Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Top Gear...nah, more like Top Event.....

Autumn Spitfire 20

What is it about this event I like...the two undulating laps, the sling-shot cornering, the close location, the numbers of runners I know on race day, the easy parking, the friendly marshals & recently the terrible weather??? I don`t know but I do. So to run laps 7 & 8...yes my 4th time here.

My `training plan`* is been coming along nicely, with the long runs getting a bit longer each time but this was the 1st continuous run that would start with a “2”. The plan was to run a progressive run – idea given to me by Gobi (thanks). The plan was 5M @ 9.08/m pace, then 5M @ 8.53/m, 4M @ 8.38/m, 4M @ 8.23/m and then the last 2M at whatever pace I had left.

There was only 2 little problems with this – a) the latter part of the course is where the lumps are so not easy to increase the pace there and b) the last time I had done thins plan I had done a number of 20M+ runs. These two issues were countered by 2 advantages – as I said I had done this plan before at Bramley 20 & it had worked a treat, the 2nd was I had been practicing my progressive runs – even at parkruns – where my 1st 3.1M run pre 9.00am parkrun were slower than my actual offical 9.00am start parkrun.

Come race day I collected Dave & off we go to Dunsfold Aerodrome (just over 20 miles away), we get there early. Park up & before a grab a tea we bump into the Andover crowd (Matt, Mark & Martin) & then the Chineham Park runners. As the start time moves closer as move towards the stating area – I bump into Ben (who is flying at the moment) & wished him well. Even thou I wasn`t fully racing it today I went with my race kit (inc a pair of sunnies – what a complete waste of time those were). So a finishing time of 2:54:04 in mind & completing the 1st 10M in exactly 1:30:00 pacing was the key.

The 1st 3M of the course is now completely flat and all within the aerodrome (start / finish is at the back of the aerodrome) so it was good to control those 1st few miles, Mile 3-4 was a bit lumpy, 5M was generally flat, 6M was now off unto quieter country roads, but just before the 7M there was a sharp incline that made your lunges work overtime, Mile 17 is I guess one of my favourite miles on the course, however it does end going uphill & with the 18M in sight – then only two left. Then the final corner before entering the road to the pub & the gates – all but over then or half the fun gone depending on your race distance.

We kept it steady in the 1st few miles & not being drawn along by other runners racing off into the distance. Just outside the gates Dave disappears into the bushes so I drop the pace a little so he doesn`t need to sprint to catch up – 1st part nearly spot on. Second 5M I increase the pace a touch, knowing Dave longest run since London but is generally going well. About mile 8 I just get in front but I can still hear him. At the pub (around 9.5M) I wait for him as he has dropped back – another trip to the bushes – anyway he says to carry on – so I did.

I go through the start / finish mats at I think spot on 1:30:xx but I feel I`ve slipped back & start to push the pace. Mile 11 bleep went off – 8:16 – OMG – I wonder if I`ve ruined my race for the sake of 1 fast mile – stupid, stupid, stupid... I dropped my speed down but my pacing is all over the place – was it due to the undulations of the course or me? Had I gotten away with the a fast mile 11????

Now starting the last 4 miles (I do not count miles 19 & 20 as that`s nearly the finish I can run free pace – yippee), anyway this last 4M is where I struggle – I need 8:23 – disappointing 1st mile – too slow. Crazy 2nd mile (what a muppet) – way too fast, 3rd mile about right, and the lay of the land getting me in the last mile of the four.

I see the mile marker & I`m free of the garmin – I try to give it legs & run for home....ok not too much left. Ok the last 5 or 6 miles were in the rain & I could feel the legs tighten up but I push. Some guy at 19M comes flying past me and the group I`m tracking so I try to go with him – he is too strong but I increase my pace & take this group....maybe I was paying the price for those fast 11th & 16th Miles??

I head around the corner & through the gates & around the final corner – I get a couple of shouts (thanks) & through the finishing mats. I see Ruth who had a really good run & Joh just finishing behind. We grab a coffee as we are getting really cold. I get changed & wait for Dave to come through – he does shortly after. So that`s his first long run done. We grab another coffee & watch the weather clear a bit!!!

Garmin Splits :

9:11, 9:07, 9:08, 9:22, 9:06,
9:01, 8:51, 8:56, 8:57, 9:21,
8:16, 8:34, 8:29, 8:36,
8:39, 8:11, 8:26, 8:30,
8:22, 7:15 (0.88m @ 8:13/m).

*I`ve had to modify a standard Marathon plan as it`s so hard to find a decent plan that includes 6 x 10Km off-road laps being the Thunder Run & a 30M canal run (JW Ultra), a marathon on foreign soil (Amsterdam), a 30M fun run that starts at Midnight (Midnight 30) and a couple of half marathons thrown somewhere in.

Next up – something I`ve planned for about 10 months – the Newcastle parkrun......oh and the Great North Run the day after :-)

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