I had rather a busy time in the lead-up to Christmas, so didn't get around to writing up a report on my last 10K of the year as quickly as I would have liked. Nevertheless, here it is.
When I first ran this race last year, it was a cold, dry winter's morning, with the temperature just above freezing on arrival in Bolsover at around 9:30am. This year was almost exactly the same, although it was a couple of degrees colder on arrival. However, the temperature picked up a lot more quickly than last year, so it wasn't so cold by start time at 10:30 and there was no ice on the road (unlike last year!!!).
This year, I positioned myself closer to the front for the start, although by the time everyone was packed in, I was well back from the start line, which was a bit of a disappointment. The race started okay though, and unlike last year, I didn't have to run up the ditch at the side of the road to get past the slow runners. Instead, I paced myself and gradually reeled the slower folks in where the road widened. Consequently, my first 1k was in 4:18 - somewhat off my intended 4:00/km pace, but I was happy not to have too fast a start as this has cost me in past races!
Once the field spread out as we headed out into the countryside, I was able to increase my pace and reel more people in. However, I just couldn't seem to get my km times down to 4:00, and by the 5km marker, I knew that a sub 40min 10K was off the cards, so I set out just to enjoy the race. I settled into a pace of around 4:08/km and plodded on through the more "hilly" section of the course (actually, just one hill and a long, long slope).
The last 500m of this race are the sting in the tail - up hill to the finish in the local school grounds. It's not a steep hill by any means, but at the end of a race, it's not really what you want to see. Last year, it almost finished me off as I'd not saved anything for it, but this year, my more even pacing meant that I had enough to finish without gasping for breath, although not quite enough to catch the small group of runners about 25yds in front of me, which was slightly disappointing.
Overall, I finished 75th out of 651, with a time of 41:30. It was way outside my hoped-for 40:00 and 50s off a personal best, but strangely enough not too disappointing as I actually enjoyed the race! I certainly should have been able to set a personal best time and perhaps even have broken the 40min barrier, but that will come - this year!
I'm not sure yet when my next race will be, but I've already started the preparation by increasing my mileage from the pitiful pre-Christmas efforts, with around 34 (road) miles last week and one run of 14+ miles already this week. I'll get back into the speedwork at the gym later in the week and try to do a tempo (fast) 5-miles on Thursday or Friday.