"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Walton Hall Park 5 miler 2013

My second race in 3 days gave me a bad-ass affliction of DOMS galore, which weren’t actually delayed in their onset… Two days after the Port Sunlight 10k I returned to Walton Hall Park, running club’s base during the winter months, for a 5 mile race.

This was my first ever 5 mile race so I was guaranteed a personal best, and I think I speak for most runners when I say, I love a good PB!

As expected this was an excellent turn out from fellow club runners, as well as other local running clubs. Due to this it felt like it was some kind of club championship (/in my mind’s eye an Olympic race as we were all in our racing colours).

I had two goals for this race: don’t go out too fast, and complete the 5 miles quicker than I completed the first 5 miles of the Liverpool Spring 10k race. This meant my time to beat was 33:29.

I didn’t start near the front which meant I wouldn’t get carried away too much. The temptation was there to join the faster members of the club but I knew I’d only regret it if I injured myself from over-doing it.

My starting point worked to my advantage as the faster runners in front of me seemed to run off into the sunset (leaving me behind, boo hoo!) while I maintained a steady pace over the first kilometre – 4:02; a little fast but no sub 4 minute kilometres were going to be happening today!

The course followed a one small loop, two large loops strategy which I quite liked, as it allowed me to see runners up ahead, as well as being able to gauge when to make a move on the final lap for a sprint(ish) finish.

Having not raced a 5 miler before I wasn’t sure how to pace myself but managed to settle down into a rhythm and ended up in a bit of a scrap with another runner (not a fight scrap, an I’m going to beat you scrap). This helped take my mind off constantly checking my Garmin for my pace.

It was quite fun having a mini race with another runner as I was trying to pull away from him whenever the opportunity arose, only for him to appear at my side like a shadow... But a really, really tall shadow in neon yellow and calf compression socks.

This bit of competition meant my pace varied; kilometre two was my slowest at 4:15, then kilometre three was my quickest at 4:01. Small lap done it was on to the final two...

The large laps of the race showed the same pattern in terms of pace - a slower middle kilometre due to a slight and prolonged incline (4:13 & 4:12) either side of quicker kilometre splits.

So, coming through the final lap I knew that I needed to try and push on at the peak of the incline to finish with a good time. My plan was to do this coming up to the peak of the incline as there was a sharp turn straight afterwards.

The latter stages of the incline approached, I stuck to the inside and pushed on. There was still half a kilometre left at this point so it was just an upping of pace, but it seemed to work - I pulled away from neon-compression-socks-man and gained, then passed, two other runners.

It came to the final bend and the home straight and I raised a sprint and passed one more runner as I watched the clock tick closer to 33 minutes... and...

...I finished in exactly 33 minutes.... Nearly 30 seconds ahead of my target

Final Race Stats

Time: 33:00
Position: 51/257
First 4km: 16:31
Second 4km: 16:29 (a good negative split! -Especially considering there was an extra 0.12km here too)

Garmin Here

A really enjoyable race, excellently organised, and a refreshing route - no roads, just park pathways. I will definitely be competing in this next year.

Race bling:

Final Note

I really, really, enjoyed this race, probably more so because my previous race left me feeling like I didn't enjoy myself. I was happy with my pacing, my time, and whilst it was hard going and I know I've still got a long way to go in terms of fitness to get back to where I was last year, I enjoyed the feeling of not being able to go any faster.

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