This was the first race to kick off my 2012 season, Having now had several months of base training today was the day to see what the rest of the season might actually hold?
Whilst my Coach and I were selecting races, the terrain wasn’t something that featured highly in decision making process. If it had i'd probably travelled up to Bath where a few of my clients were opening their race season with a few less hills than I was going to encounter over the next 22kms.
The past four months have largely been a battle between me and a small rodent that seems to don my Heart Rate Monitor Strap whilst i'm running. Thus running in the low zones have been hard and sometimes a little frustrating. Today, however, that small rodent would be able run free and as fast as he was capable.
Having a Coach who is a Long distance Triathlete and Ultra Runner, my pre-race brief included the various provisions to ensure I was totally self sufficient for the trip. No drink stations and dodgy cups for me! Just a litre of water in a bottle and 400cals of energy gels tucked into my back pockets. This thankfully is now a fairly well rehearsed strategy and thus was not new for race day. Other than the nutrition there were no expectations of pacing or times to achieve. I confess however, I wasn't feeling terribly confident of my abilities having only had my training to base any idea of timings on.
It is fair to say that I have a pretty fragile morale when it comes to competition and this is something I have constantly fallen foul of when on the bike leg of the triathlons. Once I start being overtaken my it falls through the floor and I get slower and slower. Knowing this I decided on crossing the start line in last place , thus I would be able chase people in front feeling fairly secure that I wouldn’t be overtaken.
After a pretty underwhelming start, we all stormed off down through the streets of Falmouth on the way to our first hill of the day up to Pendennis castle. this was the point where I started to make some progress through the field. My Garmin was ringing the changes at every KM point telling me in truly smug style that I was running way to fast. After the ascent of Pendennis I tried to slow the pace down, to ensure that I would be capable of running the remaining 20 odd kilometres. Off along Gyllvenese which proved a little warm and a quick swig from a cup of water from the feed station which still have way to much sterilising fluid in it, That will teach me I thought, Darryl (My coach) certainly has the right idea with this self sufficient idea.
Up the hill and onto Swanpool where the need to relieve myself of some excess fluid became apparent. A few minutes wasted trying to unpeel two layers of lycra in order to achieve the necessary functions in the public lavatory, and all was sorted, then onwards and literally upwards past Golden Bank , then on to Maenporth.
The KM splits recorded one the way down to Maenporth were fast by my standards, and my legs were finally taking heed of the advice to run fast down hills. Then for the big one of the day a up out of Maenporth, it seemed to take forever but i just dug in and gritted my teeth. I reckon I picked off at least 10 to 15 runners on the way up. A few swigs from my bottle and a gel at the top gave me the opportunity to rally myself knowing that the big one was now out of the way. Heading inland, with the sun on my back I was now on the homeward leg, another hill out of Mawnan Smith and Buddock Water however, they were not nearly so steep.
Having conquered the highest point it was then down hill into Penryn. this was the point I was expecting to flounder but I was still passing people and feeling remarkably fresh. Even some of the guys that had eluded earlier were now coming back and not looking nearly so comfortable as I passed them.
The final 2km I felt confident enough to give it all I had, passing more weary and broken people. I hammered it back down the hill into Falmouth proper and then had a pretty impressive sprint going for finish line to come home in 1 hour 50 minutes and 6 seconds. Which was well within any expectations I had. The heart rate incidently came in at an average of 167 still to high but we shall work on that.
The Cornwall hospice team organised a great event with and equally impressive goodie bag including a pasty and a pint !