I was looking for an early season race to see how my winter had been. It has been the first time I have been coached, so it has been a good winter…apart from the injury, that stuffed things up a bit. We were making some good progress when I did an OCR in October…it was something I had booked before considering multisport races and the plan was to get round the course uninjured and then pack the OCR’s in. No such luck, I banged my knee and a scan revealed complex tears to the meniscus. Over 2 months of training was scrubbed out, whilst we worked on getting me back on my feet and running injury free.
JK (physio) and Julie Whaley taught me how to run…apparently I had been doing it all wrong. I now have a faster cadence, a tilt of the hip and a bit of a kick to my stride. My first run back was with absolute at Beeston and I surprised myself with a 26 minute 5k, not too bad I thought, a week or so later with the new technique, my 5k time got slower and slower as I built the new “style” into my run…going right back to basics. It was truly horrible being at the back of my local parkrun and being 10 minutes slower than before. JW was great through these dark winter days and assured me, I would be back to below 25 minutes before Easter!!!!
As well as teaching a full on novice how to swim freestyle (my style still is very free) JW had the task of slowing me down and stopping me from bouncing off my maximum heart rate on my running, which is purely down to me trying to beat myself every time I do any training. “Always Faster”
We had heard of the longhorn from friends and others who had done the Late autumn Thoresby 10k, this was the same course but in reverse. You had the choice of distances from 5k to 60k on undulating trails and booked for 10k. The booking was easy, the communication was great and there was a dedicated facebook page, which the organizers responded to almost immediately…a good sign.
Training was coming on well, with some interval sessions which were done on the dreadmills, solely so I could focus on technique. Lots of strength work, along with core work and running drills got me prancing like a deer at Wollaton Park.
We are still managing my injury, so the longest I ran before the event was a couple of 7k’s, the second one had to be faster than the first 🙂 I was starting to feel like a runner again.
The week before the event the weather was ideal for a trail race, with lots of rain, snow and hail…updates were coming from the course “It is ok, should be ok with road shoes, but muddy in places” Great for a trail virgin.
The day of the race saw a chilly 2 degrees and sun…until we got halfway to the venue, when the snow started…not a lot, just enough to make us laugh!!!
The venue was easy to find, parking and registration was a doddle, just a bit of a queue for the loos, we just made it to the start in time before the off.
I was too far back and spent a couple of minutes jinxing through the crowds to find some space and runners of a similar ability. this brought the heart rate right up and my breathing was out of control and took 2k to calm down.
The race plan, which was carefully worked out with JW was simple, heart rate max 160bpm for the first 5k, cadence of 90. see where we are after 5k and take it from there.
I had my watch set up, so I could only see heart rate, distance and cadence. This was so I followed the plan and put into practice winter’s lessons, rather than clock watching the pace and time. I did get buzz from my watch every KM, with the split times, which were encouraging. the buzz from the watch also was a reminder to focus on technique, tilt the pelvis, drive with the arms.
5km in and all was going well, the course was on forest roads and very muddy in places but I had got used to that, the heart rate was under control and the breathing had settled…I was remembered why I loved doing this. Time to pick it up a touch, lengthen the stride and drive with the arms. The splits came down to below 5:10 for a couple of km until the 9th, when I stepped off the pace to gather my thoughts for the final push. I started to see landmarks that I had seen before so it was time to pick it up. The last km was ran @ 4:56 and I came across the line in 53:50 and was sort of happy with it. in my meeting with JW, we had a couple of numbers in my mind, the first was 60mins which was very achievable, the second was 55 mins which would be good going, with the “gold Standard” being 50 mins….I had not got gold.
I picked up the results and found out that I was 55th out of 350 and 5th in my age group, which cheered me up no end. When the full results came out, the winner of the 10k came over the line in just under 39 minutes and a time of under 50 minutes would have put me in the top 30…..the course was tougher than I thought…brilliant. What a way to start the season after a difficult winter. With 3 weeks to go until my multisport debut at East Leake, I have got the answers I was looking for at the Longhorn…Bring It On!!!!!