Today was my first running event of the year (well, pure running event as opposed to triathlon), and goodness me, how far I have come since I took up Couch 2 5k 14 months ago. I did the Eynsham 10k in 2011 after running for about 2.5 months, and finished in 1:03:52. Today, with about the same total of running this year (I have not really been running much all year until the Autumn), but with greater fitness from swimming and of course from cycling, I finished in around 54:30 (the exact chip times aren't up yet, this is based on my watch and what the gun time said. I was aiming for sub 1hour so to go sub 55 minutes, I am BEYOND pleased with.
A run event is a bit strange for me. I lacked safety pins so I utilised my triathlon race belt (which is pink!) and only saw one other person doing the same. Unlike a tri or swim start, I positioned myself at the back not to get trampled on. It was pretty chilly waiting to start but at least it wasn't raining and the wind had finally died down.
I thought that I set off a bit too fast for the first 2k. I did have my iphone with me as my Log Your Run app tells you your realtime pace whilst running but in the end, I didn't look at it until the last k. Instead, I looked at my watch and the k signs, calculating my speed using those. I knew that I needed to run less than 6 minutes for each k to make it around in under an hour. It seems that my overall pace was 5:27. After 2k I settled down, and we were running along the main road in single file; I felt that I was stuck behind a few people which was annoying but that probably helped to maintain my pace. By 5k I was really into it and felt that I could go on forever, despite the slight gastric discomfort from a gulp of water at the water station. I did the first 5k in 25 minutesish, so I was confident that unless something bad happened I could get in under the hour. I was a little nervous as had done the first half so fast and had not run more than 6.5k in 2012, but I tried to keep pacing myself. By 6.5k my legs were getting heavy, and by 8.5k I was having to work quite hard to keep pushing on, so much so that I did retch briefly and slowed down temporarily. Kept going, saw the water station again which is 500m from the end, and started wondering if I might make it under 55 minutes (I'd been thinking 56.5 or 57 from about 8k), saw the 400m sign, 200m sign and started to fly towards the finish and then came in, as I said at around 54.30. No retching on the finish line this time!
Collected my t-shirt and 25th anniversary of the race commemorative shoe bag and time to walk back to the car park. Last year I famously LOST my car and it took me 45 minutes to find the carpark in the town that I don't know very well. This year, did better due to my iphone... So back to the car, and off for a brief swim. Breastroke really seems to help stretch the legs out. My calves are quite sore, especially after sitting down for a while, but I've got my compression sleeves on them, and I know that tomorrow and Tuesday will be painful but hopefully it will wear off fairly soon.