Monday 14 October 2013

Sneaky 15K race

Rotherham might well be cold, wet and muddy next weekend.  So having a little leg stretch this weekend, on Clapham Common, in the rain, mud and cold was a perfect head-straightener in the final few days going into the Ultra.

15km, some on paths, some on gravel, some on grass and some on mud was a brilliant re-check of the Skechers Go Bionic Trail shoes and how they perform in less than gorgeous conditions.

It was raining on the morning of the Clapham Common races (5km, 10km and 15km plus some shorter ones for the kids) and had been overnight too.  Add to that a gusty, chilly breeze and it could have made for an uncomfortable run.  However, I wanted exactly those conditions for a number of reasons; testing kit, testing resolve, seeing how well I deal with mud.  So I ditched the running rucksack on this occasion to focus on other kit choices:-

A few minutes before the race, I took off my rain jacket and put it and my rucksack with dry shoes and socks in with the baggage drop.

Mr TOTKat and I intended to have a relatively steady race, but it didn't quite turn out that way.  I trotted off quite briskly at the start, keeping cadence high in order to set that for the rest of the run.  1km in, I felt good and glanced at my Garmin which said 05:23 for the first km.  About 30s to a minute quicker than intended.  But I didn't ease off.  I found myself working through the field on the first lap (1 lap for 5km, 2 for 10km and 3 for 15km races).  As I ticked off the kms and other runners (not caring at that point whether they were doing 5, 10 or 15km) I felt that the pace was good and then I was wondering whether it was sustainable for 15km.  No better way to find out than keep it up!

On the second lap, I started paying more attention to the people I was passing; checking out the colour of their number bib (red for 5km, blue for 10km and orange for 15km).  I needed to see if I passed women with orange on, or was being passed by women with orange on - I wasn't being passed at all, so that wasn't a problem.

Come the 3rd lap, with fewer of the 10km runners still out on the course, I was still maintaining the pace and felt fine with it - not a piece of cake, but still sustainable without feeling like I wanted to slow down or stop.  I finally caught sight of a woman with an orange number ahead of me.  Target locked in, I thought about trying to catch her.  I couldn't see any more further ahead and there were none behind me for quite a way.  So I tried a bit to see if I could reel her in.  To cut a boring story short, I just couldn't manage it because I'm not experienced enough at racing just running and she spotted me about 3km from the end and just made sure I didn't get any closer.

38th finisher, 10th woman, 2nd F40-44.  Happy with that.  Now time to take it easy into the weekend!

Kit check:- The t-shirt was great; it certainly helped with posture and keeping my body upright rather than drooping as the race progressed.  The shorts supported my thighs and back really nicely too - the extremely high waist was a godsend in keeping things upright and the drafts out.  Very very happy with the Compressport Trail kit indeed!  The Skechers trail shoes were pretty good on the grass and mud, I had no problems with grip, but did get very wet feet indeed - to be expected in the conditions.  I'm not entirely sure how they drained out the sloshing water, it was a worry due to lack of drainage holes in the soles, but somehow that just worked and my feet weren't a wrinkly mess at the end.

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