Well, yesterday was the Great South Run.
For those of you not living in the UK we were also forecast to have one of the worst storms in this area since 1987 so I think it is fair to say that I was watching the forecast with interest !
The Great South Run is 10 miles and is meant to be the flattest 10 mile race of its kind and yes, it certainly was flat !
I have to say the organisation was brilliant from start to finish. With winds gusting up to 40mph along the seafront I knew that the last two miles would be hard work and I’m not sure if it was comforting or not to hear it announced over the tannoy system that this was a race of 3 parts…. the first part would be in to wind, the middle part would be quite sheltered but from mile 8 it would be hard work !
This only confirmed what I already knew having looked at the weather and race route before I started so rather than running a steady pace for the whole 10 miles I thought I needed to have some “spare” time that I could use if I slowed down in the last two miles….. I know from training runs that I have down that running straight in to wind like this can slow me down my up to 1 minute a mile. This may not sound like much but when I was planning on running 9 min/miles this is actually over a 10% difference…. So, somewhere along the line I needed to make up 2 minutes or about 15 seconds a mile for the first 8 miles. If you don’t run this doesn’t sound much…. but it can feel harder than you think !
I also met a lovely chap from Pompey Joggers at the start who was acting as the 1:30 pace maker… I didn’t realise there would be pacers until this point ! I had a chat with him and his plan was to start a bit slow to let the crowd spread out, increase the pace over the middle section to allow for the wind at the end so I decided to start with that I would stick with him. I still wasn’t sure that I would be able to maintain the pace though….
As we got going you have the dreaded walk to the start line… the bit when you know the race has started but the sheer volume of people means that you aren’t going anywhere !
As always before the start of a race I can never decide what to wear. I always get cold at the start and I always get really hot when I’m running ! On the walk from the car park I had been wearing a t-shirt-hoodie and jacket and that felt about right but I knew running I wouldn’t need this amount so I opted for my club running vest and capri bottoms…. with a very stylish black bin liner to wear over the top to try and keep me a bit warmer before the start !
I’m glad I didn’t wear any more and to be honest I was wishing I had worn shorts. Despite the wind the temperature was actually quite warm for the time of year !
About mile 3 or 4 I over took the 1:30 pacer and kept in front of him until the last mile. when he caught up with me he did chat to see how I was getting on and reassure me that I would be in my target time. It is surprising how much a few words from a stranger can spur you on in a difficult stretch of a race.
So, I crossed the line in 1:28:36 well within the 1:30 target that I had been aiming for. My garmin data is shown below. I was surprised I didn’t slow down more in the last two miles in to wind and I could see where the water stops were on the way round because drinking does cost me a few more seconds.
All in all a good day 🙂