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:-
- Shoes - Skechers Go Bionic Trail
- Socks - Compressport Trail Socks
- Shorts - Compressport Trail Shorts, layered with short lycra shorts on top for warmth
- Top - Compressport Trail T-Shirt, layered with a Pella Team Freespeed t-shirt for warmth
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.