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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bramley 20 Mile - Race Report

My goals for this race was just to get the miles in, test some nutrition and kit options.

The miles increase was my biggest concern due to a big jump from my last big run which was a few weeks ago but a fast half marathon last week. So I had decided to use a run/walk method where I would run for 3 minutes and then walk for 1 minute for as long as I could and then a few miles out just run.

Before the race I decided to cycle the 4 miles to the race, which gave me a bit of a warm up (more than I would usually do) but I was a bit concern about the cycle back. I then meet up with a few club runners at a persons house for a last minute isotonic drink before heading to the race.

For the race I lined up a bit behind my estimated finish time but I was not racing this so it did not bother me. Not sure what was said over the muffled speaker but the race was a few minutes late starting. So I took my designer black bin liner off and wrapped it around my bum bag belt in case I need it later.

Once we got going I started my GPS watch and my other watch timer for the run/walk part. It took a bit of nerve to start walking in the first 1/3 mile, so I stayed on the side for the first mile or so as there was a lot of runners still due to the 10 mile race as well. The first few miles of this was ok but I was thinking my pace was a bit quick as I knew where the hills were on the route but I would see how far I would last. Not sure what happened to my club mates who were taking it easy which I did not see again.

Once I got to 30 minutes in I started the stopwatch, this was to allow the eat and drink at regular intervals (30 minutes and 15 minutes) to be displayed and beeped. So this watch had 4 beeps going regularly for run, walk, eat and drink and my GPS watch had beeps every mile with my pace. I waited to 30 minutes to start my race nutrition to give my muscles time to warm up to running. I had started with a two different flavour powerade isotonic drinks (make used at the marathon) and in my bum bag a few gels (3 different makes) and a powder mix isotonic drink which I used on the bike at Ironman Austria last year which has some protein in it. So every 15 minutes from then I was taking a few sips of drink and every 30 minutes a gel.
When the first bottle was getting low I finished it out of my drink schedule to a water station coming up after 8 miles. This was fairly straight forward but may have been better if I stood still instead of walking while trying to pour the powder in, this took me twice my normal walk length so I ran through the next walk schedule to balance this out as I was feeling ok.

The next few miles there was people going quicker and even some overtaking me until I realised they were just doing the 10 miles and were close to the finish. I had to run past and start another lap when there was runners with the medal walking back to their cars. I noticed on my watch was just past 1:40 when I complete the first lap which was the faster end of my estimated pace. Then there was a lot less runners even in the distance than the first lap but I maintained my pace and run/walk, this made the pit stop en-route a lot easier to find. This also test my mental strength and techniques as I was running alone for lots of parts of the second lap.

At this point I was still overtaking people some may catch-up again when I walked but others did not. The last 2 gels I took a few minutes ahead of schedule due to the positioning of the 4 drinks station on the 10 mile lap. When I got 18 miles I felt ok so I stopped the walk part and picked up the pace until the end. I had forgotten one of the hills which required a bit more effort than planned but I made it to the end with enough for a good sprint (was downhill a bit) and overtook people even with in the last 10m of the race.

On my GPs watch I completed it in 3:20:41 which I was happy with.

After I had recovered a bit and hot my heart rate down, I had a drink and a mars bar which were in the goody bag along with the medal (almost a trapezium shape medal, top and bottom not parallel).
Bramley 20 Mile Medal 2011

I then headed back to the club members house where there was a lot of dicussion abotu people's races. There was also various food and drink but after a long run I find I can not eat much, so I had a few things to eat plus some drinks before heading bike on my bicycle which was not as bad as I thought it would be.

Below is my mile splits in minutes per mile from my GPS watch.

Bramley 20 Mile Pace

From this the mile splits are fairly constantly around 10 minutes  my average pace for the race was 10:01. I was running at about 9:30 pace so the walks did not slow me that much. Miles 8 and 9 are both slightly higher than average due to this was when I was refilling my bottle so required a longer "rest" time when pouring the powder in and when filling it up with water. Mile 12 is when there was pit stop required. The last two miles were significantly lower than the rest of race due to no walk breaks and picking the pace up a lot.

For my race goals the main was being able to make the distance and even pick up the pace near the end.

The multiple layer kit I had picked on the day was ok for me as I did not get cold or too warm despite 2 layers of leggings, 2 pairs of socks, 3 layers on top and hat gloves but this was suitable for the conditions of 5c (3c with windchill). The multiple watches and functions worked will apart from I had accidentally stopped one of the timers for a few seconds but I realised what happened and corrected it.

The nutrition I used for this race including testing out the marathon drinks on a long run and various gels worked with the timings. I was also happy with using the other powdered sports drink part way through which gave a different taste which was good on a long run and I was able to stomach running even though is designed for cycling..

I was happy with the time as it was an ever split of 1:40 for both laps (to nearest minute on my GPS watch) and was at the quicker end of the 3:20 and 3:40 estimated time range I had calculated for this race.

Overall it was a good run out.

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