The race was last night, on the evening of the 21st June. It was the longest day of the year, and one of the hottest. The start time was 7pm so things had cooled down a little but it still wasn’t as cool as I would have hoped.
I was feeling good before the race, arrived in plenty of time and had loads of time to warm up. I didn’t know exactly what the course would be but I was naive about two things: I thought the course was only 10k and I didn’t appreciate just how hilly it was going to be.
I started at the front of the pack and probably let them drag me a long too fast. I was too competitive going up the first hill, fighting for positions it didn’t really matter if I kept and using precious energy in the process. 10 mins in the hills were really starting to bite but I kept my head down and fought through the struggle.
The hills were continuous, constantly up and down, but around 20 mins I regained some strength and was feeling good. There were no mile markers so I had no idea what pace I was doing really. Between the 20 and 40 minute period I was roughly holding position with the guys around me but losing strength all the time.
By the 40 minute point I was really struggling but at this point still thought I was only doing 10k and was nearly at the end. As the course kept coming though and it was obvious it was going to be longer than that I was really mentally defeated. The last kilometre was a steep downhill, at the bottom of which you turned around and ran right back up it, and I took it at what was basically a slow training speed.
Eventually finished in just under an hour at 59:38, and in 33rd position out of 160.
I think there are two main takeaways for this for me – I need to train more at longer distances. Although the course was slightly longer than expected, I should have been able to handle that (some more hill training probably would have helped too!). Secondly, a lot of my collapse in this race was mental. I need to work on fighting off the negative thoughts.
When I was done I felt good even though I hadn’t done as well as hoped. The course was very tough and I’ll be better prepared for the next race in the series in 1 month’s time.