Posts Tagged ‘Personal Best


wheathampstead 10k race report – back once again

I hadn’t planned to enter this year. Sandwiched as it is between Grim Beast In The East and BUPA 10,000, I thought I’d leave it this year and come back in 2012. But when SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo started asking when they were running their 2k, I relented and entered… all of us for the 2k and, hell, I was going to be there anyway, me for the 10k.
This was to be the third time I had run this course, first in 2009 when SonNumberOne and I ran the 2k and I ran the 10k, and then last year when I ran the 2k with SonNumberOne, SonNumberTwo and Mrs eatingtrees and then the 10k with the mighty Hauling My Carcass. You can read reviews of previous years here and here.
The event itself has a friendly, village feel to it. A refreshing lack of corporate sponsorship, bouncy castles for the kids and cake stalls and a barbecue for the hungry.
The 2k was a blast… it is so great to see the joy on the kids faces when the race starts… all off like a shot with big grins. Some of the accompanying adults didn’t look quite so delighted as many looked like they were more familiar with the sofa and the remote than the running shoe. Myself and SonNumberOne finished in 16:24 with Mrs eatingtrees and SonNumberTwo coming in around the 22 min mark. And all the kids get medals…
Then at about 10:45, I set off to the start of the 10k. It is a short walk to the start and we make our way there, everybody chatting with each other as we file through along the narrow path. Once at the start, we settle into out respective zones, set out in expected finish times. Previous years I’ve gone for the 55mins – 1 hour zone as it is a challenging course with a few obstacles (stairs, kissing gates) where there is often a queue to pass. But having put in a couple of quick (for me) runs recently, I optimistically settle into the 50-55min section. As soon as everyone is in their place, we are off, bang on time and into the rolling countryside. A mixture of bridle paths, farmers fields, woodland tracks. I settle into my pace and at about 3km find myself running alongside a guy who has fallen into step with me. We begin talking as we run and the next few kms pass easily. There is a water point at 5km and I drop back slightly and put my headphones back in and concentrate on keeping a steady pace for the second half. There is a camaraderie not found in bigger events… runners ahead call back to those behind if there is a dodgy tree root or rabbit hole to avoid, people chatting and queueing calmly to get through the kissing gate
Obstacles successfully negotiated and with only one small trip over an incospicuous root, I finished in 52:43… a new personal best: beating my old pb by 2 mins and 5 seconds and my previous Wheathampstead times by 7 minutes. I see a few of the runners that I was talking to at the start and we swap congratulations and enquire how we each did. I love this event… it’s is completely unpretentious, very friendly, well organised and feels more like a village fete than a race. I will be back again next year.


hometown pb – hertford 10k race review

I’d been looking forward to this race for a while. I ran it for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. This year, I had persuaded Hauling My Carcass to join me (I shall, in return, be joining him for his local race, the Ashtead 10k, later in the year) and as he was bringing the family with him, it seemed the ideal opportunity for us all to get together and make a bit of an occasion out of it.

The event itself was organisationally very similar to last year, the Race HQ at the local school with real toilets (not portaloos) and very little queueing, and a hassle free bag check (name, race number, hand over your bag, thank you very much), there is lots of parking space and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. I was also happy that one of my (tiny) criticisms from last year had been addressed, namely that the race was just under 10k. This year, it had had an extra little piece added on bringing it to (according to my Garmin) 10.11km. Perfect.

The start is a short walk from the school and there was very little hanging around… we were led to the start and minutes later we were off. The race follows the first part of the Cole Green Way before looping off and through some of the many small villages on the outskirts of the town…. Hertingfordbury, Staines Green and then rejoins the Cole Green Way further up and returns back to Hertford. It is a quiet, varied and rural route with none of those long stretches of road that head off into the distance that make you feel like you are not actually getting anywhere. The first 6-7km are mostly gently uphill and which turn into gentle downhills as you again join the Cole Green Way for the return stretch. Marshalling is frequent, good humoured (one marshall good naturedly admiring my tattoos as I ran past) and efficient.

The sting in the tail is the last 500 metres, a good portion of which is an uphill stretch toward the finish line which saps the energy. Fortunately, this is where the majority of the spectators gather and you can hear their shouts of encouragement from about half way up the steep hill. This alone is enough to make you grit your teeth, go for the finish line and banish those thoughts of walking. And it is an impressive finish on the doorstep of County Hall with its imposing facade and sculptures of Harts either side of the doors.
I wanted a personal best… It’s my local race and had felt that I had been getting quicker over my training runs so felt that a sub 55min finish was acheivable. I hardly looked at my watch for the last half of the race so was delighted when I crossed the line in 54:58… it might only be 2 seconds under 55mins but it was 37 seconds faster than my previous 10k pb so was very happy. I have the BUPA 10k in May (the scene of my previous 10k pb) and think that without the killer hill at the finish, there is at least another 30-45 seconds to be shaved off of that time come 30th May.

So all that remained was to collect the goodie bag (water, t-shirt, shot glass) grab a banana and then cycle home. Then to the serious business of eating, chatting and removing a seized seatpost from a frame for a bike build project for Mrs Hauling My Carcass.

It is a good race, organisation this year was spot on – everything just seemed to happen as and when it should, and it’s nice to have a race you can be proud of on your own doorstep.

Soundtrack to this post: Maceo & All The Kings Men – Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself


tired and emotional

Time Of In Lieu – A Quickie – Bike Building And Bristols Finest

Another week of the big commute has seen me struggle to fit in all my training that The Regime requires. In fact I bailed on Wednesday nights intervals as once I (finally) got home, I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Ordinarilly, I would have tried to get out to run quickly before I had time to think about what I was doing, but on this occasion I felt I had worked hard at The Garden City 10 earlier that week and needed a day off.
Friday nights “30 minute steady run” then metamorphosised into one of my beloved “after dark” runs. I didn’t want to take the Garmin and also left my wristwatch at home so I don’t know how far I ran of for how long – I just felt I wanted to get out and run around until I didn’t feel like running around anymore. So that is what I did – the pace felt fairly quick but who knows…

Sundays run was 10k at “race pace”. I got up early to get out and back before the rest of the world woke up and it was very pleasant. It’s been a long time since I’ve got out for an early run and I really enjoyed it. I was feeling very relaxed on the run, finding my stride quite quickly and after a little while, I’d convinced myself that I was running at a good speed and still had some energy so tried to push a little harder. As I neared the 7.5km mark, I also realised that if I could keep up my pace, I might actually beat my pb for the 10k that I set back in May. The last kilometre felt quite hard but finished in 53:33 – 2 minutes and 2 seconds inside my personal best which I was very pleased with. Seems that The Regime does bring results. The intervals have certainly made me faster over 10k than I was but feel I need to work on distance and stamina as the last couple of miles of the Garden City 10 were tough.

So, all in all, a good week. I have had my freelance job extended until the end of October, I have started work on building a fixed gear bike and spent my Saturday afternoon lovingly dismantling a perfectly good push bike to cannibalise for the fixie. A 10k pb today and I’m off to see Massive Attack on Friday. Maybe things are looking up…
Soundtrack to this post: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin

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