Easter Sunday Race Report
First race of the season is in the bag. Done. Finished. Well and truly run.
The weather was great this year for North Tyneside’s (third) annual 10k road race. By great, I mean a whole lot better than last year’s howling gale and rain. It was bright and sunny, but the predicted 10-15mph tail wind metamorphosed into a really tough headwind. Go figure.
Over all, it was a race of thirds. Referring again to the excellent Gmaps Pedometer map of the North Tyneside 10k road race course prepared by Barry Cornelius (who I looked out for, but with 1,500 runners, it was a bit like the proverbial needle in a haystack), it broke down to . . .
- Map reference 1-3 - first two miles - really flying. I kept pace with, and even pushed my Tall Friend to go faster. I think we did this in about a 6:05 pace (woo woo woo!), which was slowed (no, really) by starting too far back in the field, and having to overtake too many optimists in a really packed first mile.
- Map 3-6 - middle third. Bad - I’d set off too fast! The first sign that I’d done this was asking Tall Friend what his Pulsar had for his HR - 174. I know that his BPMmax is 188, so this put him at 92%, which made me worry, and slow down, only to watch him leap ahead (which is pretty easy with a 22yd stride length . . . .). So I didn’t attack the two hills at the priory (map point 3) with anything like enough chutzpah. And then at the mile 3 drinks station (just before point 5), I fluffed my bottle pickup. Worse still, I didn’t realise that the ’sports top’ of the bottle was open, and inadvertantly squeezed as I brought it to my lips. The result was I good squirt of water right down the back of my throat, and that “I’m drowning” feeling that I usually get toward the end of a long swim session.
- Final third, not bad at all. Starting with a run past the cheering and waving Home Supporters Club (minus Von SmallHaussen this year), the headwind was a pretty rough 25mph at about 45 degrees - work out the effective airspeed yourself by dividing by 1.414 - but apart from rubbing up the usual blisters on my arches I felt pretty good.
My overall time from crossing the start line to the finish line itself was about 45:10. I don’t know exactly because I forgot to stop my watch until I’d finished shaking hands with the people I’d really raced the last mile with - Doh!
I think I lost about 30 seconds on the crowds at the start, a minute on just not putting the effort in at the Priory, and about a minute through trying to drown myself at the halfway point. Which for a first race of the season means that with a bit more effort / luck, I could have been looking at a time of around 42:30, which is something I’m pretty pleased with.
Anyway, here are some photos. I should warn you that I packed my Lucky Trousers to put on after the race. These were given to be as a birthday present 15 years ago as an ‘amusing joke’. The joke was on the giver, as I proceeded to wear them frequently. If your sense of style or decency is easily offended, don’t look!
Here we are at the finish line, stuffing power bars from the race’s goody bags down our throats. Note my extremely stylish trousers & Tall Friend’s worried expression at having to stand so close to them. Please also note that we are NOT holding hands.
Speaking of the Goody Bags, this race always has the BEST pack of freebies at the end (previous years’ have included numerous drinks bottles, T-shirts, bags, etc), courtesy of Newcastle’s Start Fitness, who sponsor the race:
This year’s haul included another excellent breathable T-shirt, a pair of rather smart socks, two now eaten ‘Go’ bars (like Powerbars, but not made by the Evil Empire of Nestlé), a tiny container of Asics lip balm (Tall Friend thinks this belonged in the women’s Goody Bag, and wondered if I’d inadvertantly joined the wrong queue) and a rather smart hat, which I’ll wear with shades and a fake beard in the Fifth Annual Zappoman Impressionists Race in a few weeks time.
You can see a likely winner in video training at zappoman.com.
Finally, after 750 ml of my Funky Rehydration Mix, we still felt a bit thirsty, so we stopped off at the pub for a pint. What can I say - in spending time with Tall Friend, old habits die hard! I had a sensible Guinness, while Tall Friend opted for ‘Old Rosie Cider’. Well, they claimed it was cider, but I’m not too sure. It looked and tasted foul, but he seemed to enjoy it.