Monday, 30 June 2014

Runfest Wales 10k

Today was an early start to Rhyl, and as always on race day, the sun was out in full force.  Why does it only rain on me when i don't want it too?  As the race is next to the beach I had the man and the dog with me but was still a bit apprehensive.  I hadn't received my race number and communication was somewhat lacking for RunWales so i was worried about how unorganised the race would be.  Also, was a bit gutted that race numbers had names on but I would be nameless because I had to get a replacement number.

After a slight detour (the husband got lost) we got to Rhyl and headed to the race HQ at the Taste Academy, very close to that start (Hint, if you do decide to run this race in future use the toilets at the academy, they don't cost 20p like all the public toilets and they are very under used, especially after the race).  There was a very long line for number collection (Am thinking I was not alone in a lack of packet through the post) and organisers, if you are reading, could really do with someone at the door telling marathon and half marathon runners to go to the front as heir race stated first.  It took about 10 minutes to get my number, which wasn't too bad, and got a nice surprise as it had my name on (Yes i know, simple things... small minds... but it made me pleased anyways).  I ordered a technical t-shirt for an extra £9 (I still don't have many and it's cheaper than buying them in the shop) so we went to collect it before the race, from a marque next to the start finish.  They did run out so was a wise decision.  For those who don't like different distances getting the same medal/t-shirt, they were individual to each distance.

Gizmo 'watching' for me (He's blind)
The routes on the website we different to the actual routes we did.  I'm not sure if this was explained in the packet sent with the running bibs or not as I never got mine and I couldn't find any information at the race HQ about the route either. The 10k and 5k started at 9:30am, first running left along the coast, across two bridges (I loved the very bouncy one, very strange to run on), back to the start then up right along the coast and back to the start.  The 5k people left us and turned around quite quickly on the second leg. I think the marathon and half marathon people (who started 30 minutes before us) did laps of a similar route but it was difficult to tell.  The route is very very flat but it is pretty much four long straight runs.  The run right away from the start seems like it goes on forever and a day but this was probably made worse by the head wind which, whilst not terribly bad (no where near the scale of Mad Dog 10k winds) did slow you down.  Pretty much the entire race takes place on the path along the beach which is very smooth and flat, a bit like running on a running track so it's easy to get a good stride going.  I decided quite early on in the race that it wasn't going to be a PB because of the slower speed and decided to enjoy, and I did.  Although the course was a bit of a mind challange I really just enjoyed running it and made sure i paid attention to how pretty things were around me and how nice it was to run next to the sea.  I think it was of my most enjoyable runs for a long time, i still pushed myself as much as i could but didn't worry about time, pace or people passing me and made myself start slow.

Route on website
Route ran
Although the routes may have changed I have to say that the organisation of the actual race was amazing.  As four distances were running the same route as once each distance was coloured coded.  You simply followed the colour signs that match the colour of your bib and you can't go wrong.  Distance markers were also colour coded and they were pretty difficult to miss.  

Nice negative splits in the second half
RunFest Wales 10k Medal and T-shirt
Runfest Wales 10k t-shirts and medal
After the mind numbing last run out, I was feeling quite strong for the return journey to the finish and picked up speed but I didn't really look at my watch to see what i was doing.  I did my best sprint finish so far (James almost missed me) and was pretty sure that the clock said 55 something.    My watch said 55:25 so I was pretty sure it was a PB but I never really believe it until i get the official time so I tried to forget about it for a while. Water is handed out at the finish but you have to go to the marque to collect the free cotton t-shirt and medal (Something not made very clear and difficult to figure out when you have race head on.  I'm seriously surprised I don't get ran over or something when I finish a race cos my brain just goes dead). I got changed (At Taste Academy where the toilets were empty)  took Gizmo into the sea, got some chips, cheered on some runners (It's impossible to figure out where they are in the race) and got attacked by seagulls then i got a text with my time, 55:45, a PB and i was pretty chuffed until I realised that was actually the gun time and I'd really done it in 55:20! Almost a minute off my previous time, copper club standard (to the second) and I'd ran for fun rather than time.  One more copper standard and I'll get a trophy at WRR's awards night.

Gizmo asleep on the way home

Friday, 20 June 2014

Dunham Massey 5k (x2)

These two 5k's are part of North Cheshire Grand Prix Series, five 5k races that are held near Warrington.  The race is part of the WRR club championship and as the cheap no frills type affair hosted by Altrincham & District AC.

Dunham Massey 5k
Dunham Massey race 2 route, race 1 is the reverse
The first race was held on Thursday 5th June, the second on Thursday 19th, both using the same route in the beautiful Dunham Massey park, but ran in opposite directions.  The course is two and a bit laps of paths within the park, part of which is on grass but it's easy to run.  The first race finishes uphill (It won't seem like a hill the first two times you go up it but the third turn it turns into a massive slope as you tried to speed up it to the finish) whilst the second race has a downwards final sprint and so people generally get a better time on the second race.

Dunham Massey 5k Elevation
Dunham Massey 5k Elevation (Race 2)

Race 1 Splits
Race 2 Splits
For the first race my time was 26:44, seven seconds of my club's copper standard but technically not a PB as I've ran a parkrun 4 seconds faster.  I managed to knock 50 seconds of during the second race, getting a pb time of 25:44 and my first club copper standard.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

WRR Summer Handicap

The summer handicap is a Warrington Road Runner's club race, that is part of the club championship. It's designed to encourage all runners, not just those who are very fast and as such each runner sets off with a handicap, the slowest leaving first.  If the all is as it should be then all runners should finish at the same time (This was second club handicap but already i know that this never happens, which is part of the fun).

On my very first run with the club in November last year we did a route that started with (what seem like a very) long uphill and did a lot of the handicap route.  I struggled a lot (Bryan and Ian pretty much dragged me up) and hadn't ran that route since so I was a little bit apprehensive about the race. I made James drive me round the route the night before too as the problem with the slowest going first is that you have no one to follow. It turns out that it was no where near as bad as i thought.   I was meant to leave a minute behind the first person but as she didn't know the route we left at the same time with Bryan (Who should be in the dictionary next to perseverance cos he is awesome).  Both Bryan and I were took the lead for the entire race, taking it in turns to flag and push each other but for a little while i was running on my own in front which is a very strange experience that i doubt i'll ever have again.  The drive to stay in front is immense but it's intensified knowing that someone could come and overtake you at any minute (And i did expect some of the other runners to pass).  Whilst we were far from the fastest, we crossed the line first and so I'm looking forward to my first every (and probably only) first place trophy at the awards night early next year.