Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Race Report #15 - Wimbledon 10k (34m 42s)

As I turned the final bend and could see the home straight with the digital clock saying 34 minutes and thirty odd seconds I have to admit my first feeling was one of disappointment. It had been a good race, a race that I thought up until that second could have been a PB, then in one instant, just be seeing that clock I could see I'd already missed out. Nothing else to do but put the head down and use every last bit of energy to finish. In the end I crossed the line in 34:42, a mere 17 seconds from my PB. The fact that two people passed me in the last kilometre was always going to add to my immediate frustration, whereas in the preceding 9 not even a handful had passed me. The disappointment lasted all of a minute I'd say. I copped on that I'd run a tough race, a tougher course than my last 10k but by far in more favourable weather conditions. Some day I'll find the perfect course and get the perfect weather as well!

The early morning race time had me slightly concerned beforehand, but on the day in question it wasn't a bother at all. I woke up (for about the umpteenth time) at 6.30am and had a bowl of porridge. After that it was back to bed until 7.45am. From there it was up and out and to the race. I got to the race just before 9am which allowed me plenty of time for stretching and a 20 minute warm up. As I jogged around the rugby pitches by the start I felt great. My legs felt so fresh that I couldn't wait to get started.

I got myself right to the front for the start. It was a big field (750+) with a narrow starting chute so I'd lose a bit of time if I didn't get that start at the front. As we set off one lad, who looked the part, shot off to the front and it was clear as the day that he was going to keep that pace and I wasn't go to be anywhere near him come the end, so I let him go on. No one came near me though which surprised me somewhat. For the first kilometer I was out in second, a good distance from first and no one behind me. Bollix! The pace didn't seem too bad, I could still see the lead car at the first kilometre marker. How annoying must it be to behind a car with a clock for a whole race?! The clock read 3.20 at that point. That's about what I would have wanted it to say, a sub 34 minute pace. I still wish there'd been a few around helping me through this pace.

Running on my todd ended soon enough, before or after 2km I'm not sure, a group of four glided past me. Again, Bollix. My thoughts went to had I gone out too fast? Was I now going backwards? Will the next 8 kilometres see me struggle? Have I fucked this up so early on? My breathing was heavy and the four were getting further ahead of me, while also spreading out a bit amongst themselves. Soon enough my breathing got less laboured and I was closing on the last of the four. Heading up an incline, I went past him. Now it was his time to have negative thoughts! The last thing you want in a race is to pass someone and then have them re-pass you later on. I could tell when I went by that his breathing was heavier than mine and I wasn't going to see him again.

Usually when I'm told a race has a big hill or is hilly I take it with a pinch of salt. They never seem to be as bad as I'm led to believe, and seriously in France every race had a hill in it bigger than anything I'd had to run up in Ireland or England. Sunday put an end to that. There was a massive hill just before the half way point. It lasted for around 600m and really took it out of the legs. Between that massive hill and the winding roads, we never went more than 400m without turning, this course was proving to be a tough one. Soon after the hill the quads got another test. Going back down! This wasn't as steep as the climb up, but it was longer, probably just over a kilometre. This saw a huge increase in the pace I was going at, but not enough to close the gap on the person ahead of me. By the time that ended and we were back to undulating it was 8 kilometres and my quads were burning. Just before the downhill section I'd picked off another of the group of four who'd passed me early on. With 2 kilometres to go I was up to forth and pushing hard to get home.

From there on in it was a battle to finish. I think I was slowing up a bit. Every now and again I inserted bursts of speed to try get the tempo moving again. As I mentioned at the start, 2 lads past me over the last kilometre to push me further down the rankings. One of them breezed past me far too easily and nonchalantly asked me if we only had 1 kilometre to go. I grunted something and on he "jogged". At first I thought that he mustn't have been in the race and he was out doing some training or other, but a glance at his ankle to see a chip attached to it proved that suspicion wrong. That was probably more soul destroying than the fact that someone else passed me a minute later.

All in all a good end to the road racing this season. It would have been nicer to have PB'd, but I'll take the time I got. Only this morning when I clicked on the results I spotted that I was actually on the winning team. No idea if there was a prize for that or not. I didn't even think of it after the race. Two other lads from my club, who I never met before, finished 19th and 20th to give us first place. Now it's time to figure out what I'm up to next... I'll keep you posted!
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