One of my favourite events - The Surrey Spitfire 20 - a little unsure why really, maybe cos I like 10 milers & I get to do one twice or the undulating course I like or that it doesn`t feel like a 10 or 20 because of the amount of time you spend in the Aerodrome before going out on the open roads..but I do like this one. I had a quick count up & after the race I`ve managed to clock up a total of 11 laps around here - 5 x Spitfires & 1 x Tempests.
I collected the troops - Ali, David & Richard with Dave & Pete in the car behind & we make our way there without any fuss. No problem getting in or parking, numbers & timing chip collection all without a fuss. I grab my pre-race black coffee & headed back to the car to get ready. It is prefect running weather - slight chill in the air (-3 C) so it`s compression top, marigolds, gloves, Club vest, buff….and shorts. I had gone for my racing shoes but in hindsight I should have gone for my big bouncy shoes….opps rookie mistake.Despite not racing this one I went for a 10 min warm up just really to check everything felt good. My plan was straightforward - just a run out. I wanted around 2:55 to 3:00 hrs - about 9:00`s m/min. I certainly wasn`t going to race Ali who planned a negative split race.
We assembled at the start - the organisers had moved the start a few hundred metres down the Aerodrome - felt a lot further than that later one. The hooter goes off & we are off…..soon enough we snake our way around the Aerodrome track. Luckily there is not much wind blowing around. We made our way out of the Aerodrome & thanks to the Virtual partner setting on the Garmin I was almost spot on pace as it`s about 3 miles to get to the gates & 1st rise. Now I had been out the night before taking on liquid carbs but despite that I wanted not really to take too much on board - water or gels even thou I had 4 on me. Even if I hadn`t carried any there were loads on offer in the race - never seen so many gels on offer even at London.
It got a bit congested around 4M so I quicken the pace & made for the gaps but settled back down when going up the incline towards 5M. Soon we come to one of my favourite parts of the course when we have to turn off the main road and down into smaller country roads - not much traffic at all, more relaxed & more space to run….. However this leads towards the last quarter of the course where the hills are - at 7M the 1st set starting off with a sharp drop just to fool you, then a short sharp steep incline to get you to breathe hard. Then 2nd set, again drop & incline, around 8M is almost the same but not so sharp. I manage to keep on pace, however I do notice the legs are starting to complain a bit. Not to risk the onset of cramp I take a gel.
I get chatting to a 10 mile runner who wants a certain time & is worried about missing that so I pace her in the last mile or so - she gets her time which is great. Just after the 10M split I see Leila but before I could said hi she dives off for water & a gel - great to see her running again.
As we came around the far side of the track the wind picked up A LOT - right up my shorts, my legs were getting cold. I`m sure why I start to feel quite tired & tense. I wouldn`t say struggled as such but definitely feeling tired. I use a mantra from a yoga class - I repeat to myself starting at my head & working down….. "Relax my forehead, my forehead is relaxed. Relax my shoulders, my shoulders are relaxed. Relax my arm swing, my arm swing are relaxed"…then moving down to the ankles. This worked & a couple of miles ticked over. Around 15M, I think great - only 5 to go but by now my legs are really feeling it now. I start smiling away to myself knowing a smile can hide all sorts. I must of looked like a right loon but I do actually feel better - even up & down those two hills.
At 17 I hear two ladies behind saying "Only a parkrun to go" - that`s the sprint - breaking it down in manageable chunks. A mile further up one of the ladies pulls alongside - it`s Tracey from Frimley Lodge parkrun & someone who I was running with at the early stages of Bramley 20 a couple of weeks back. We ran together for the way in but around 18.5M we pass a local runner - Malcolm Vaughan - who is just shy of reaching his 70`s & is quite amazing. A couple of weeks back at the Bramley 20M it took me 14 miles to catch him & now this week it took me 18.5 miles to pass him, he also ran at the Wokingham Half - quite an amazing runner. (His time was 02:56:32 with a split time of 01:27:12)
As we head into the back of the Aerodrome we catch a few more runners, almost racing anther couple down the home straight :-) The legs have stopped complaining at this late stage but I have a feeling they may get the last word in.
Ali has already finished with a time `slightly` ahead of predication - 2:36:20 (16th Lady overall & 2nd in age group), David B, Rich & Dave L & Pete all have good runs - sorry we missed the sprint finish Dave.
Another excellent event plus we finished it all off with a stop off on the way back for Sunday lunch.
Splits - 8:51, 8:57, 9:02, 8:49, 9:13, 8:42, 8:59, 9:07, 9:01, 8:27, 8:58, 8:50, 9:11, 9:02, 8:55, 8:39, 8:47, 9:04, 8:42, 5:57 (0.76M @7:52). (1st 10M in 01:29:22)
I really don`t know why the Garmin says 19.76M rather than 20M - I ran all the course inc going around `that` cone twice - maybe the lead runners kicked it back a bit :-)
Results - RESULTS LINK
Next up - Continuing in the sprite of relaxing - I`m starting my meditation course this week, planned in two sessions of yoga inc a Bikram session AND 5 running free days. Mind you next weekend it's my birthday Ultra - the New Forest 50Km - where I do plan to adopt a `Run + walk` (run 5 miles, walk 1, run 5M, walk 1M etc) plan into action. My 1st go at this so it will be interesting……….
Myself & Tracey coming down the final back straight. "A penny for his thoughts"