Conversational Race

I have been meaning to write this post for the last week and a half but due to work, events and running I have only just found the time. After doing Race to the Stones 100k I was presuming I would need a good week or two off running to allow my legs to learn to walk again. Luckily this wasn’t the case, after two days of rest I was back running on the Tuesday, doing 4 miles pre-work and testing out my Hoka One One Cliftons in the evening doing a reasonably speedy 5 miles. It was strange to be back running so soon and I managed to clock a couple 6 minute miles. My recovery rate has always been pretty good, I’m guessing it kind of helped that my hamstring was a bit dodgy for the 100k and I ended up taking it steady.

Throughout the rest of the week I ran a normal amount including The Running Works run club on Thursday. I also ran along the river, taking the scenic route home, amounting to nearly 9 miles. I bumped into James on his run commute so we had a catch up and discussed the Friday Advent Running trail run and the upcoming Adidas Thunder Run (Keep your eyes peeled for my next post!) On Friday I headed to Chorleywood with the Advent Running lot for some fun trail miles. This included the momentous occasion of wearing a head torch for the first time. I wasn’t the only person excited about this. Gill put a head torch on and then said “I’ve fulfilled a lifelong dream” in which I replied “Gill it’s not even on!” It was good to run with a head torch knowing that a week down the line I would be in a field in basically the middle of nowhere having to run a number of 10ks for the Adidas Thunder Run 24 hour team relay.


The next day I decided to head to Southwark parkrun. The main reason for doing this parkrun was that my Mum and her partner Steve were up in London to visit and I was meeting them by Tower Bridge. Having finished in first place on the 3 times I’d previously done Southwark I decided despite in “recovery” I would give it a good go and try to keep the run going (pun intended!). My luck was in and no real speed-demons turned up so I ran with a guy for the first couple laps and could then hold my place to finish in a new PB time of 17:09 and finish first. I enjoy Southwark parkrun as it is nice and flat for getting a PB and the volunteers and runners are all really friendly. I had a good catch up with Frankie who had a strong run and finished in fine form. I also bumped into Claire who I had met through working at the London Marathon Store. She was doing a bit of parkrun tourism. I need to head up and do the Hampstead Heath parkrun as well as various others soon. 


Feeling incredibly smug with finishing first and getting a new PB the week after 100k I headed to Tower Bridge. The weather was really good so we decided to walk along the river and head to Hyde Park for food taking in the sites. Obligatory selfie in front of Buckingham Palace: 

 

 I then headed home to relax for a few hours and rest up ahead of the Harry Hawkes 10 miler. Living up to my most used hashtag of #nevernotracing I persuaded Lorna to do this race with me and I said I would pace her. We were going to watch the Great Newham London Run at the Olympic Park and do a trail run but on the Thursday I stumbled across an email. It was from Iffley Road saying they were the sponsors and that you could enter on the day. This email included a little picture of the medal and that was it, it had to be done! 

 

I could lie and say that due to my amazing pacing Lorna got a PB but it was just down to the fact she hadn’t done a 10 miler before. Not knowing Alan and Freya from Niketown run club were doing the racewe bumped into them and had a good catch up. They weren’t quite in race mode, Alan having been out the night before and Freya nursing an injury. Despite that we all started running together. We didn’t really decide on a time to aim for but we knew we would run about 70 minutes taking into consideration the course was flat and we’d seen the previous yearsresults. The race started and we ran together for the first few miles. I find it good but strange running with people in races because you talk and almost forget you’re in a race. When racing I’m guessing you shouldn’t normally be at conversational pace but then again 10 miles is a long way to be pushing it and breathing heavy for the whole run. In the first mile we were chatting and Alan said “I had 8 pints last night!” to which another runner that we were passing shouted “should’ve had 10!” It’s mightily impressive that lots of runners can go out and drinkthe night before and do well in a 10 miler the next day. I would be the furthest place away from a race if I were drinking the night before. 


We ran at around 7 minute mile pace whereas Freya and Alan sped up after a couple miles and went off into the distance. I kept an eye on the watch to make sure we were on pace to finish around 70 minutes. Negotiating a couple bridges meant a few of the miles were a little slower but overall we were doingwell. I hadn’t really paced before and having not run with Lorna much I didn’t know whether the pace I was setting was good or bad but every now and then I’d ask to make sure she could still talk and her legs were ok. We kept a consistent pace and later in the race we passed Alan only for him to get a second wind and fly passed and cruise the last couple miles. We also ran alongside Freya in the latter part of the race but she did the same and finished really strongly. We carried on running close to 7min/milepace and there were parts we had to dig deep. As we neared the finish line there was a woman that runs for Serpentine in the distance. Knowing Lorna is really competitive, although we were pushing it, I said “Do you want to beat a Serpentine runner?” She didn’t answer but our pace increased and we could see she was slowing. We pushed and managed a really strong sprint finish. This resulted in Lorna finishing 10th woman in a time of just over 71 minutes. Overall it was a great run and amazing placing considering the number of serious club runners at the event. We claimed our medals, caught up with Alan & Freya and spoke to a few other friends before getting a drink and heading home.  

 

It was fun to pace and run with Lorna, you get a great deal of satisfaction helping someone compete and finish a race. I have raced quite a lot so far this year and have enjoyed them all. Some of them because I have ran well and achieved PBs, others because I have ran at conversational pace and enjoyed the event. I’m looking forward to pacing again soon and am looking into doing it for some bigger events in the future. 


I hope everyone else is enjoying racing. I will be racing again soon, that you probably knew, and aiming for certain times. If anyone wants a personal pacer for a parkrun or race in or around London anytime soon let me know.


Steve

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