LBAC Senior Men
Pete in my sights!!
Saturday was the last fixture of the chiltern league cross country season. It was our club's home fixture too in Wing, Bucks. A great course with a few nice climbs along the way. Three laps for the senior men - 10k in total. The start is a mad dash down hill for 200-300 metres which certainly gets the adrenaline going.
My single goal for this race was to stay close to fellow LBACer Pete Mackrell who has been consistently faster than me all season (and a 2:52 marathon runner!). I've tried in the past to stick with him but to no avail as he strides away. I knew that the first lap would be crucial. If I let him get too much of a gap early on then there would be no coming back. The start was the mad dash as expected but because I arrived on the line so late I wasn't standing near any LBACers including Pete. At the bottom of hill is a sharp right turn which spreads out the runners. I was looking out for Pete and spotted him 30metres ahead. Damn this would take some doing to close down as he wasn't hanging around. I decided to go hard in the first lap and close the gap. Digging deep on the hills and slotting past other runners on the turns. I was getting very good traction in the inov-8s 295s. I think those that decided to wear spikes weren't getting on as well due to the slush.
I was blowing hard already by the end of lap 1 with 2 longer laps still to complete. The pattern continued into lap 2 as I refused to take the foot off the gas and slowly closed the gap. All the other times in other races it would be Pete pulling away!
Fast forward to the final lap and there was just one runner between Pete and I now and the gap was less than 10 metres. This sounds short and easily made up but with the effort being exerted even making up 1 metre was hard fought.
The final push to the finish was a steady hill that really zapped the legs. I decided early on that I wouldn't attempt to pass Pete until the last moment until after the hill and the final straight. He's very strong so an early pass would probably play into his hands and leave me exposed. I got closer and closer in the final 1/2 mile blowing harder than I have ever in the Chiltern League but at the same time being rewarded for my efforts.
Pete and I pushed up the final hill. I didn't know if he knew I was behind him. The only clues were the shouts of 'come on Pete... come on Stu' as we run past fellow LBACers spectating. I waited and waited until the finish line approached and then sprinted for the line. We recorded the same time 38.21 as I just edged it.
To be clear this was not about beating Pete but using a faster runner to help my cause and keep me pushing harder than I would usually. That was the most pleasing thing... I didn't crack, I kept the pace up and pushed harder when I really needed to. 10km in 38.21 on that course was a real workout - 6.11 mpm pace. Ouch!! :-O
And we were all rewarded with some yummy flapjack made by some of the girls! Thanks :-)