Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Race Report: Great South Run

On Sunday I ran the Bupa Great South Run - a flat, 10 mile race with around 20,000 runners taking part.

Following on from last year’s race report, which ended with “Would I do it again? If you'd asked me two minutes after finishing I would've said no, but I think I've got to try and beat 2 hours haven't I..?”, I was back for my second time of running this race. I knew I was better prepared than last year (when my longest training run before the race had been 8 miles!), but I also knew that I hadn’t been putting in lots of distance training over the past few months. With those in mind, my goals for this race were;

A) Beat last year’s time of 2:03:11
B) Run under 1:55
Run under 1:50

With A being a very realistic target and knowing that C would be quite a challenge!

Some of the thousands of people running the Great South Run (source)

I wasn’t apprehensive about the race at all - I knew I’d be able to get round the course, and (for once!) the weather was good - bright and crisp - perfect for running. But it’s fair to say that I didn’t have the best of races - you know you have an ‘off’ run every so often? Sunday was one of those days; it was just unfortunate that it happened to be a race. I struggled mentally and physically for much of the race.

Miles 1-3: It took me a while to get into a decent rhythm, but I told myself I wasn’t stopping until at least the 5km marker. I found it hard mentally at the beginning - I just couldn’t motivate myself to get excited about the race.

Miles 3-6: The middle section was probably the best for me; I’d found my pace, had some water and some Shot Bloks and was feeling more refreshed and optimistic.

Miles 6-8: At this point I started to get bored, it’s the dullest section of the race, with few supporters, no bands etc. I could feel a couple of blisters on my feet that were starting to bother me and my right hip kept twinging (not an area I’ve ever had problems with in the past).

Miles 8-10: By now I was feeling tired (looking back, it may have been an under-fuelling issue - the race didn’t start till 11 and I’d eaten breakfast at 7:30!), and the twinge in my hip was bothering me almost constantly. The last two miles of this race are along the sea-front, I kept telling myself that the quickest was back to the start was to run the last two miles, despite the discomfort, I also knew that the more I ran and less I walked, the quicker it would be over!

I crossed the finished line in 1:54:14, so I managed goals A and B :)

After finishing the race I realised I felt quite light headed (again - probably due to lack of food, by now it was 1pm). I sat down for a while and hobbled the half mile to the pub, where I had a yummy and much-deserved veggie Wellington roast dinner.

Some of the amazing support on the way round (source)

I know this post is quite negative, but I also realise that it was only due to my issues that it was a bad race. The Great South Run is one of the biggest, well-organised and popular races I’ve been too. There’s support on the majority of the route, bands and music as well, it’s a completely flat course and the goody bags are well worth it! There was a ‘Bupa Boost Station’ at mile 9, which I thought was a really nice touch - they were blasting out cheesey, motivating music and handing out jelly babies and Vaseline - it helped to push through for the last mile. So please don’t let my whinging put you off this event!

Now I just have to figure out what to do about this hip pain, that still hasn’t gone away, and definitely feels like more than DOMS. I think I’ll rest it for a few more days and hope it passes. What do you do about niggles/twinges/discomfort? Do you seek help straightaway or try resting it first?

Length: 10 miles
Time: 1:54:14
Pace: 11:25 min/mile

Friday, 8 October 2010

Race Report: Mortimer 10km

This is only going to be a short report as it was almost 2 weeks ago now! Mortimer 10km is a nice local race, cheap entry (£6!), which still included a medal :)

I wasn't aiming for a PB in this race, but had heard it was flat with a small incline at the end, so was hoping for a reasonably good time. Up until around 6km, I was actually on course for a PB, then the 'small incline' arrived! It was a 2 mile long hill that wasn't overly steep, but seemed to go on forever! The longer it went on, the more I was looking forward to a fast, downhill finish - which never arrived! I was so confused as to how I could be back at the start/finish line having gone up and up and up, but never gone down! Looking at the course profile after the event, it appears that the downhill came before the uphill, but was much more slight and not noticeable.

I finished in 1:05:58 (about 3 minutes behind my PB). I'll be back next year - its great value and the marshalls and organisation were great! :)

Length: 10km
Time: 1:05:58
Pace: 10:38 min/mile