Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday 25th May: Chorley Harriers 10 Mile Road Race

Today was the Chorley Harriers 10 Mile Road Race. I decided to do this race for a few reasons:

1) I want to do a variety of road racing distances this summer to work on my overall speed. I've never raced 10 miles before and wanted to see if I had it in me and if I could pace myself.

2) The Garburn race is next weekend so I wanted something to run that would challenge me but would stop me from heading off up on the moors and probably overdoing it. It is 2/3 the distance of Garburn without any major climbing.

3) Its another of my club's races, if I wasnt running I would be marshaling anyway!

I was woken up bright and early (by bright and early I mean 5:36 am) by the wind howling outside, not an auspicious start. I went back to sleep and hoped it would calm down but no such luck, the garden chairs were strewn all over the place and a few mystery plastic plant pots were doing the foxtrot round the lawn. The forecast was suggesting strong winds with 40 mph gusts or some such, however the sun was shining and I'd already paid the entry fee so I decided to get on with it. I didn't know much about the route but I knew it was loops in/around a park so I wouldn't be running into the wind all the time. I had breakfast at about 8:30, I have used this particular breakfast before my last few morning races and it seems to agree with me: A large bowl of porridge made with semi -skimmed milk with a banana chopped over the top and drizzled with maple syrup (yum). I had no energy or digestion issues in the race so I'm going to stick with it for Garburn.

The race was due to start at 11:00 am and as it was a local race and probably only a 10 minute drive away I decided not to leave until 10:15 as I already had my number. The directions said "follow the signs for Worden Arts Centre" which I have seen dotted around Leyland. I head into the centre of town and spot my first "Worden Arts Centre" sign, so far so good, until I missed one due to not paying attention as I thought I kew where I was going. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to find the Centre, I drove around the park a few times but couldn't see where to park or actually spot any evidence of a race at all, then I retraced my route and noticed the sign I'd missed and managd to actually find the park, hooray! Well almost hooray, I still didn't know where I was supposed to be parking but at least there were loads of people in flourescent yellow vests and other assorted race paraphernalia dotted around. As I'm driving around rather erratically trying to find the car park the most likely entrace is coned off and it dawns on me that all the little mini runners around are doing the fun run, which means I'd not be popular if I flattened them and that it was now after 10:30 (digit extraction required!). I drove along the road for a while, found a turning place then headed back, it was really obvious where to park form this direction.

Directed into parking spot by a couple of my normal running group, I could get ready to run. This is only my second race wearing a Chorley Harriers vest, the thing I've noticed most is that other Harriers always talk to you even if they don't know who you are. I got loads of encouragement through the race with people shouting "Come on Chorley", before I had a vest I felt a little anonymous at races. I found the loos (essential pre-race routine) then did a very short warm up as I was late and I was going to be running 10 miles anyway then back to mill around the start line for a bit before the off.

Tis race has quite a small field, about 250 ish and it is very clubby. By that I mean there a few if any non-club runners taking part, it is part of the inter-club grandprix (as well as the Club's own Grand Prix) and as such attracts some pretty speedy runners. I looked at last years results and my dream time of 1:30 would put me pretty much near the end of the field, ho-hum. I met Yvonne at the start who is part of my Thursday night group and a veteran of several half marathons, I decided to see if I could stay with Yvonne rather than do my own thing - this turned ou to be a good plan. I had my Shuffle with me but I wrapped the headphones round my waist rather than wear it straight away, I had put some pretty fast music on it so knew I would go off too fast if I listened to it.

11:00 we were away. The route consists of two short laps and two longer laps (as below):

I've always been a bit ambivalent about laps as I thought I would get bored but on this occasion I thought it broke the race up quite well, I also got to learn exactly where the finish was - pretty much at the bottom of a fast hill. I was aiming for 1:30 for this race which meant a 9mm average. One of the marshals helpfully called out at the first mile marker that it was 8:31 which was a bit fast really. I stayed with Yvonne and curtailed my impulse to speed up. I really struggled to keep it steady and just let people go past if they wanted to, at the three mile marker whihc was near the start of the first long lap my brain just kept telling me "speed up, speed up" but I managed to ignore it. I just decided to keep it steady until I was well into the second long lap, which sounds like I had a plan but I didnt I just didn't want to blow up. At about mile 5 we finally turned into the wind which slowed things down a bit but the cooling wind was actually welcome (well a bit), then there was a nice downhill followed by a rather cheeky up then back down to the finish area again to grab some water and head out on the last lap. I was still going in a controlled fashion at this point and continued like this until just after mile 8 when I ended up in front of Yvonne. I had been up on the pavement as the side ofthe road had a pronounced camber when the pavement ended and I dropped down in front, single file as on a road. Then I found myself speeding up.....I blame the woman in the green vest in front of me, I noticed she seemed to be getting closer (or was I speeding up) so I decided to catch her, then speed up more, then catch the next two women in front of me - which was the return of my competitiveness and what I hadn't let out since the race started because I would've blown up big time if I'd let it out the bag any earlier. I remembered the down before the up and flew down it to try to carry whatever momentum I could into the cheeky up, which wasn't much but every little helps, then it was the short flat section before the last downhill to the finish, where I speeded up some more. One advantage of all the long hilly trail runs I have been doing is that I have gotten used to running hard downhill on tired legs, so on this last downhill I overtook a few more people again (all men this time, ha!) then sprinted for the line.

I stopped the Garmin then looked at the time. The Garmin had been autopausing itself all race for fun due to some of the tree cover so I knew the time would be out, I was still chuffed though it said 1:26:46, my official result time is 1:27:47, so broke the 1:30 mark!!! When I checked the splits at home my fastest mile was the last mile, it was just under 8 minutes (that lovely downhill) so I finished very strong.

Distance: 9.97m
Time taken: 01:26:47
Average/Max Speed : 6.89mph / 10.12mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:08:42 / 00:05:55
Average/Max heart rate: 173/188
Calories used: 1086

10:59:50 1.00m 00:08:36 6.97mph 9.18mph 166bpm 174bpm
11:08:28 1.00m 00:08:33 7.01mph 8.94mph 171bpm 176bpm
11:17:05 1.00m 00:08:19 7.21mph 9.54mph 169bpm 175bpm
11:25:29 1.00m 00:08:52 6.76mph 7.52mph 173bpm 176bpm
11:34:21 1.00m 00:09:10 6.54mph 7.85mph 173bpm 176bpm
11:43:43 1.00m 00:08:52 6.76mph 9.53mph 173bpm 180bpm
11:52:56 1.00m 00:08:42 6.89mph 8.30mph 169bpm 175bpm
12:01:43 1.00m 00:08:53 6.75mph 7.95mph 175bpm 177bpm
12:10:37 1.00m 00:08:48 6.81mph 8.20mph 180bpm 182bpm
12:19:25 0.97m 00:07:59 7.28mph 10.12mph 182bpm 188bpm

I think it was a negative split but just. I think I can go a bit faster, without the section into the wind and not hanging back quite so much, particularly after mile 5 but I would need to keep a check on my tendency to try to speed up too much.

So an easy week planned prior to Garburn trail race.

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