After last weeks rain, the sun came out today and it was glorious weather for running. The ground was fairly firm (I don’t recall slipping at all today) and over 280 runners descended on Bushy Park in South West London for the 129th Bushy Park Time Trial.
My hip was feeling fine, although I’ve had a niggling pain in my left ankle all week - no idea where it came from, I just woke up on Monday and felt it. I blame the fact that often my feet hang off the end of the bed and don’t rest at night because I’m too tall, but I’m sure there’s a better explanation!!! I did a moderate run of just under 5 miles on Thursday night with The Stragglers and it didn’t cause any trouble so I was happy to give it a good go today.
After looking at my heart rate reading for the different “segments” of the course from last week I thought that I could indeed push a little harder as my heart rate only seems to really get going for the second half of the race (maybe I’m doing great negative splits or something - who knows!). The first kilometre is pretty tough to push really hard on because 1) there’s too many people, and 2) you’ll probably burn out and never make it to the finish.
Just after the 2k mark I was happy with my progress (made it to the “fork” just before the cricket ground in 8:09) and the plan was to just continue at that pace. I was running right behind 2005 mens league winner Darren Wood (a fellow runner from Ranelagh) and then suddenly he had to pull over to one side as a shoe-lace had come undone! I foolishly thought that would be the last I’d see of him and then about 30 seconds later he overtook me. He then asked me if I wanted to push it hard for this “mid-section” of the race to which I replied “yes….but I think I’m pushing hard already!!!” He replied something along the lines of “just stick with me” and away we went… I ran with him for about a kilometre before he started to really get away from me but his encouragement was most welcome, and really got me focussing on staying with him (or at least close) and pushing hard.
By the time we hit the final corner he Darren was way ahead but I’d had a good run till there and just had to push hard for the final km (and a bit).
It was the hardest I think I’d run for about a month and my time showed, coming in at 19:52 (39th place), which was really encouraging to be back under 20 minutes after last being there with a time of 19:58 on 30 December last year. Looks like the hip really is getting better! (for info Darren finished in 19:29).
My heart rate peaked at 192bpm and my average was 182bpm. Now that I’m a year older (it was my birthday on Tuesday) my age grading calculation that is published on the results page takes this into account. Today my calculation was 66.02% and I finished in 19:52, but when I was a young 33 year-old I had to run the course in 19:46 to get the same percentage.
Now where’s my pipe and slippers…
On the flip side, Sharon didn’t have a great run today. Before the start her legs “felt like lead” and it just wasn’t her day. Her time was 31:32 which I personally think is superb, especially when you look at her times since she started BPTT.