Quickly becoming an annual tradition I found myself on the start line for Buntingford 10 Miler. (Having de-iced the car and sliding on the ice on the doorstep, making the start line was an achievement – I vaguely remember muttering something about never doing a winter race again and becoming a fair-weather runner).
Every year I enter this race with big hopes of doing some serious training for it. Every year I stand on the start line trying to figure out what time I should aim for, hoping my under-trained, over-fed body won’t fall apart en route to the finish. Today was much the same as previous years. Hatching a plan with my mate we figured out we’d pace each other to a sub 1:30, secretly hoping to go a little bit faster.
The first 2 miles are a relatively un-inspiring affair, with some loops of some residential areas, before then taking us runners out to the pleasant, albeit hilly, countryside roads. The opening 5 miles seemed to be much more uphill than I’d recalled from previous years (or perhaps the hills were more apparent on my lack of ‘hill-trained’ legs?).
By the half-way point we had a full minute in the bank for our original target time, and having crested a hill at about the 5.5 mile mark things seemed to flatten out significantly, allowing us to open up our legs (claiming a sub 8 minute mile in the process at one stage) and a sub 1hr 25m seemed to be in reckoning.
We kept the pace up until the steep climb at Mile 8 claimed my legs. My mate, being ever so friendly, kept the pace up and disappeared into the distance. I tried to keep my own pace going for the final 1.5 miles but my legs had pretty much gone by this stage – resulting in a final time of 1hr 26m 40s.
This race always makes an ‘End of Year’ marker in the sand for me. A time to reflect on what has gone well in the past year, and what efforts need to be made for 2015. Plenty to say on this, but that can wait for another day. Time to enjoy the achievement of running a challenging course this morning, and refuel with some more treats and sweets