Thursday, 10 April 2014

All in the mind?

Your psyche really does influence you a lot more than many people give it credit for. I couldn't work out why I've been feeling so "bleurgh", but I've come to realise that the mental and emotional legacy of Seville definitely lasts longer than the physical.
I hadn't been particularly keen to return to my previous level of running, either in training or racing, and so I wasn't going to go to the Longtown 10 (the second race in my club's 2014 Grand Prix). In fact, I was so unsure of my direction that I had  even let my club membership lapse.

On Saturday morning, I debated getting stuck into some gardening, but the weather wasn't exactly the finest, being rather wet with gusty winds, so I decided to go for a run. As I was debating a 10 mile loop from my house, it did seem rather silly not to go and join my clubmates, so at the last minute (well 10am), I dug out my club vest, rejoined the club online, and jumped into the car.

The DRC pre-race photoshoot

I knew that I was cutting it rather fine, so one of the guys already over at Longtown kindly entered me before registration closed.

There was a fine turnout of 19 runners and 2 supporters from the club, so we had some good banter before the race......with me convincing the guys to ditch their thermals and keep me company in braving the elements in a DRC vest (I'm not sure the locals appreciated their striptease, or that Doug appreciated having so many tops to carry around).

After a club photoshoot, we were off.....
I was anxious about the start and so kept to one side, but luckily there was only a relatively small field so I needn't have worried about jostling. I thought that I started off in about the right position relative to my clubmates - Steven was at the front, with Richard close behind him and then me....... Well, that was almost the order, as one of the ladies from the club did a kamikaze sprint from the off, and looked like she was going to try to keep up with Steven, but the natural order soon prevailed.

In the "second wave" of starters
I did my usual first mile working my way up between faster starters and by the second mile, found that I was out on my own. I could see the three leaders in a pack, then Steven and another guy together, and then me, with a guy just on my shoulder. As we passed the two mile mark, I was seriously regretting my decision to run, and wondered how far I could go before I could retire with dignity knowing that I'd tried!

The route had been described as up to mile 6, and then a 4 mile downhill run to the finish, so I decided to keep on to mile 3, as that would be halfway through the tough section. It wasn't feeling any more fun at that marker, but I figured....."hey, only another mile and you've done 2/3 of the climb" and then it was "go can do another mile to get to the halfway point of the whole run"!

It was good to get a shout out from Doug and Peter en route, and I tried not to twist my trailing foot when I saw Peter pointing his camera at me! Not having run the race before did mean I got rather a surprise after 4.5 miles. We suddenly started running steeply downhill, but you couldn't let yourself relax and go with it, as the road was straight......and there was a very steep ascent straight afterwards (with a cameraman at the top). Steven seemed to have gotten into his stride as I'd seen him push away from the other runner, and the guy on my shoulder made a move and ran away from me (to my surprise it wasn't Richard, as I'd been waiting for him to overtake me since I'd passed him soon after the start). I needed another talking to at this point, but at least I could tell myself that I wasn't far away from the famous "4 mile downhill" stretch.

Out in the country
Unfortunately, the downhill was negated by the fact that we had to run into a headwind.......and then it started raining! Nice!

Luckily Doug and Peter had managed to nip across a shortcut to cheer us on again.....and I'm sure I heard a comment about me whinging about being tired as I passed them (which made me smile!).

We had been out on relatively quiet (though very undulating) country roads right from the start, but suddenly a few trucks and tractors appeared as we headed back to town. It was tempting to ask for a lift from the club cheer squad as they drove past to get to the finish time for the winners, but by this time, I just had my head down in the rain and was focusing on making it to the finish before Richard ran me down!

Cornering into the finish
(in the wet!!!)

The finish was really odd, in that we ran down a street avoiding both parked cars and normal traffic, and then had to make a 180 degree turn through an entrance gate into the school. Steven had already finished and I heard him encourage Richard in the same breath as me, so I put everything I had into keeping my legs moving as fast as I could, as I know Richard has a speedy sprint.

I made it home 12s ahead of him, 7th overall and first lady. Not a time to shout about (more than 4 mins slower than my last 10 mile race), but it was my longest run since Seville (and there was as much cake as you wanted available in the school afterwards......magic!!).

Supporting CUBC!

It just goes to show, that although it was my head that was keeping me from running in the first place, it was my own form of mind games to get me round in the end. Time to reflect from within???

On a sidenote, I did enjoy a short gentle run in the sunshine the next afternoon, wearing my CUBC all-in-one, in preparation to support "my team" in the boat race........but the least said about the events on Tideway the better....

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