Saturday 31 March 2012

Hampton Ferry Charity Race - the pain that is a 5K

Around this time each year, some of our local runners put on a small race along the banks of the Avon in aid of Diabetes UK.  This year, I was actually both home and fit and so had the opportunity to join in the fun.  Nearly 20 EVRC runners took part, so it was a very sociable, if nervy, atmosphere as many muttered about how much it hurts to race a 5K.  My last 5K was in 2010, so I wasn't quite sure how it would go.  Add in the fatigue of last week's ultra, and my race would be a bit of a lottery.

I don't really have space for a 5K in my ultra training, so I decided to put in a nice long warm-up and then top up after the race to at least get 10 in for the day.  At least I started off as loose as my body felt likely to get.  The goal was to start off aiming for sub-19 and find out how long I could hold on.  The start was quite quick as we tried to cross a field and hit the trail in line to avoid a bottleneck.  I finished the first mile dead on pace at 6:06 and knew I wouldn't be holding it much longer.  I managed to keep going at 6:21 pace for the rest of the race, until the obligatory sprint finish.  The brain kept asking for faster, but the body just wasn't moving efficiently enough to increase the speed.  My lungs felt set to burst, and my abs felt like someone was standing on me.  Within a minute or so of finishing, I felt human, but like I'd been beaten.

Only when I'd cooled down a bit after the race did I remember that I still had another four miles to run.  Since home was only a mile and a half away, I added some warm layers and headed off in the opposite direction to begin my long, very slow cool-down.  It wasn't pretty, but it was good training to put in some miles on a very tired body.  In the end, my 19:35 gave me a new PB by 14 seconds, which is pretty satisfying considering that I'd just completed my longest ever run just a week ago.

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