Race pace?

Posted: 29/03/2012 in Uncategorized

Feels like an age since I’ve posted – well, I missed Tuesday. I did go for a run, but I’ve had a bit of a cold, so it turned into a series of mini-runs that joined up to make a dispiriting trip out. To be honest, I just wanted to forget about Tuesday’s run, so I figured I wouldn’t blog. However, Thursday is another day (as they say), and I ran this morning.

It’s now just over a week until the North Tyneside 10k, my first actual proper race. I’m concentrating on getting to the end, not the time, and I know I tend to hare off like something not right. So I figured a nice slow run, lets call it “race pace” and be done with it. Last time I was in my “I could keep this up all day” place, I was running around 9:40/mile, so I figured that would be a good place to start. Off towards Tynemouth and the hills at the Priory. These are the two hills that feature in the race, and I was wondering how they’d feel today in my still-a-bit-sniffly condition. The last (first) time I tried them, I got up the first one without too much ado, so much so that I ended up walking from surprise rather than knackeration.

Straight from the off I had to hold my pace back – I was heading for 8:40 territory, and I know that’s not sustainable over the longer term. So I consciously told myself to hold it back, go a bit slower, look at the scenery, etc. etc. It seemed to work and soon I was hitting 9:40 and keeping to it.

It was a fantastic day out for running – nice and sunny, but not too hot, with a little breeze to cool you down. I (not quite) whizzed my way to Tynemouth, finding that holding back the pace meant I wasn’t feeling pooped like usual. A couple of folk overtook me, but I didn’t let it bother me – I reckon the weren’t aiming for the Hills Of Death like I was, and so could afford to fritter away their supplies of energy early on.

Right – arrived at the hills, and I have to say I’m starting to almost enjoy going downhill now – it’s been a bit of a tricky thing for me, how fast, how controlled, etc., but I think jarring my brain on the trails at the weekend has done wonders – I just let my legs get on with it – keeping an eye out for cars, and the downhill took care of themselves. A little twinge from my ITB as I got to the bottom, just to remind me it’s there in case I’ve forgotten.

Now along the riverside path to the Fish Quay – maybe a mile all told – there is a huge buoy on a pedestal, so I ran around that to mark my turning point then back we go.

Psychology in running is interesting – I’m not claiming to be an expert, or know much about it other than my own vague ramblings, but I had just successfully lied to myself. Feeling a little tired, I’d said that when I got to the turn-around point I could have a little walk and a drink and wouldn’t that be lovely. However, when I arrived there, I revealed the awful truth – I’d been lying and there was no walking to be had, hah! But my legs didn’t mind, they just stoically accepted and got on with running. I think it works because of something I heard in relation to raw food diets (or giving up any kind of food or habit, I guess) – it’s not about thinking “I can’t have that”, it’s about thinking “I don’t really want that” – as in I could have walked, had I wanted, but I didn’t want to – it wasn’t that I wasn’t allowed to do it at all…

Back along the riverside path, and I approach the Hills Of Death. Another runner overtakes me, but I cannily spot that he’s going to run to the end then turn around, no death-hills for him, and so I can continue on my smug little way, pride intact.

First hill, the steeper one I reckon, but the shorter of the two. Small steps, same cadence. Bippety-bippety-bipp and I’m at the top – that was easy, what’s going on? Learning from my last mistake, I remember to keep running on the dip between the two hills and reach the second, bigger hill up past the Priory. Small steps, same cadence. Flash, bang, wallop – what a picture. I make it up – I was even able to summon up a wave to another runner coming down the hill – he ignored me – and suddenly I’ve reached the top. Wowzah.

There’s something about reaching the top of a hill and it levelling out that’s just lovely – your legs can stretch a bit, it’s not so strenuous and best of all, the hill is behind you. Now it’s the simple matter of running back along to Whitley Bay to make up the remainder of the 6.11 miles to give me a 10k. At about five miles in, I get a bit woozy, don’t know if it’s the hills hitting me after all. Luckily I’d stashed a gel in my pack ages ago, and found that. Now I know gels are supposed to take 15 minutes to take effect, or something like that, but the placebo effect heads straight to the brain, as it doesn’t need time to be absorbed. With that in mind, I feel a bit refreshed and canter my happy way to the end. In the sun. By the sea.

Got home to discover a letter from the Council, not a final demand, but this:


Time: 58:52
Distance: 6.12 miles
Av. Pace: 9:37/mile (aiming for 9:40)
Climb: 184 ft

What an ace morning.

  1. Anita says:

    Exciting to get your number through – very best of luck for the big day Dave :-).

    P.S. very impressed with the Thrunton run, it’s a slog to hike it never mind run it!

  2. Thanks Neet!

    Think the Thrunton run ended up a bit of a cross between a run and a walk (or stumble, as it might be). I reckon I’ll know when I’ve arrived as a hill runner if I can get up that big slope running – frankly I’d be pretty impressed if I could do it walking without stopping at the moment…

    I’ve got even more reason to get a sub-one-hour time, the info from the Council says they’ll start the presentation ceremony at 11am (i.e. after one hour) as they can’t be waiting for the last runner to come in (which could be me)…

    Oddly, no collecting in a bucket as you go – who on earth would run 10k with a bucket, with money in it? Good grief.

  3. Allan England says:

    A great read and very inspirational!

  4. Evalyn Chatley says:

    Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet (or increasing the amount of raw food that you eat) is bound to bring a feeling of increased wellbeing. ^

    My own, personal blog site

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