Brass Monkey 10k at Rockingham Speedway

Over the last couple of weeks I've started to ease off the short speed work in favour of increased mileage and longer tempo runs.  At the end of last week I reached 82 miles and I was starting to feel fairly fatigued.  I decided a couple of days rest was in order and a late entry to the Brass Monkey 10k before a planned Half Marathon in early March and then the Greater Manchester Marathon (my main focus) in early April.

The course was four and a bit laps of Rockingham Speedway which is a fairly flat oval circuit.  I knew from the previous race winners time that in all likelihood I was going to be at or near the front and it end up being a bit of a time trial.  At the off I led from the very beginning and it was clear within the first 100 metres that I was going to be on my own for the entire race.  Its always a lot harder to race by yourself with no one ahead and no one within shouting distance behind.

The start - on the right.  Hat and gloves - it was only about 4 degrees at most.

Straight into the lead.

The first couple of kilometers were ok and a bit faster than pb pace, but at the end of each lap there was a deceptive climb, perhaps only 8 metres or so but enough to slow you down, more so when you are running around an oval circuit four times by yourself.  What was making it worse was that half way round the second circuit I was already starting to lap some runners.  This was fine to begin with but as time went on I had lapped several hundred people - probably everybody running more than about 42 minutes.  I had also double lapped a fair proportion of the field as well.  As a result I was having to take a far wider line than I was taking in the first lap.  In a 'normal' race this situation doesn't often arise as its unlikely to be more than a two lap race, and those you do overtake are usually just a few back markers.  As it was I was probably overtaking someone every 5 seconds so it became impossible to take the shortest line.  Its difficult to estimate what time I was losing, but it was likely that I ran an additional 150 metres or so over the course of three laps.

Lapping people - probably start of lap 3.  Not as many people to lap at this stage but having to take a wider line.

About to start the fourth lap - again not being able to take the racing line.

Whilst I have lapped people in the past, I've never done so in such volume before and it was strange to hear quite a few comments as I went by.  Most were simply 'well done', sometimes a 'wow' or 'sheesh' and occasionally a 'bloody hell' or 'he must be elite'!

Pit lane finish.

Crossing the line about 2.15 ahead of 2nd.

I knew fairly early on that any chance of a PB was off, partly down to the small climb (the table above showing that KM 3, 5, 8 and 10 were slower), plus the wider line I was having to take from about 4km onwards.  In the end I crossed the line in about 32.38, 16 seconds off my PB.  My first feeling is one of disappointment, but when you take into account I was by myself the whole way, a small incline, four demoralising laps, and having to run a wide line around an oval circuit, I could probably have run low 32's or at least a small PB.  The more I think of it the more satisfied I am, but there is always that niggling doubt that I've lost fitness but I know that cant be the case as my times in training have been pretty decent.  I was also pleased that although I was starting to slow down I still felt pretty strong and could have done another lap at more or less the same pace should I needed to.

The plan is to do a half marathon in early March and to ramp up the training between now and then.  My times in training suggest that something just below 72 minutes might be possible but time will tell!


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