Monday, 19 November 2012

Illness - a blessing in disguise?

Clubmate Alan and I made it up the hill at 3 miles
The 10mile Brampton-Carlisle race is usually the last roadrace in our club's Grand Prix series, and this year was no exception. I don't have the best history of this race, having started it twice......the first time being the only time I have ever DNF'd in a race (I collapsed with chest pain halfway due to being grossly anaemic) and the second time was when the course was shortened due to flooding. For the last 2 years, I have just supported club mates running it and so I consider that I've never really run the full race. It looked like this year was going to be no exception, but after enjoying the Belfast weekend, I decided to give it a go and enter it.
It was difficult to work out what pace to run at, as it's a fast, net downhill course, but I hadn't been training in the past few weeks, so didn't feel on for a particularly good time. As the weekend approached, it looked like the decision was out of my hands anyway, as I spent most of Thursday night awake with some version of the local bug doing the rounds! I dragged myself into work on Friday morning as we needed to pack up the surgery (as well as seeing patients), but by lunchtime I was back in my bed......and woke up 5 hours later still in my work clothes! Even my famous appetite had disappeared, so it didn't bode well for the weekend.
In the now-famous skirt at 7.5miles
Another day of recovery (and unpacking at the new premises) and I felt like giving it a go on Sunday. After the previous two days, there was absolutely no pressure on me to run a good time, so I could just relax and enjoy a fun day out with my clubmates. 16 of us went down together on the minibus from the club, though we had 25 clubmembers racing in total, and 3 others were there to give their support (2 on their bikes). Bearing in mind how my racekit affects my mental attitude, I further took the pressure off by wearing my club vest and running skirt, rather than club croptop and shorts (though I did query this decision when I felt some drops of rain/hailstones and dreaded the thought of long wet kit - luckily this didn't amount to much).
It was still quite chilly, but the early morning ice/frost had gone by the time we set off at 11:30am. There was little wind so some fast times were on the cards, so I made sure that I was several rows back at the start. Many people are taken unawares by the fast downhill start and so the field becomes rather mixed with runners of varying speeds then jostling for places as they head uphill again out of Brampton.

Team DRC at the pub (after the race!)
Having decided that I was in no shape to go for a time, I ran without looking at my watch for most of the race. Until I looked at my splits later, I didn't realise that I'd gone out as fast as I had, but at least this meant than when my legs ran out of energy with a few more miles to go I had still done enough to run a good time - in fact my second fastest 10 mile time. Luckily for me, the ladies' field was not as strong as usual, so I managed to sneak in a cheeky win, though the main celebrations in the pub afterwards were for the multiple PBs achieved by my clubmates. All in all, it was a great day out for the club - we all had so much fun and I'm really glad that I went (and could almost thank the short illness for taking the pressure off me, making me enjoy the run and see how bad my natural pacing mechanism is!!!).

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