I had had a good run in last year’s Great South setting a PB by a good distance at 1:02:54 and had followed that up in January earlier this year with PB’s at both 10k and (obviously) in my first marathon with a sub 3 hour time.
These had however been my last two running races and the focus for the remainder of this year has been on long distance triathlon. Running has been my strength so it has really taken a backseat to swimming and cycling this year so I wasn’t sure how my running was going to hold up. I upped the training mileage in October prior to the race running about 165k in the month prior to the race and hoped for the best.
With last year’s time in the bag I had in the back of my mind I would love to have run under the hour this year although I was fairly certain that this was well out of reach. To drop from 3:52/km to 3:43/km is significant especially with little specific training. To put it in context my 5k PB at 18:31 (albeit after a 80k bike ride earlier in the day) was run at 3:42/km.
To add to the difficulty the wind was blowing on the morning of the race. Not as much as the first couple of years I raced which were blowing a gale but a brisk wind that would be blowing directly into our face along the front in the final two miles.
I met up with the 6 or so others from the tri club who were racing for a chat and them a couple of us went to secure a good starting spot on the front line. It really does make a difference if you can run your own pace from the beginning rather than having to dodge around other runners.
After all the announcements the gun went and off we went. Far too quickly as it turned out. Having the thought of a sub hour run in the back of my mind I set off at a fast pace running the first k in 3:33. I knew this was too quick and slowed the pace for the next few k but feeling fresh they were still fairly quick at 3:43, 3:43 and 3:44. Combine that with the 5th km at 3:50 and I was through the 5k mark in 18:30 for what would have been a new PB!
From there on it was a matter of holding on as best I could. My pace didn’t drop too much stabilising at around 4:00/k but it was hurting. 10k went by in 38:08, still only 6 seconds outside my 10k PB.
The hardest part as ever is the last two miles that are straight along the front into the prevailing wind. I tried to keep the pace going but it inevitably dropped slightly to 4:11 km’s before the final push to the finish.
As can be seen from the chart the acing was very different to the 2010 race. With the exception of km’s 6 and 9 the pace was pretty consistent km’s between 3:50 and 4:00. 2011 started quickly and faded – after the 10k mark I overtook virtually nobody and there felt like there was a steady stream of runners overtaking me. I don’t remember this from last year.
The one difference there may have been was in the final 3k which were into the wind this year and wasn’t in 2010. I don’t think that the drop in pace was entirely due to fatigue.
So overall I was reasonably pleased – if I had paced the race properly I think I would have got closer to last years time although maybe not have matched it. From a year of relatively little run training I think I’ve maintained my pace and especially given that the weather was much less kind than last year it could potentially indicate an improvement if only I’d paced more sensibly at the start.
A new block of specific run training will start in January as I begin to look forward to the London Marathon.