There we go!

There we go!
Pushing the Nitro Button

Monday, 7 November 2011

Abergele 5 - Sunday 6th November 2011

Training for this race had been a bit haphazard. I did my marathon just 4 weeks before and I had been doing a lot of cross training in preparation for the “off season”. I had planned for this race to be the final one of the year, we’ll see :) My warm-up was limited by the fact that the crowds were quite large and it was hard to hear the announcer. I did jog for 2min from my car though.

As the start time approached the marshals pushed us back down the road. I had tried to get up nearer the front than last year but the volume of people, just fewer than 300, this year meant it was very very busy on the road. My time for this run includes the .25 of a mile I had to run to get to the start line. So I have cut this out of the race report. This would mean a deduction of 1 min 35 sec from my race time, but as there were no chips my race results stands. I am happy to say though that next year, if I can get a bit nearer to the start I should ba able to crack 35min J

As the bell rang, the race started and the road cleared surprisingly quickly. The first mile is basically a slow assent of 120ft. With the advice of Mark U. (he knows who he is), the only functions I was looking at on my watch, during the race, was my cadence and the total time. As the mile went on the road cleared and I passed quite a few slightly less-fast runners! Looking back now I see my HR was right up at  150 average and my cadence was nice and high at an average of 91. Mile 1 completed in 6.57

Mile 2 continues the climb up the hill with another 150ft of assent. The road was pretty clear now and the trees on the side of the road were giving good cover from a surprisingly hot sun. It was at this time that I took the opportunity to chat to an oldish chap who was slowing badly near the top of the hill. I assumed he was at least 70 but as it transpired I was wrong! The final section of this mile sees the race turn in a downhill direction, which I knew from last year, so I was hoping to get my pace back on track. Average HR 153 (164max) and av cadence 90. Mile 2 completed in 6.56

Mile 3 is just wonderful! It starts with a 150ft decent and ends with a VERY nasty climb into mile 4. I had left a bit in my legs to ensure I took advantage of the decent and my cadence was solidly above 90 for most of the mile. I should mention that I make it a point to thank ALL the marshalls at every race I do. This race was effectively an out and back so everyone got a double dose J It was nice to see that some of them recognized me from the out loop and shouted encouragement as I passed. The final section of this mile leads to the bottom of a very nasty hill. I was pretty tired already, but I was still on target. AvHR 155, av cadence 90. Mile 3 completed in 6.52.

Mile 4 is not nice. Not nice at all. In the way that mile 3 was nice, mile 4 is nasty! It is basically a  165ft assent for .7mile followed by a 100ft decent. The front section of this saw 2 contrasting elements. Firstly, as I passed the 3.1 mile mark I noticed that I had broken my 5km PB by 5 seconds.  Secondly, the hill starts quite easily and then ends very steeply. As I ran upward I was passed by 2 very fit looking women. I was pushing as hard as I could and felt like I was going backwards! As the corner turned for the final part of the assent I heard a familiar voice from behind me. Dave Gardner is one of the happiest runners I know. He had a new hip just over 1 year ago and has spent the last year shouting, from across the street,  about how he’s “Still running it in!” Always happy to encourage slower, mostly younger,  runners, he always has a smile on his face, even though he doesn’t have any of his own teeth left Dave’s comment clearly suggested that he was hoping to catch what he, and I, thought was the leading over 70 year old. I slowed a little, as much to catch my breath as anything else, and he pulled alongside. AvHR 158, avCAD 86. Mile 4 completed in 7.40.

As mile 5 started it was nice to have Dave running with me and he gave the clear impression that he was keen to go a little quicker. So as we ran the 150ft decent I kept him up to date with both our pace and the layout of the remaining part of the course. I had completely cocked my run up last year by “pushing the nitro button” about 100m too early! The final decent runs down a very shallow angle then turns sharp left through a gap in the fence, to finish another 70m on a slight uphill! He seemed pretty quiet during the 3rd quarter of the mile so I assumed he was getting ready to do a final push. I felt I was not able to push much harder so I told him to go off and catch the other guy if he could. He said, “ I can’t leave you now after all your help!”. I said “Bollocks to that! Piss-off!!” He took this in the way it was meant and we ran the final 50m side by side finishing together! At the time I believed that he had come 2nd in his age group, as I had remembered an old looking guy who had overtaken me around mile 3. As it transpired, after the results were put up on the web, he WON his age group by 2 min 27 sec! Dave and I completed the final mile in 6 min 46sec. My avHR was 160 avcad 90.

My final overall time was 36.49 and I came 109th out of a field of 290 starters and 261 finishers. On a percentage of the field I improved from 57th percentile to 41st percentile.

In conclusion, I would say I had a really enjoyable run. I achieved what I hoped to achieve and lots more. I ran a new 2 min PB for the course and more importantly had a great time helping someone I have tremendous respect for achieve his goal. Next year I will try to get further up the hill and I’ll do some more hill work to help get through mile 4. 

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