Having a race on Sunday I decided to take it easy for the rest of the week. Most of my running was very easy, I had a rest day and a massage so the taper went well and I was hoping that this would freshen my legs.
I got to Blyth stress free and nice and early, I had a gentle warm up, strides and a little stretch. While getting ready my Mam and Dad turned up with my Nieces Zoe and Amy (5 and 4 years old), I grew up not far from Blyth so it wasn’t far for them to travel. It’s always great to see the girls and I had lots of hugs kisses and good lucks from them, they think Uncle Iain is a really good runner so Id best not let them down, I headed off for the start line.
I saw a lot of familiar faces on the start line, we all had a bit of banter and catch up, we’ve all been racing in the local scene for a lot of years now, it’s just a shame that the only time we get to chat is the 2 minutes pre race and warm down after, however I must say I like the post race crack on Facebook.
Looking at who was there I fancied myself for a realistic 5th, but other than 1st I saw it as a pretty open race for 2nd. The contenders were Daniel Bradford, a local lad who runs for Sale, I was pretty sure he was the winner. Daniel has the fastest PB and is a class act. Luke Adams has had a great cross country season and I was expecting a break through run from him today, then there was John Archer, fresh from a half marathon PB and I seem to have a habit of finishing about 10 seconds behind him. David Kirkland also beats me more often than not, but we’ve had our battles. Anyone of us could have a good day and been up there or just as easily have a below par run and finish down the field. These are some of the guys that I usually race, luckily for us we have more natural ability than a lot of people and find ourselves at the front of the race, but I know that everyone else in the race have their own little battles going on.
On the turn we hit the head wind and my legs went, heavy and tired. John was about 10 meters ahead with Luke pulling away, I held the gap with John until about 5 mile, I was hoping to keep in touch until the finish was in sight then go after him, but for about half a mile I switched off mentally and he extended the lead, I was now hanging onto 4th.
Less than a mile to go I got a shout from a friend to say that I was well clear of 5th place, once I’d heard that I’d like to say I kept trying to the line but in truth I ran comfortable into the finish. As I was coming down the finishing straight I could hear my nieces shouting me in, that gave me a real lift. I ended up running 33.12.
I know a lot of people would be happy with 33.12, but it’s a minute down on my PB and about 70 seconds down on what I would have liked, I’ve been training hard and I know on a good day Blyth is a fast course so I’d built my hopes up. I finished where I normally would have expected to be in the race, so that would suggest everyone else was in the same position. On reflection, this was my first non relay of the year, I haven’t done any cross countries, it was a windy, I had tired legs and I went off too fast. So perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
So what’s next? Well there’s always another race. I’m doing the North Tyneside 10k on Easter Sunday, so from now I’ll do a session on Tuesday then take it easy until Sunday, I’ll hopefully get a massage and loosen my legs so I’ll be fresh again and ready to go.
I spoke to my sister on Sunday night, she said the girls were really proud, but Amy had realized that my race number was 4, she was 4 and I came 4th! Her brain couldn’t cope with the coincidence.