Today’s race was all about the wind! The wind in these parts can be a right pain. It has been known to switch direction during a 2hr run ending up with either a VERY hard run or an overly easy saunter!
Today’s weather had started with an almost Spring time theme – sunshine and showers. I rarely use the term “flying” when referring to my running but today would be one of those days. The wind was a nice 30mph from the north-west and it could not have been more helpful!
In preparation for the race I had chosen my normal running kit PLUS my super quick Puma track spikes. They had seen me good on my first 5km last year and I felt they might help me along this time. On the other hand I had struggled to cut the @#$% out of my diet in the last few weeks and was toeing the line at 4lb over weight L
As the race time approached I was running a little late J I just managed to drop my friend off and get to the start in time for the announcer to relay the safety stuff and we were off!!
Mile 1 The wind was a real help here – I started off to the side of the pack, hence the slightly long reading, but as I looked at my watch I saw a sub 7 min pace was pretty easily established. In fact the danger for me was going to fast to soon. Mile 1 was completed in 6 min 55 sec with an average HR of 144 and a max of 165 (I needed to keep a lid on this) – Very happy my average cadence was a strong 92.
Mile 2 is in some ways the toughest mile in the course. The assent of The Little Orme (220ft) is immediately followed by a sharp decent and the decent can, if you’re not careful, take more out of you than the rise! This mile was going to be slower but at 7min 26sec it was a bit slower than I had hoped. Average HR came it at 160 maxing out at 177 (The highest number I have seen in 6 months!) Cadence was still strong at 91.
Mile 3 was a new section of the race which just happens to run around Penrhyn Bay East!! Some of my friends will recognize this name as it appears very frequently on my training updates. It was great that this section had been added and quite a few of the people I normally see while I’m out training waved and shouted support. This must have been a factor as I completed mile 3 in 7 min 3 sec. Fortunately I had managed to drop my HR back down to a more sustainable 159 average and a 164 max. Cadence was still OK at 90.
Mile 4 started with a slight shock. As the 5km marker was crossed I had just broken my 5km PB of 21.31 with a 21.29! This was a little concerning J Never mind I was still feeling OK, a bit tired and my right quad was complaining, and I’d just pasted Dave Gardener (From the Abergele 5)! I was feeling pretty strong so he told me to keep going and he’s try to stick with me. He did run and amazing race, finishing in 45.34 for 1st in his age group AND winning the North Wales 10km over 70 title! Mile 4 was completed in 7.11 with a 159 average HR and 166 max. Cadence had dipped to 89 but was still OK.
Mile 5 was pretty tough. It included the only part of the race where the wind was actually in your face! Fortunately it was wind AND rain. The rain helped to cool me down but this mile was very hard going. It was at this time that I chatted to a guy to encourage him. I suggested we could run together as we appeared to be running at the same speed. He ended up beating me by 10 sec, but at least he turned and shook my hand afterwards J Mile 5 ended with a rather high 163 average HR and a 169 max. Cadence was still solid at 89.
Mile 6 was even tougher J The energy had gone from my legs and the only thing keeping me going was the feeling that I should take this opportunity NOW. There was still a chance that I could go sub 45, a long time dream, and the time to give it EVERYTHING was now. I remember thinking, ”who, among my friends would stop now?” We all know the answer – NOBODY! So I pushed on and finished the 6th mile in 7 min 11 sec with an average HR of 167 and a max of 172. Cadence was just hanging in there at 88.
With the finish line beckoning, I saw some of my other running friends shouting and waving. I could not let them down – so I didn’t! I crossed the line in 44.36. My HR was fixed at 173 and my pace was back up where I had started the race, 6.52, but I had done it! I didn’t really think I could.
What with the extra baggage and a far from perfect training cycle I had done what I set out to do – all I can say is THANK YOU to everyone who helped and encouraged me – you really did make the difference!
My next race is likely to be the Chester Half Marathon in May but who knows? J