Burton 10 Miles

Since the Kingsbury Classic a week or so ago I managed to twist my ankle moving some furniture and ever since it has shown the same symptoms I had over a year ago i.e. runnable but back on the same slippery path I've been on in the past.  To be honest I think my ankle would have gradually ended up back this way anyway but obviously twisting it was never going to help.  I've since had another consultation at hospital and I think its basically a case of having to live with the condition and so may not be able to train in the same way as I've done in the past and perhaps even reassess my goals.

Today was the Burton 10 miles; not only a race I've not done before but also a distance that I've not raced.  The build up was not fantastic as I went for a meal out with family on Friday for a 5-course Mediterranean Tasting Menu with a few alcoholic drinks.  The booze was never going to help but the shear quantity of food I ate meant that I was 4.5lbs heavier than normal come Sunday morning!

Start - can just about make me out behind the runner in yellow in the centre of the picture.

Start - working my way through the field.

The start was fairly sensible and over the course of the first km I moved up the field and slotted just behind the leader.  Even at this stage we were beginning to move away from the rest of the field so it looked like it was going to be a head to head battle.  At this early stage I felt like that I was at the limit of the pace I was prepared to go at, I could keep up with the leader but that was about it.  I was hoping that his pace would drop off a bit but it didn't really materialise and up a 20m hill towards the end of the 3rd km I made a conscious decision to drop back as otherwise I would probably blow up.  The elastic band stretched between us and the gap quickly got to about 30 metres at one point.  Usually the band would have snapped at that point and it would be a case of falling back and running for second place.

The gap grew a touch further coming back down the hill during the fourth km during which I ran past what I can only describe as a really bizarre incident.  It was clear that one of the local home owners was really not happy that there was a race outside her front door and she was going absolutely ballistic at the poor marshal who had done nothing wrong.  Shouting in a really aggressive and animated manner; to be honest it was kind of entertaining and a welcome distraction!

Between about 4km - 7km I noticed that the gap between the two of us was starting to close bit by bit and eventually at the 7km mark it was more or less a case of 'as you were'.  Just as I had closed the gap I ran past my wife who I am sure was thinking I was tactically second, but I gave her the knowing look that told her it was anything but!

7km in - Just about finished closing the gap.

The final km of the first lap was along a main road that was very flat and I felt the pace was just a touch easier than earlier so had assumed the leader had slowed a touch.  It was still quite hot, but not causing the problems from a few km earlier.  I had figured that the leader was very good in the technical twisty sections and was better on anything involving an incline (somewhat surprising as my climbing ability is usually unparalleled!).  However on the flat easier bits it was easier for me to cope with.  At the back of my mind I was trying work out when I should try to make a move, if I was able to at all.  The obvious place would be to try and hang on up to the final km where it is flatter but that is always a risky strategy.

Between 8-10km I was able to cope with the pace, albeit I had to catch up when we hit some twisty bits.  There was then the same hill we encountered on the first lap and again I fell back a bit but by only 5 metres or so.  Game on.

The 12th km was starting to slow down and we went from 3.15 - 3.25 per km to a 3.28.  It was at this point I made a very unconscious move and organically went into the lead for the first time.  It was at this point that I felt the race was starting to move into my control so I just took on the pace at what I felt I could sustain without going all in.  It was clear that I was starting to drop the other runner so I decided to try and make this the race winning move, albeit still keep a little in reserve just in case.   I went through the 13th km in 3.15, followed by a 3.16 14th km.  The gap at this point was around 30 metres - not race winning yet but I was in a commanding position.  I followed this with a 3.14 15th km and looking back I knew at this point that barring a miracle comeback I was going to win.  Even if I lost some ground in the last km I was still not quite all in so it was just a case of cruising the last km.

The finish was a bit chaotic and the tapes were not very clear where I was supposed to go.  I ended up having to make a quick switch and duck under some tapes.  Not quite the classy finish I was hoping for but a win is a win!  I ended up crossing the line in 53.54, 22 seconds ahead of 2nd place and 3 minutes ahead of 3rd.  All in all a good race and a full on head to head battle.  Whilst it could look like that I was holding back early on, it was far from the case and to be honest had I been in the lead by myself there was no way I would have sustained that pace.

Coming into the finish straight.


Now found the finish.

Km Splits

My splits reflected the generally up and down and slightly twisty nature of the course, but you can see the point where I picked up the pace at around the 13km mark.  Looking at other past races I'm still clearly not in anywhere near PB shape but considering how long I have been out of action my time equated to roughly 70.25 HM pace, so only a minute or so down on my PB (allowing for a bit of slowing for the additional distance) - so not too shabby at all.

1st place smile!

Although a 10 mile race is not the most popular of distances (though in fairness not that unusual either) it places me 30th so far this year and 3rd V35 in the UK.  Difficult to complain too much!

The way my foot is there is no way I can make any concrete plans at the moment.  Its really just a case of taking each week as it comes, but there is no way I can plan for a marathon at the moment.


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