Sunday, 27 November 2011

Santa's Dash pics

5 mile race & Santa's Dash Race Report

I haven't blogged for a while as there hasn't been too much to report
but this week was different with two races - a company 5 mile race
that I organise which attracted 20 staff and the Leighton Santa's Dash
on Saturday which I volunteered to be the lead 'Christmas Pudding'!

First it was the 5 miler on Wednesday. Called the BRE 5 mile
Anniversary Run it has been running every year since 1980. My first
attempt at this event in 2003 saw me literually crawl over the finish
line in 43 minutes! It was the furthest I had ever run back then!!!
Fast forward 8 years and I was chasing a PB and trying to better my
2009 time of 29:40. 2010 had been run in Santa outfits and wasn't
taken so seriously but 2011 was different. I've done a bit of speed
training in the last few weeks to try and increase the leg turn over.
The pre-race favourite and winner if he turned up was colleague Glen
Watts. This kid (he's only 24 or so) has run a 66minute half marathon,
and ran this course last year in 24:42 which was a course record.

I pushed hard from the start and Glen was right there with me. He had
said before the race that he wasn't out to challenge his own record as
he had a hard race coming up on Saturday in the National XC
championship. So he was a true gent and paced me around the course for
the first half of the race. There was I giving it everything and
breathing really hard whilst Glen just jogged beside me not even
trying! He's not human!! I had a normal watch on just to check the
half way split and final time. I'm definitely of the opinion now that
seeing your actual pace whilst racing simply doesn't help. The half
way split was 13:58 which I've never done before. At this point Glen
started to pulled away and I did all I could to hang on as he edged
off into the distance. Those behind me were a minute or so behind by
this stage. The second half has a few climbs so it is slower. Despite
this I pushed on up the final hill and down the last 400m straight to
cross the line in 28:30. Better than I had ever hoped for and a PB by
1:10. Loving it. Glen finished in 27:15 taking it really easy and 3rd
place in 32 minutes went to George.

Next up was the Leighton Santa's Dash on Saturday. This was a bit of
fun which I ran last year coming third whilst pushing Lili in her
pushchair. This year I was approached by the organisers (Leighton Fun
Runners) and asked if I wanted to be the Christmas Pudding! This was
an ominous task as it required you to be the lead runner and stay
there! No pressure then. The photos pretty much tell the story. It was
a 2.5 mile course from the centre of town a short double loop around a
park and along a few roads below heading over the canal and looping
back into town. It was always gonna be hard and hard it was! I had
expected to be given a bit of a head start but that didn't happen so
as the Town Mayor started the race I had to sprint off the line like
Ussain Bolt as 45 or so Santa's gave chase. Despite the brisk start I
had company and the lad in 2nd place wasn't going to give up lightly.
Considering I had 2.5 miles to run the pace we were running which must
have been sub 5 mpm was not sustainable. I huffed and puffed all the
way around as I managed to grow the gap slowly but surely. It was soon
all over as the Christmad Pud give good. I was effectively the pace
maker so couldn't take the real victory which went to fellow LBAC
running Billy Mead who pushed me all the way from the start to the
finish. Well done Billy great running. Don't know my exact time but it
was definitely sub 14 minutes.

On Sunday I joined four fellow LBAC runners for a 13 mile offroad
jaunt in the countryside. A lovely morning with the sun shining and
wind blowing! Great times.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Watford XC Chiltern League race

Yesterdays XC race at Watford was quite a bit different from the
running I have been doing of late. LBAC compete in the Chiltern League
which features 5 races between Oct and Feb. I missed the 1st race of
the season so this was my first XC outing this year... Just 2 weeks
after SNOD too, so no speed training for the best part of a month (or
two!) going into this race. It was an undulating/hilly 6 miler in
Cassiobury park, Watford. All XCs go out hard and this was no
different... The gun went and we were off joistling for position. I
found my pace and fell in line behind a few team mates. Tom and Pete
quickly pulled away though (both sub 3hr marathon runners) so I went
about my own race not getting too carried away as I knew it would
destroy me in the latter stages. As I was expected it was really tough
going and my breathing was really hard from start to finish. Partly
because I was less race fit and also because I was pushing so hard.
It's the only real way to race XC... you do pace it to some degree but
it's at a pace that you know can only be sustained for a very short
time. Hopefully for the length of the race but that remained to be seen.

The course consisted of a first larger loop and 2nd slightly shorter
one. Both loops however climbed the main hills which we would be
tackling twice. As I said I was pushing hard throughout and breathing
heavy. I was passed by a rush of runners on the first half of the
first loop but after that despite running right at the peak of what I
was capable of I held my own and didn't lose many more places. The
pattern went that I would past runners on the downs and the up hill
sections but I would get passed on the flats. For me this worked the

By the second loop everyone was spent so it was just about hanging on
and digging deep, and dig deep I did. The final hill was a real killer
but I pushed hard spurred on by fellow female LBAC team mates and
picked off a few runners as I climbed up to the finish which is always
a very satisfying way to finish a XC. Gasping for all the oxygen I
could get I crossed the finish line in 38:58 minutes and seconds for
the 6.05 mile course (measured on a mates garmin). I was as good as
dead but so alive at the same time! I dunno what it is about XC racing
but there's nothing else like it that makes you work so damn hard and
push yourself to your limits. I love it. I think the fact that you are
racing for your team more so than yourself is a huge factor in it. You
just don't wanna let anyone down but competitively you also wanna get
as close to your team mates ahead of you too!!

I finished 4th LBAC runner out of the 12 of us that ran, and 121st out
of 359 senior men overall. Time to get training and improve that for
St Albans XC on 3rd December.

The other reason for needing to get some essential speed training in
is that I've recently agreed to assist in the Leighton Santa's Dash on
27th November. I will be dressed up in full Christmas Pudding costume
and chased down by 50+ Santa suited runners over a 5k course. The
shame of getting caught is not something I want to think about so I
must in effect win... no pressure then. I just hope that no serious
runners would enter a Santa's Dash!!...would they? :-O

Friday, 4 November 2011

More SNOD pics

I won't apologise for ripping these photos off the marathonfoto
website. Their prices are absolutely scandalous! If they wanted to
attract more potential customers and real runners to buy their photos
they should charge sensible prices! And until they do I won't be
buying them.