Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ely 10k - 43:27 (Personal Best) - 89th of 539

I was really pleased that Stanni let me have his entry for the popular Ely New Years 10k. I'm not that fit at the moment and tried to do a quick 10k on thursday only to do it in about 48 minutes I think (GPS was playing up as usual).

I got pretty nervous about the prospect of trying to run fast. Although I did a 50k race in December I was well aware that running a fast 10k is nothing to be sniffed at. Mum helped with my 'carb loading' the day before, and even some of the race organizers helped too (Adam and Natalle had me around for dinner on Friday night - really nice lasagne).

Come race day I was quite well rested, with no aches and pains and nicely carb loaded. I got up early for my breakfast and had a couple of cups of tea and was ready.

I normally like to start a race in the middle or at the back of the pack but then always kick myself for wasting so much time being held up. This time I jostled to the front. It looked a bit crowded but after the off things quickly thinned out sufficiently to run well. Adam led the way but this time in the pace(?) car.

As I came out of the village of Little Downham I saw Fred and Hector stationed to forewarn Mum of my location in the crowd so she could take some photos. I think I was the only one of the serious front runners waving like that! Oops, unprofessional of me.

I would like to say that I soon settled down but that didn't happen until much later (like 4 miles in). During the first mile it was amazing for me to be with the real runners. Almost everyone had shirts on from various clubs. I waved to Natalle at the 1k point and I could even see Adam in the pace car for the first couple of miles. I summised that I must be going faster than usual and my GPS told me I had 0.16 miles on the virtual partner (quite a lot). When the first mile clocked up it said 6.06 minutes. My first thought was a fantasy one, 'if I can do another 5 miles like that I'll break 40 minutes!' I quickly realized that wasn't going to happen but still tried to hang on. Of course, I'm not trained for stuff like this and the adrenalin filled first mile was rather unhelpful. I think it's the fastest I have ever run a mile. Not clever in a race.

The second mile was an effort in trying to hang on. Unusually, I found myself unable to latch on to another runner. I'm not quite sure why. Other people apparently had fewer problems. After a while I could hear breathing very close by and saw a young lady on my shoulder. As the wind changed direction so did she. I was a very convenient wind break. Eventually, perhaps after 3 miles she had sufficiently rested up to leave me for someone else ahead.

At about mile 4 the wind was directly in our faces. I saw a guy I'd noticed at the front who had a hair style as cool as mine and I managed to catch up to him. He seemed to have started too quickly too and was one of the few people ahead I was able to catch. For a while I drafted from him too - it worked well! Then I pulled up to take my turn in the wind and really noticed the difference. Pulling back in for another 'rest' did not seem on. I tried to pick up the pace to drop him and another 'passenger' but failed. Then some guy with a more sensible race strategy shot past us. I accelerated after him and managed to drop the others, though couldn't stay with the new guy.

After a little while though I noticed the girl who had orginally drafted off me (see photo), she was slowing up. After some effort I caught her at the bottom of the little hill, which had the sound of bagpipes playing(!). I tried to draft off her for a while but it didn't work so well. As we went up the hill I past her. I shouted "keep it strong", which normally motivates people but she didnt take it very well! So, I said she was looking good and legged it.

Somehow during the last 1k I picked up the pace. Got convincingly past one guy and went for the older guy in front. The first guy came back at me but I'd dusted him pretty well and he didn't seem to have it. The second guy was harder to crack. The last 100 yards was on grass. Some people hate running on uneven surfaces and as I got into my stride I remembered that I'm not one of those people. So I picked the pace up a whole lot. Unfortunately the guy in front heard me coming and did similar. He beat me by a second! Looking at the results it's clear that he wasn't actually that much older than me!

2007_0105Image0047 Fred and Hector greeting me!

So, final results are:
43:27 minutes
7.00 min/mile pace
8.58 miles an hour

I was 89th overall out of 539; 80th out of 314 men.

My age-graded result was apparently 63.24%. I'm not sure exactly what that means but it looks like it could be better!

My split times were awfully inconsistent. I'll pull them off my GPS a bit later.

This is my fastest 10k by 1 minute 27 ! Living at 7,200ft must be good for something.

These local races organized by the Ely Running Club are quite something. They always seem to get the local community involved and the atmosphere is great! You can even buy a cup of tea at the end to go with your bottle of beer that you get for participating.

Fred was quite funny after the race. He was very impressed at the speed of some of the older runners and could see himself taking up the sport, since he used to be a champion sprinter. A great idea! It's odd but running seems to attract people of all shapes and sizes, old and young. Great to be reminded of this at the friendly Ely event.

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