If I'm honest, my legs felt heavy all day yesterday, heavier than they have for some time. It retrospect, it had been some time since I'd done a brick session. 30 mins on the turbo in excess at 90rpm is a concerted effort...and thats not even including the 5km run piggy backed on the end of it.
Tuesday was very much as rest day. The plan was to go home, put the feet up and watch Ars*nal v Dortmund but as it turns out, my office buddy Reuben suggested a quick beer after work as it has been a while since we'd had a catch up.
Three pints later, I was falling asleep on the train home and I crawled in just before kick off via the Golden Chopstick. Bad move. Hey, its been 9 months or so since my last Chinese takeaway. Singapore Noodles with Chilli Beef and Salt & Chilli King Prawns. It doesnt get better than that (especially after 3 pints).
As in the old days, I decided to eat half and then take the other half with me to work for my lunch. Probably not the best pre-race fueling but surely the Noodles counts as carbs ;)
So I bounced out of the office at 4.30, jumped on the London Overground at Whitechapel and headed to New Cross before picking up the first train to Lewisham and then changing onto a Bexleyheath line train to get home. Walked through the door at 5.31, so almost an hour door-to-door. Quickly packed my bag, downed a 500ml bottle of High 5 4:1 and got changed. Jumped on the bus and I was at the club by 6.10.
Jim A and Ray were just outside, looking at the times. I was off at 6:38:15, 15 seconds behind marathon queen Gina and 15 seconds ahead of Ian. The first runner was off at 6:25 so I was going to have to go some to catch him. Popped into the changing rooms to say hello to everyone. Cross country skipper JIm W asked me how I felt after the cross country on Sunday. Ruined pretty much described it pretty well.
The changing room filled up and one by one everyone made there way to the start line. I'd preset my Garmin to 08:30 min/mile pace as a guide. If I could stick to that I'd be coming in around 52:42ish. I hadnt run a sub 53:00 10k for ages so it was a good target to aim at.
Jim A let Gina off the start line and I followed 15 seconds later...
I'd passed Gina before we'd even got to Crook Log. Next man to pick off was Geoff. I didnt even see him until the descent down Watling Street to Crayford and didnt actually pass him until just after the Mazda garage in Bourne Road. I felt I was going great guns. As I came over the A2 flyover, I could hear someone behind me. It was Keith. He was absolutely flying. At that point, I felt all the energy I had just drain from my legs. I put it down to lack of experience in race conditions. I tried to up the pace but I was hanging on for dear life by that point. As I passed Robin (who was marshalling in Bexley Village), he said I was only 4 minutes behind the leader at that point. The only problem was that from Bexley Village, to say the road is undulating is an understatement. Up then down then up again. I managed to get up the first hill without reducing pace too much, passing Guy in the process but then in the space of say a hundred metres, Jake, Paul, Richard, Graham, Russell and Francis had all flown past. I caught and passed Warren but that was it for the overtaking until the last stretch.
I came into Blendon, straight across the A2 roundabout and I mean literally straight across, straight into the traffic flow, arms out stretched with a scowl on my face and the traffic literally parted like the red sea did in the bible. I think Russell was grateful as he'd actually stopped for a gap in the traffic. As I came through the A2 underpass to Danson Park, I could see first man Lee at the top of the climb. Knowing there was one more drag to come, I upped the tempo for one last night to try and catch him and I passed him just before the drag and I knew I was almost home and dry.
Turning into the club's driveway was a great feeling but also depressing all at the same time as it was amazing how many people seemed to be there already.
Official placing was 10th out of 18 with a time of 53:36.
Got to be pleased with that. Looking at the Garmin dump, 53:36 was for 6.28 miles rather than 6.2. I'd run the last 0.28 at 2:17, so a quick conversion of 2:17/0.28*0.20 = 1:38, so a 39 second saving reducing the time to 52:57.
Now if you apply the 39 second saving to the Garmin's moving time of 52:06, that gives me an adjusted time of 51:27 (equating to 8:18 min/mile pace), which when compared to my 10k PB of 51:54, that gives me a new unofficial 10k PB by 27 seconds.
Sadly, it remains unofficial, cant claim it and wont claim it. However, there are definitely grounds for optimism.
I so need to break the 50 mins barrier for 10k. Can I train for a marathon over the winter AND train to break the 50 min barrier? I've got no idea but I'm going to give it a damn good go.
I'll link up the official handicap results when they're posted on the Plums website.