Saturday, 5 January 2013

Ely Runners New Year’s Eve 10k

Might as well start the new year as I, hopefully, intend to go on with a prompt race report. 

Monday saw me take the start line for the Ely Runners New Year’s Eve 10k for the 5th time in a row.  Given the weather conditions of 35km/h winds and the roughly triangular course layout there were headwinds on 50-60% of the course, I would have been thinking twice about just going out for a run, maybe do a turbo session instead.  But as this is my “home race” with the start line around half a mile from my house that kind of excuse was never going to come into play.

Coming into this, specific training had been a bit patchy, but good, suggesting that I was in condition for a reasonable PB, maybe something between 42 and 43 minutes.  The real question was how much of an effect the wind would have.

When I picked up my race number it seemed a little less crowded than usual, and the lack of queues at the toilet bore that out as well.  Then a quick warm up, feel the wind and have a look at the last 100 yards or so to the finish in a field.  That was already getting churned up just with dog walkers and the race being set up but I was expecting the ground to be so soft that nothing other than fell running shoes would give you good traction. I was wearing my Altra Samsons which are very good for wet tarmac and to some extent you would be sinking deep enough into the mud at each step to give a bit of solidity. 

Another 5 minutes hanging around getting nervous, then time to shuffle off to the start line.  Got myself about a third of the way back, behind the really fast runners.  Approximate plan was hard first 2k, then settle into a maintainable pace.  Normally I start to push from about 5.5km in this race, then really go for it from about 1.5-2km to go, but this time I really had no idea.  The first turn into the wind comes at about 2.5km, that would be the real test and set the pattern for the rest of the race I think.

30 seconds, 5-4-3-2-1-go!  First km downhill, quick pace, then try and slow it to a sustainable pace. First 2km up by the GPS in 8:28, on target but oddly came up before the marker.  Turn into the wind, and almost stop in effective race pace, from 4:14 for the first 2km to 4:25 for the next 4km with wind not quite head on, but a strong cross-headwind from the left, then another left hand turn around 5.5km into a full headwind for another 2.5-3km.  The pace here came down to 4:49 for kms 7 and 8. At this point I started picking a few people off, but one woman decided to use me to hide from the wind and I just could not shake her off down that back straight.  At around 8km, there’s a short “hill” regaining what was lost at the start, this is also where you turn back again with the wind finally in your favour and I finally managed to shake my shadow.  Normally I blast past a lot of people up the hill with a fast finish, but this year the wind had taken all the spring out my legs and I struggled to kick down to a 4:19/km pace for the last two km.  Last year it was 4:15/km pace for the last mile and then accelerated into the last quarter.  Not this year.

My Garmin gave me 44:34, official time 44:37, 108th of 539 overall, 93rd male of 340

2011 official time 44:15 (my PB), 148th overall out of 579, 125th male out of 345,

Winning times 2012 - 32:33.0, 2011- 30:40.0

Talking to people afterwards, the consensus was that the race was around 2-3min slower, as per the winning time, so for me to be within 20 secs of a PB was a pretty decent effort, and probably on par for a 42-42:30 on a good day as per the training efforts.  Let’s hope for better conditions next year.
About 500m after the start
About 2km to go

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