Saturday, April 08, 2006

Run, number 69!!!

Another weekend, another race. Today it was a local 5k that I didn't really put much (any) effort into training specifically for, I just ran it because it was on really. Is that a sign of being addicted to racing, that I run because there's a race?

Anyway, the organisation seemed pretty shitty, it was very badly publicised, they didn't send out race numbers - just a letter saying we'd have to pick them up on the day (and even that only arrived on about Thursday), at the end there was a slip in the goodie bag saying that the medals weren't ready and they'd send them on, and there wasn't a clock at the finish or any mile markers. Apart from that, it was a good race...

(God, I'm getting picky about race organisation! I really am a runner now!)

With it being local I was amazingly relaxed. Compared to Race for Life (my first and only other 5k, round the same park) I was almost horizonal I was so relaxed. I was still wandering round the house in my pyjamas at 10am, for an 11am race that I needed to register for. A slowish jog down to the park to warm up (about 10 minutes), a brief moment of panic when my name wasn't on the computer (despite me having a confirmation of my registration in my hand), and still plenty of time to stand around waiting took way less than an hour. I wasn't impressed with my number though. 69. What sort of girl do they think I am???

Luckily, the weather was horrible so for most of the race my number was safely zipped under my jacket. I just opened it up a bit at the beginning and the end so the marshalls could see my number. Not that I was ashamed of it or anything...

On the start I found myself right at the front. That didn't last for long, but once I got going there was relatively little movement in the field. We started off uphill, by the time we hit the flat (400m or so?) everyone was pretty much in position. From there on I overtook a couple of people on a downhill, someone overtook me on an uphill and I overtook one or two people in the second half of the race. OK, it was only a small field (I don't know exactly how many, but there wasn't even a toilet queue, which is a good indication it was small!), but the field seemed very spread out compared to the other races I've done. I was nowhere near the "lead vehicle" (bloke on a bike), but I knew there were plenty of people behind me.

Going round I knew that there were 5 women in front of me. At one point I cut that to four by overtaking one of them, but then another overtook me so I was back where I started. I wasn't seriously expecting to finish in the first 3 to win a prize, but at least I knew that I wasn't a million miles off.

The wind was strong and biting. At one point running down Princes Avenue through the park it almost managed to blow me off the pavement onto the grass. It was horrible. The hills, on the other hand seemed far more bearable than they'd been during Race for Life. I ran up them without any major trauma, although I must admit to prefering the flat and downhill sections!

The marshalls were, as ever, fantastic. It always amazes me when people give up their weekends to stand on a street corner, clapping everyone who runs past them. It's one of the things I love about racing, the fact that people cheer you on and encourage you. They don't stand there sniggering about the size of your thighs, they cheer you on, whether you're first or last. I just hope that people in Germany are so encouraging!

Going into the race I was hoping for under 25 minutes and possibly under 24. I ran under 24 on the treadmill, but that was flat and didn't involve headwinds or sidewinds. So under 25 was the main goal. Having only just gone over 50 for a hard 10k I was hopeful of managing it, but you never do, do you?

There were no mile markers so I couldn't judge my splits. I do know the park relatively well, and thought coming back down towards the lake that I would probably be OK for sub 25, but 24 would be pushing it - and then proved how well I know the park by coming home in 24:13! I'm impressed with that, the conditions were a lot more challenging than the treadmill, and I've finally broken that 8 minute mile barrier in a race. Using the Runner's World website race time calculator it seems as though it's a slight improvement from last week - the predicted 10k time it gives from that time is faster than I ran 10k last week, but only by a few seconds, and the terrain last week could account for that.

But all in all, not a bad run.

I do have to admit to being disappointed with the t-shirt. Other races I've done you've ether chosen your size before the race or there has been a choice at the end, today it was just a t-shirt in a goodie bag they handed you at the end. One size. Large. I never thought I'd be disappointed to get a large on the basis I wanted a smaller size!

I don't know whether/how far I'm running tomorrow. Mum's coming over and I have to pick her up at the airport at 8am. I'll see what time I get back here and whether she wants to sleep or talk before we go out for lunch and shopping. Then I'll try to get some good miles in during the week before heading off to Amsterdam for easter.

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