Carterton 10k

Another 10k this weekend this time down South at Carterton in Oxfordshire, just a mile or so from RAF Brize Norton. Although its a fair distance from home I decided to enter this as it was billed as a fast flat 10k. The weather was overcast but with a reasonably strong breeze which was not likely to help things.

The field for this event was about as small as it gets - just 350. I knew I would be reasonably near to the front as last years times were slow. I was carrying a pace card set to 36mins (3.36km) and I had decided to try and stick as close to it as possible to hopefully stop me burning up so early. The only exception was that I tried to stay a few seconds in credit in case I tired later on. The first km I did in 3.24 and the next in 3.32 which felt reasonably comfortable and gave me 16secs of credit. Over the next 3km's I lost around 6 secs of this advantage. It was at the end of this first lap after 5km that I realised that the course was not as flat as I was led to believe. Ok, it was certainly not what you could call hilly, but there was one long shallow ascent (about 1km long), and another about 3km into each lap that was 400m long but a bit steeper. Hitting the first of these climbs on the second lap combined with the wind working against me I really struggled as the legs got progressively heavier. In all I had lost about 20 secs and at that point it was clear I was not going to get home in under 36 mins. I then hit the second, sharper climb and that finished me off. In the end it was another struggle to get home, eventually coming in 37.08 well off my pb.

Overall I was a bit disappointed to lose quite a bit of time again in the second half (1st 5km in 17.50 and 2nd 5km in 19.18), but it was clear that the course was nowhere near as quick as Fradley where I set my pb of 36.23 two weeks ago - there is no way I've lost 50 secs of fitness over a two week period. There was also the disadvantage in that there was no-one to run with after the first kilometre. After the first lap there was no one in sight behind me and a couple of runners ahead that were gradually pulling further away.

On a positive note I felt happy with my pacing, catching up a couple of people who had dropped off the leading pack after 3km, but didn't quite manage to real them in and they eventually left me after 6.5km. There was also no one overtaking me unlike the last couple of events which I think indicates that most people like myself had to drop their pace a bit on the second lap. Overall I think I came 8th (EDIT: Found out I came 6th/229). After the event I met up with a ex University friend who had also entered the event for a catch up in the local pub.

I do find the 10k a bit of a lung burn and so feels like a bit of a sprint. I'm beginning to wonder whether its best to move up to a half marathon. I know I can do the distance after running 11 miles to work last Tuesday without any fuss. I'll have a look over the next couple of weeks to see whether I can find anything in late April or May. Before then there is a West Mids League orienteering event next week which I'm 80% likely to go to, or I might just have my first week off from competitions in ages.


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