Instead of the warm up of a couple of hours of cycling like I did last year this year I decided on a short swim (pool) followed by 1 hour of gym workout before heading of to the race. I did a few weights but kept the cardio light resistance and did a few more stretches than normal, as I left the gym I felt the best before any race.
After the short drive I meet up with some work colleagues who were doing the shorter distances as their first race, they were a bit anxious but also excited. I gave them a few last minute tips before I went to the 10 mile start which was leaving minutes before their races. It was a cool 13c with slight chill in the breeze.
As I stood in the starting area for the race I tried to relax and focus on the next 90 minutes or so. The gun went of and I felt I went off a bit too fast in the first 100m's so I slowed down a bit as did not want to get carried away with my pace this early and settled in to a nice rhythm.
Luckily we had done a practice run of the loop around the town so I had recently done most of the route leaving the rest to my memory from previous races. After about 1 miles there was along steady slope which luckily I knew was there and that we would do it again in the last mile and a bit, so I went at my steady pace but not too much more effort.
Then we crossed the main road (A30) and headed towards Reading along a nice down hill. I remembered the sting in the tail, as there biggest hill on the course was next it even had a few S bends. It then went on to some country roads which still seem to have some inclines with occasional down hill section but I don't think there was equal amount of ups and downs.
After about another mile we reached the furtherest north part of the course which was along the main street in a village which was all up a steady incline with 2 pubs along it, one of them had an official water station point but I had my own stuff with me.
The next mile seemed to have all the down hill sections maybe due to being next to a golf course?
As we went a bit past the 6 mile marker we then joined the same route as those who were doing the 6 mile race. The was along the main road which was straight and a slight incline which also had a pub and a water stop half mile up the road at the turning point. This was a long steady pace section which I was starting to overtake more people. This was the furtherest west so you were no heading back to the finish!!
We then turned left along another road were you could see the next turn in the distance but this felt it was slightly downhill. At this point 7 miles in I was felling strong and was still overtaking people, at which point I decided to slightly step up the pace a bit.
At 8 miles we joined the loop that we did at the start missing about 1/5th of the loop out. Time for another push around the business park as the runners were starting to thin out more now. The last slope at 9 miles felt tougher but I was able to keep pace with another runner and went past him near the top.
There was just under a mile to go, time for another injection of pace and a last few sips of my sports drink. I gave myself a few seconds to recover from the hill before increasing the effort. At this point you could here the finish line announcer which was about a few 100m's behind the trees but we had to run the half mile on the roads to get there.
With about half mile to go the Turbo Booster button was pressed and I kicked for the finish and was overtaking more people even in the finish straight. I just had enough energy maintain my form and speed to the finish line, luckily it was slightly down hill.
In the end I finished under 82 minutes (from my watch) which I think was 20-30 seconds quicker than last year.
For the race I had decided to take one sports drink with me and 2 isotonic gels this was about right for me on the colder day which I did not need any of the supplied water. I stuck with my timed gels and drinks method which was a loop timer and not based on distance or water stations. Plus I tried a new pre race caffeinated drink which luckily was ok for me and my digestion.
From my GPS data I have doen the following analysis.
My average pace was 8:13/mile which only mile 5 (downhill section) was faster apart from the last 3 miles. With the last mile split being 1:15/mile quicker than average. The last half mile pace was 2 minutes/mile pace quicker than the average, not a bad kick. Excluding the last few miles the average pace was around 8:25/mile but the last few miles help lower this average down.
I even achieved a negative split by 1:30.
If you discount my kick at the end I think this would came about on target for each mile so my pacing for this distance and race was spot on.
This is always a great local race and a some community support around parts of the course. I was pleased with my time but more importantly that I felt in control at the pace all the way round. Also that my nutritional planing worked out, I love it when a plan comes together!!