There we go!

There we go!
Pushing the Nitro Button

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Commonwealth Mountain & Ultra Distance Championships 5km

Before I talk about my 5km race I have to mention the AMAZING races that have happened in my home town in the last 2 days. Just to put this in context, this event is a world class running event, which took place in Llandudno – a town of no more than 20k people. The feeling I get when I think about this is somewhat a kin to Barak Obama turning up at my door for a cup of tea and a slice of cake! Some of the GREATS of Ultra-running have been running around the town I do my long runs through :o

Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll get onto the really good bit, but just before I do I’d like to take a second to mention that Lizzi Hawker has just completed a World Record distance for 24hr race for women with 15mins to go in the race. A moment of silence please……………………………….. For more on this please see -

Now, my small part in the days racing started 25 mins after my youngest daughter completed her Fun Run mile. Always a sucker for a sad story, she decided the glory had gone and helped the little kids at the end of the pack to keep them going until the end. As we cheered her in, my friend’s daughter was declared the winner and interviewed by local radio! 

5 mins after the Fun Run was the Elites Mile Race. The organizers had managed to pull in some of the best Milers in UK. The hope was that within the pack there would be a good chance of breaking the 4 min barrier! As the runners went off this became increasingly unlikely as the course required hairpin turns after every 400m. The final winning finishing time was 4.21 – but I can’t find the name of the guy who won it L

My race was the Open 5km which was run on the Llandudno Promenade at 7pm on Friday 23rd.
Weather conditions were as near to perfect as is possible in Llandudno. The timing of the race meant that there would be no direct sun on the course. The promenade itself is a flat strip of tarmac 30m wide which runs for 1.2 miles along the north shore coast of Llandudno.  The only downside to this race was that the route involved 4 360degree hairpin turns around a cone placed at each end of the course.

As 7pm approached I decided to get as much of a warmup in as I could. Not having run a 5km race before, I had taken advice from my DM friends, the gist of which was that I should take any easy run and finish with some strides. I managed to cram this into the 3.30 mins just before the off!

I normally try to judge my position at the start of races based on how fit the people around me appear to be. This race was not chip timed so I was less concerned about my starting position as I would be timing the race on my watch myself.  As the gun went it took no more than 15 sec to get to the line and I was off!

Mile 1 in 7.05 – The congestion at the front of the race seemed to dissipate quite quickly with the really speedy people running off and leaving space for me to get into my stride. My cadence was good at 91 but my stride was messed up a bit as I hit the first hairpin turn. I appeared to accelerate out of the turn quicker than most of the other people running at my pace, which was handy when trying to overtake. The only sense of pace I had while running was from my watch. I was seeing 7 min pace pretty consistently and so I was pretty happy to keep that going. Av HR was a very easy 149 (87%).

Mile 2 in 6.59 – As mile 2 started the race had completely opened out. There was lots of space between me and the people behind me and I had a few people in my sights. As the mile went by we crossed the finish line for the first time and my friends shouted encouragement – I was having fun J My cadence was solid at 89 average and my HR was stable around 158 (93%) At this point I spotted a small pack of runners who had been running in front of me from the start of the race. They would be my target.

Mile 3 in 6.53 + 36sec (.1m) – Mile 3 included 2 hairpin turns of the course. I had targeted a small group of runners near the end of the previous mile and I slowly drew them in. The slight breeze which had come up in the last few minutes had a nice calming effect and I really felt I had reserves of energy that I have not felt before. During the final parts of this mile I appeared to be running past large numbers of runners while I was feeling pretty easy – even calling out to my friend to encourage him as he came towards the finish! The main problem I had during this section was the lack of light. It was so dark by this time that it was almost impossible to see the finish. Fortunately, the people at the line were making so much noise it helped me orientate myself. As I approached the finish area I passed the final few people I had targeted in the last section of the race. I stopped my watch just after crossing the line. I was, for 30 sec completely incapable of speech! My Av HR had come in at 162 (95%) for the final mile and the cadence was a sprightly 89!

* Update the results have just come out and I was 54th out of 138. Happy with that!

My biggest lesson from this event is that I have not found my “right” 5km pace yet. Even the final mile was not that tough. When I do my next 5km I’ll be a bit more ambitious as to my pace – I think sub 20min is definitely a possibility!

Next race is my A race for this year - the Chester Marathon on 9th October  - and I just can’t wait J

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