Today was the day i’d discover whether or not a loosely laid out training plan works for me. Having cobbled something together based around fast runs mid-week and longer, slightly slower (but rarely slow) runs at the weekends, I was intrigued to fing out how it’d work.
After last week’s 6 miles at superbly easy, fast pace, I wasn’t hoping for too much, fearing i’d become a short, short distance runner and wouldn’t last the full route at such a pace.
The stats speak for themselves though, really.
1 hour, 37 minutes and 29 seconds.
The Garmin played up and showed 1.14 miles at the 1 mile mark and I panicked i’d not have a virtual partner to drag me around, indicated by mile 2 being whipped out in 7.09 pace. Then, at mile 2, I read exactly 2 miles so maybe the marker wasn’t spot on in location. Or maybe something adjusted itself. Whatever it was, every mile after was within 0.1 on the Garmin and I finished with it showing 13.12 and I don’t think it comes fairer than that.
The race was very good indeed. Getting the 6.53 train wasn’t much fun on a Sunday and it was busy (a game of spot the chip on the trainer was enjoyably conducted. Everyone was. Simple). Spotting Mark, an old bricklayer from 2001, with his wife exactly a year after bumping into him at the Ashford 10k was good, the drizzle as I got off the tube was a faff but then things picked up. I felt odd at the start, neither sprightly or low, just very nervous, but good baggage drops and enough toilets (at least for blokes) made for a smooth trip to the start. The start itself was ok – I got in the right pace area for a change, taking 1 minute to cross the line, then settling immediately into target race pace without too much jostling. In fact, very little overtaking or being overtaken went on. The only pinch point was the hairpin on Westminster bridge, after this things thinned out and a good run started to unfold. I settled in with a semi-pro footballer, a woman who was effortlessly gliding along and a bloke called James. Least, I hope he was since everyone kept yelling to him to carry on! The footballer dropped back at the 8 mile mark, the woman came past at 12 miles, I follwed and passed and lead and followed, then fell alongside James pretty much from mile 3 to the finish – he disappeared over the last 400m or so when I couldn’t be arsed to sprint!
The carrot and runner beans at 4 miles were surprising in their pace – took until 7 miles before I heard no more shouts of encouragement for them – if they’re that quick in fancy dress, god knows how quick they’ll be in shorts and that. Thankfully, they’ll not be proving it to me any time soon!
The other amazing thing of note, and not something i’ve had demonstrated to such startling effect before, was at mile 7. I couldn’t believe one of the race leaders (I hope! He was running behind the official car, but couldn’t have been the winner unless it was a slow racewinning time) had already sprinted through 10 miles, had a massive gap to the runner behind him, looked fresh as a daisy and was striding longer than I can long jump. Absolutely incredible.
The worst bit, for me, was the final straight. To see the finish clock from so far away, know there’s a good distance to go until you reach it, have a good margin of comfort on the Garmin for the target time and be knackered at the same time, discouraged any form of pace lift at all. I promised that i’d sprint if the time went to 1.38, but since it didn’t, I had no sprint. Good effort, though.
Made into an all round blinder of a day by meeting up with EatingTrees, Hauling My Carcass, JogBlog and Sophie (HMC’s girlfriend) for a couple of pints and a pizza. Super, splendid. I’ll link to a photo when Cathy uploads it.
Now, about that 7 minutes, 29 seconds to get me under 1.30…after the aching left knee and spirits have recovered, of course.