24 Jun 2013

520.34 - 540.38KM: Forging Towards The Sunset (Summer Solstice 10K & Underwood 10K)

Fresh off the back of last weekend's milestone reaching race, this week I kept the momentum going with another two races. With little over 30 seconds between the times recorded at both races you could be mistaken for thinking that my performances were reasonably identical. This would be far from the truth, the races couldn't have gone any more differently.

520.34 - 530.38KM: Summer Solstice 10k

First up was Friday's Summer Solstice 10k in Long Bennington. I spent the majority of the day keeping an eye on the weather as the consistent threat of rain looked to signal a rather damp race. I need not have worried however, as by the time race came the majority of the clouds had disappeared and made way for glorious, hot sunshine. In hindsight, I was perhaps a little too eager for the sun as the conditions bared a startling resemblance to my last Friday evening race, the Notts 10 Mile Road Race. Although at least this time I didn't throw up.

Definitely not raining
There is always slight trepidation when reading the runners' information pack before a race that my eyes will come across the following:
Unfortunately this past weekend this happened on both occasions.

I'm not sure on the science behind it, but there is no doubt that I am able to perform much better when running with music than I am without, if for no reason other than it acts as a distraction from how much I may or may not be hurting. I am in no doubt that if Rob Halford's screams wouldn't have come through my ears in the last mile at Silverstone, that I wouldn't have got as strong a PB as I did. There is also a certain level of fear that if I don't run as fast as I can that I might be letting Dave Hunt down personally.

Sorry Dave
As for the race, I have no one to blame but myself for how much of a struggle it was. I had spent the majority of the week running to and from work, without giving my body chance to rest. Furthermore I had spent the majority of the evenings organising various 500km milestone related celebrations so by the time that I was ready to go to sleep I was too tired to properly stretch out or use my foam roller.

If I had an ounce of common sense or the ability to listen to my body I would have taken the run steady. Instead I saw the opportunity on what was a relatively flat course to try and set a decent time, why not, I thought. Why not? Because it was too hot and I was too tired is why not. By the time this year is over I might finally realise that occasionally I should listen to my body and not push myself as hard as I can when I really shouldn't. In the mean time though it means I get to pull beautiful faces like the one below.

The pain quite clearly written across my face


Distance: 10.04km | 6.24 miles
Time: 00:43:58
Official Time: 
Average Pace: 04:23 min/km | 08:03 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Bottle of Beer, Glass, Crisps, Snickers & Bananas.


View my run:

530.38 - 540.38KM: Underwood 10k

If Friday's run was too hot, then I would have no complaints about Sunday's Underwood 10k. As I walked up the Late Entries table the wind caught the gazebo and it flew backwards and the rain poured onto the unsuspecting volunteers beneath. A sign of things to come?

Not quite, but the rain certainly didn't let up. As yet another first time race I knew very little of what to expect with the course. On the way down to the start line I heard runners talk amongst themselves about 'hills' and the race organiser at the beginning referred to the fact that there were a couple of hills, which was met with a knowing chuckle from previous participants. Having ran the St. Valentines 30k and Newton's Fraction Half earlier in the year, the talk of hills doesn't phase me, but the ones I ended up facing were a little tougher than I anticipated.

After Friday's reasonably disappointing race I was eager to put it behind me and record a strong time. I lined up at towards the front of the relatively small crowd and set off keeping reasonable pace with the front group and ran the first mile in 5:59. This was very much the peak of my race and my legs soon began to feel Friday's hard run and as the hills started to turn up I could feel myself getting much slower.

Definitely raining
To a non runner the following may sound strange, but Sunday's run felt like a PB performance even if it wasn't a PB time. The hills took a lot out of me, but the first mile was my fastest yet and on a flat surface I'm confident I could have built on that and at least come close to my time at Lincoln. Having checked my 5k split for both races, I was only 40 seconds or so behind Lincoln, a much flatter course.

Forty seconds is of course a lot over a relatively short distance, but after Friday's race it gives me some hope that the sub 40 challenge this year is still very much achievable. So achievable in fact that I have bet my hair on it.

I may live to regret this...

Finally, I recently recorded a video recently after reaching the 500km mark as a thank you message to those that have sponsored me so far and to give a recap of the year so far and a look ahead to what's to come.

Check it out.


Distance: 10.00km | 6.2 miles
Time: 00:43:26
Official Time: 00:43:19
Average Pace: 04:21 min/km | 08:05 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Bag & Bottle of Water


View my run:

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