middle of nowhere (35m 43s)

I have to say going into this race I wasn't overly confident of performing. I'd been a bit sluggish during the week and wasn't feeling like a race. But it was on the calendar so it had to be done. I finished up the weeks training as I'd planned, my weekly routine was the same for Wednesday and Thursday. With Friday being two days before the race I simply did a 4 mile jog with about 4 or 5 bursts of around 250m. I'd a lot on on Saturday so there was nothing done then.

The race was a 10km road race in the middle of nowhere. I reckon if I was still living in Dublin I'd never have gone to a race that far away but with the transport network in London it was fierce easy to get to. A tube from the end of my road took me to the train station where I got a train that left me 100m from the race HQ. God knows how many buses I'd have needed to get in Dublin just to get to and from the various train stations.

The race itself went fairly smoothly. The course was undulating, none of the hills were massive by any stretch but we were constantly going up and down. We were very much in the country side, running along country roads with farm land to the left and right.

I set out with the main group for the first few kilometres, after which they started to get away from me as I found my rhythm. From then on in I was racing strong, no one passed me and I didn't pass anyone. I stayed focused on one guy who was about 10 metres ahead of me the whole time. I constantly pushed to catch him but somehow I could never close that 10 metre gap, it was if he started to push every time I got close to him. Bizarre. I was quite happy at how the hills didn't seem to be any problem to me but then again none of them would come close to anything I was racing up and down in France last year!

Oddly enough at the half way stage I felt fine, 7km, 8km, 9km still fine. There wasn't an extra gear I could go but I wasn't uncomfortable at all. I turned the final corner to see the clock reading out just over 35 minutes so I gave a final sprint to the line where I finished about 10 metres behind the guy in front of me...

Looking back on it I was a bit disappointed as I never felt like I really pushed myself. The feeling at the finish line was as if I could have gone on at that pace for another few miles. I was strong through out but I couldn't go any faster than I was going. The uncomfortable feeling you generally have at half way was never there which annoyed me somewhat. Was I holding back or was that as fast as I could have gone? Did the fact that I wasn't happy with the weeks training make me feel unready and I wouldn't let myself go all out? My coach simply asked me what he said to me last week which was that I'd be strong and not fast which is exactly what happened. But that comfortable still surprised me. He pointed out that if it was a 10 mile race I'd have hit one hell of a PB and that we haven't trained to go fast so yet so I obviously can't race fast yet. I've got to admit, he makes a fair point there!

Speed training starts in May, next race sees me hit the track for a 5000m... there's going to be a busy summer ahead I think...
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