I would never really class myself as a ‘proper’ runner. I mean, I enjoy running (as long as it is outdoors). I run around a lot when football refereeing. I run around a fair amount in some forms of judo training or circuit training. However, I have always hit some form of mental block when considering entering an actual running event.
My girlfriend gently persuaded me to enter the Clandon Run. I couldn’t really find a legitimate excuse to avoid it, especially considering the start line was within five minutes’ walk of her house! It was also looking to be a beautiful day out in the sunshine.
The most I had ever run in one go was 7k (my typical lunchtime run at work). Most of my recent training had been refereeing oriented. My strategy was to keep a steady pace and not push myself and everything would just work out.
The organisation of the event was absolutely first class. Registration took seconds and included nifty timing chip bands! There was even a fun aerobic-based organised warm-up. Then it was a short walk to the starting line…
A few final stretches and off we went. I probably kept a faster pace than I should have done but I wanted to avoid the early bottlenecks that we had been warned about. This I managed! However, by the first km marker I was aware my heart rate was running at anaerobic levels (182 bpm). It was a warm day and the sun was beating down and I have historically suffered in these conditions when training… but I love a challenge!
Although I shouldn’t have been able to sustain that, my average heart rate stayed at 182 bpm the whole way round. The adrenaline and boost from running with everyone else must have sustained me somehow. I’m used to having to dig deep from judo competition where you pretty much run on your anaerobic system throughout.
The course was beautiful. It took in woodland, green fields, gravel paths and a lake (no swimming required). Some of the narrow paths made the whole event more challenging. That said, I’m used to uncertain footing in my training so this did not cause much of an issue although I noted that about 25% of starters in the 10k did not finish! Heat? Terrain? I wonder…
Now, I started pretty much at the front so I was mentally prepared that I would be overtaken throughout the event. This happened! However, by about the 5k mark this stopped happening and I guess I had found my place. It then became a bit ‘cat and mouse’ with runners I targeted for my own pacing: They might go ahead but then I’d catch up with them later when they had stopped…rinse…repeat!
The last few km were hard but I struggled through and before I knew it I was on the finishing straight! I had enough in the tank left for one final sprint which meant I made up a few places, even if it spiked up my heart rate to perhaps the highest I have ever known it. Oops. Still, I made a time of 54:01 which was faster than my ‘realistic target’ and I got a free banana. [10k PDF results]
Nicky and Tasha successfully completed the 4k and were exceptionally supportive as well which I appreciated more once I regained the ability to speak properly.
It really was a wonderful event. Fantastic organisation, great atmosphere and a challenging course. You know what? I’m already thinking about the next one…