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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cranleigh 21 Mile - Race Report

As it was an early race start 9am it was still quite chilly 3c. So before the race I decided to go with the leggings instead of shorts but keeping the rest of my kit, the only problem I had forgotten to take a hi-tech pre race heat management system or commonly know a bin liner :-)

My goals for this race was get the nutrition rate and pace so I can run to the end with out any issues. For my nutrition again I was using the marathon race drink (in Tractor Blue colour) but I had six different makes of gels with me, hopefully that would not cause a problem during the race.

The 21 mile (and a bit) course was a 9 mile loop with two laps around a 6 mile loop (1 for the 15 milers). So I thought I would take the longer lap at an easy/marathon pace and then try and increase the pace on each of the other two laps. I assumed this course was undulating as was only a few miles away from the 20 mile race the previous week.

Before the start there was even a fly by.
Cranleigh 21

Still at this point in time there was choices 15 or 21 miles?
Cranleigh 21

If you were not sure where the finish was.
Cranleigh 21

This is the view from start and was also the way back towards the finish for the two times round the 6 mile loop. About 1 mile down this road was a nice hill good hill in both directions which had to be done 3 times in total and within the last mile, nice!!
Cranleigh 21

For the 9 mile loop I was slightly ahead of my target pace and had to keep my pace in check. I was using the other stopwatch to keep to the regular timed drink/gel nutrition plan. At 7 miles you could see a nice reasonably step hill in the distance with runners going up, I was strong up the hill which had a water stop at the top which I did not need so carried on. After this I got chatting to a person who was from norfolk, I did not hold it against them :-) We kept a slightly faster pace for the next 6 miles until about half way through the first smaller loop and then I picked up the pace slightly.

It was also starting to get warmer up to about 12c, so I occupationally took my hat off, my gloves were off after a few miles and where stored in my hat when running. Luckily I had planned my kit tops (just the 4) with two having zips so I could regulate my temperature a bit when it got warmer and cold. This race I was also drinking a cup of water every 2 or 3 water stations so I did not have just isotonic stuff all the way round.

The finish is just behind sign and tree but still another lap to and already got lapped by the first 10 runners on the first of the smaller laps :-(
Cranleigh 21

This took you along part of the downs link.
Cranleigh 21

This was for a few 100m along this path luckily this was a paved surface of this link. This also went behind where I parked my car with all the lovely pre race food and drink in there plus the shorts which I was think about changing in to. However I decided to carry on and not waste any time.

Cranleigh 21

On the second of the smaller 6 mile loop you knew what was coming and I was starting to pick up my pace which was starting to feel harder on my muscles. I had some jelly beans that was offered by the marshals at 1 mile in to the loop which tasted good after all the gels had already. As I had plenty of drinks left I decided to change one of my gels until a few miles later as I only had one gel left and took an extra swig of isotonic drink instead. I did have a backup option of sports powder which I could make up with water at the aid stations if needed but I felt I did not need that.

About 3 miles in to the race and 3 miles from end of the smaller loop was a farm that sold fresh goats milk. This made me chuckle every time, as my brother always says when I go back home there is wired food in the fridge and normally asks where is the goats milk, now I know where to get some fresh stuff from.

On the last lap I was increasing the pace and I was just hoping my legs would hold out until the finish. Then with about 1 mile left to go we reached the hill. I powered up this not even reducing effort to chat to somebody who knew the running club top I was wearing, I think I shouted ok or something else back to them, I was on a mission. I was in the zone and overtaking runners up and down the hill.
I then was trying to increase my pace to the finish there was starting to be a bit more traffic but I thought the marshalls would sort the traffic out, which they did all the way round apart from the last 10m were a car had stopped too close to the hedge for me to get past, it slowed me down my 1 or 2 seconds!!

Here is the medal for the 21 mile race.
Cranleigh 21

From my GPS watch my time was 3:16:56 at 9:18 minute/mile pace based on the 21.19 miles (the official measured distance with a few extra hundred yards was included in the race details), so I knew it was going to be slightly longer. This means I set a PB in my last race pre marathon :-)

For the first loop of 9 miles was 1:26:13 at 9:35 minute/mile pace.
For the first loop of 6 miles was 57:15 at 9:37 minute/mile pace.
For the second loop of 6.19 miles was 52:59 at 8:50 minute/mile pace.

The 20th mile (think had the hill in) I did in 8:46, the 21st mile I did in 7:38 and the last 300m I did in 1:15 (6:28 minutes/mile pace).

The course had 900ft of ascent and descent which both was about 20% of my total time. This was slightly less undulating than the 20 mile race the previous week yet I was over 4 minutes quicker than that race and the other 20 mile race I had done about a month earlier despite it being 1.19 miles further!!

I was pleased with making my goals of nutrition and running strongly to the end. I am surprised that second lap was at a slightly slower pace than the longer loop but I suppose the fatigue was starting to kick in and a pit stop before the adrenaline for the sprint to the finish on the last lap. Looking at the data this loop had my slowest two miles at mile 11 at 9:59 and 13 at 10:01. Excluding the last two miles (at lot faster) after mile 14 my pace per mile varied between 8:42 and 9:23.

I don't think I could have done many if any more miles after this, so now the dilemma of what pace to run the marathon sets in to my mind!!

I went in to the hall which did have the race results on television screens being streamed there (seemed to be a web page being refreshed from a laptop with a television output) but more importantly had tea and cakes there for sale :-)

Post race I hobbled around the main high street and went in to 3 shops looking for some suitable post race food, which included a health shop (must have been dehydrated). Finally went in to Marks and Spencer (has a good first name) and got a pack of scotch eggs and egg custards, just for post race protein :-)

Now its time to taper, let the taper madness commence.


David Rowe said...

Great running, great write-up, and lots of photos.

loops! said...

Really good write up, entertaining and helpful, especially with the gels and nutrition advice!