Friday, 6 November 2009

Great South Run 2009 - Racing out of shape!

So I was roped into running in this 10 mile smash fest, after doing nothing but eating burgers, drinking wine and destroying family size bars of Cadburys Whole nut...
Following Wisconsin I'd decided to take time out to catch up with friends, so Richard (my Coach) had reduced my training and we decided within the downtime to focus on my swimming(more about that later)

Anyway with just three runs in 6 weeks it was never going to be pretty...I'd agreed to race as part of the Daily Telegraph race team, in conjunction with a piece of editorial we were running.
I toed the line with the 21'000 athletes, only I was on the front just behind Mo Farah(GB 2012 Olympic Gold hopeful). What was I thinking.... in for a penny, in for a pound!!It was gonna be fun....

The cannon went and we were off... Within the first 500m I noticed Iwan Thomas running beside me, Iwan is arguably the best GB 400m runner ever and he was running for Macmillan Cancer, he's one fast dude.. We were into the wind so I sheltered at the back of the pack out of the wind. The pace was fast and we went through 2 miles in 10 min 44 secs. This was my finest point I think.... as my limited conditioning and the rapid pace was starting to take effect. I was struggling into the wind and I started to slow.... I was in the hurt zone... Ouch!
At about 4 miles a strong group caught and passed me, I knew this was the Sub 60 min guys, probably running at 57 min pace. They had just been more restrained and controlled off the start. I tried to stay with them but soon fell off the back. Oh dear I thought, this is what happens when you don't train...

I was in no mans land, people in front that couldn't catch and people behind that I was trying to outrun. It was so tough, but I pushed on telling myself not be such a 'whinger' and to push on despite the fact I was hyperventilating.

I went through 8 miles in 47.48 mins and felt good realising I only had to nail two more 6 min miles. I would be home with time to spare and would be on target for a sub 60 minuter. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but as we turned to complete the last two miles along the promenade, we turned into a full on headwind. This was really hard work and I tried to make myself really small.... I pushed on catching the guy in front, signalling for him to drop in behind me, so he could shelter and suggested we take turns on the front. He nodded but when it cam e to his turn, the wheels had come off and he'd fallen behind... doh!

I looked at my watch....there was no way I was going to make 60 mins. The headwind meant that I was running over 30 secs slower per mile. With the finish ahead I pushed on and tried to enjoy the last 400m and all the crowd support.
I came in 61.18 mins over 6 mins slower than my PB, but hey never mind... It was fun to be out of my comfort zone. Overall I was 77th and 7th in my age group category. Mo won and did in just over 43 minutes...Wow!!
Its a great race to do and I recommend it as a winter sharpener.. The weather was super and organisation superb.

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