Last Sunday morning Sharon and I headed into Twickenham to take part in the Cabbage Patch 10 mile road race. I ran this race last year (before I joined a running club and really stepped up my training) and finished in an impressive 71:47. Following last years race I gave myself a target for the 2007 race…
‘…my early challenge for next year is to take it under 1:10. Lets see what I write here in 11 months time in the runup to the race.’
Well, my target this time around was around 65 minutes, and I had written on my hand 3 and 7 mile split times for a 64 minute finishing time - just in case things were looking good. It was good to be running with Darren W. and Mark G. on the day - a couple of runners who run Bushy Park Time Trial regularly. Duncan M. from Ranelagh was also with us early on in the race. We were all hoping for something around 65 minutes.
Well, to say that my start was good was an understatement! I got myself a great starting position (2nd row I believe) and raced off - the problem was, I raced off a little too quickly. To get a time of 65 minutes I’d need to be running 6 minute 30 second mile pace. Well, I ran the first mile in 5:45! Now, if I could keep that pace going I’d be on for a finishing time of around 57:30 (er, not a hope!). I slowed down slightly and still felt strong so pushed on. Shortly afterwards Darren and Mark caught up with me and we ran together for a while.
Looking at the photo from the 2 mile mark you can see Darren (blue - number 1158), myself and Mark (in green) just behind me. I counted my position in the race at this 2 mile mark as being in around 63rd place.
Now, at around 4.5 miles I started to feel the result of setting off two quick at the start. I started to slow a little. My left hamstring and calf felt tight and it wasn’t much fun. I just told myself to stay strong and keep going. At this point Darren and Mark drifted off ahead of me.
The rest of the race was bloody hard work - the marshalls were superb (the race is run by The Stragglers running club) and I was cheered on by name by quite a few of them. It really makes a difference when you need it, even if you’re too knackered to say thank you in return.
From around the mid-way point and beyond people started to overtake me. I tried my best to hang onto groups but it was just too hard. This was the payback for my earlier pacing error! Anyway, I ran strongly and held it together right till the finish.
As I crossed the line my official time was 63:09 - superb. I’m really happy with this time - its just that I didn’t run a great race. I said earlier that at 2 miles I was in the early 60’s position wise. My finishing position was 89th (out of 1447), so about 25 or so people overtook me when things were not going my way. My average pace over the 10 miles was 6 minute 19 seconds per mile.
Looking positively if I race well I’ll should be able to get (comfortably) inside of 63 minutes which is closer and closer to the illusive 60 minute mark. This is my next real target over 10 miles - I won’t be there any day soon but you’ve got to aim high.
For those interested here are my split times over the 10 miles… (1)5:45, (2)6:07, (3)6:12, (4)6:11, (5)6:16, (6)6:23, (7)6:27, (8)6:36, (9)6:45, (10)6:28. The best thing about these splits is that my slowest mile split (miles 8-9) was faster than my best mile split from last years race (6:50).