Sunday, May 9, 2010

Free yoghurt and fun in Shropshire

The Muller 10km in Market Drayton in Shropshire was my first race actually wearing my Clapham Runners shirt. I took both the long sleeved and the short sleeved ones to Shropshire because I was determined to wear our colours in a race and I didn't know what the weather would be like. It was actually a short sleeved day. This was better news for wouldbe barbequers that it was for me. I haven't done much training in the sun. Admittedly, since the weather has got a bit better, my training outside of the Thursday sessions has been somewhat patchy. Still, as the race was organised by Muller I'd probably get a free yoghurt at the end and so it wasn't going to be all bad!

The race started and ended in a school field. Rachel, the friend I went to the race with, said it reminded her of a school sports day. Whenever I ran in school sports day I usually came pretty close to last and so I sincerely hoped that history wouldn't repeat itself completely. Lining up at the start, Rachel and I spotted two blokes who were going to run three-legged. The fact that they weren't expecting this to be easy was indicated by their decision to wear crash helmets. I think we both thought it would be embarrassing to be overtaken by them.

The start of the race could have been staggered slightly better as there was a bit of a bottleneck when we were trying to leave the school field. Once out on the open road though, the signs were clear and there were lots of marshals. There were also a fair number of supporters, which was excellent for me with my name printed on my top. The first km seemed to go pretty fast. Unfortunately, the first km was downhill and in a cyclical race, what goes down must come up. The uphill bits seemed longer than the downhill bits. I definitely struggled a bit.

At 5km we went round the Muller dairy. At 6km I saw the three-legged guys. They were coming the other way and had completed about 4km. One of them had lost his crash helmet. At the end I had a few problems getting back onto the school field. Bottle necking wasn't the problem this time (I'm a bit too slow to be for this to really be a problem). A lot of the runners had finished and were getting in my way by leaving the field. I glared at them with their trays of yoghurts, but actually having my eye on the prize did give me an incentive to finish.

Actually, considering the hills and the heat I didn't do too badly. I finished about 2 minutes or so outside my best time over 10km. This isn't that fast, but then I'm not that fast. Within the realms of what I've done before it was pretty ok. That I got away with the time that I did was almost entirely down to the Thursday sessions. Still, I'm sure if I try a bit harder on other days of the week I can get that time down. So I came away today with a feeling that I've got something to work with, with a much greater appreciation for our runners who've done marathons and other races in hotter weather with bigger hills, oh, and with a fair amount of free yoghurt. Not a bad day at all.

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