Other than trying to get my family out of the house and arriving on time, this was a pain free pre-race. Bournemouth AC had organised this perfectly with number pick up and baggage storage an absolute ease.
I said hello to a few Harriers, dumped (placed with love) the wife and kids on the beach and headed for my warm up. I don’t like to do anything too strenuous on my warm up, just a gentle jog and then some dynamic stretches.
I took a gel and headed to the start line between Bournemouth Pier and the Oceanarium, joining my fellow Harriers. Before the start I tried to relax, chatted and listened to the race brief; nice and short, which is always welcome.
There was an easterly wind so my race plan was to bunch in behind a pack of similar paced runners on the out and then attack when I had a tailwind on the return.
The go was given and we were off. I unfortunately got pinned in at the start, which I hate, and fell behind my pack. I stupidly panicked and decided to head to the outside and put in a short sprint to rejoin the middle line…..before you knew it I was leading the race for the first mile with a 5:47 min/mile!!!! This was not what I planned and I feared the effects for the rest of the race. The quick guys then passed me and I decided to slow slightly till my pack joined me, once they did I tucked in behind. This worked well and I ran 6min/miles back to back.
At mile 3 there was a diversion onto the beach for about 50yds because of a recent cliff fall, there were stairs down to it but I got blocked, so I decided to reinvigorate my inner child and jumped down onto the beach; I just wish I had shout Geronimo!!!
Once back on the prom it was straight again and I was able to clock another 6min/mile. At the turning point (mile 5) there a small incline and the route became winding for the next two miles. I didn’t particularly like this section of the race as although it was really well marshaled I didn’t have in my head where I was going, lost rhythm and my pace dropped slightly. I took another gel in this section; thank you to the marshal who took my empty wrapper (I don’t like litter bugs).
The good news now was I had the tailwind, the bad bit was there was a steady incline over the next two miles and I had no rhythm. Subsequently I suffered in this part of the race and I became a sitting duck and lost about 5 places over the two miles. After a fellow Harrier passed me at mile 8 I gave myself a mental telling off and started to pick up the pace again. I threw myself into mile 9 knowing I had to make use of the sharp decline back onto the beach to close back on the pack in front. Now this is where my Adidas Boosts really came into their own as I was able to really hit the decline hard and suffer no discomfort, this allowed me to close in a gap of about 100yds and pass a Poole AC runner, important for the Dorset Road Race League. This helped me register a 5:48 and put me in a good place, I just needed to hang in for the final mile.
I was doing well and closing in on a runner in front slowly taking little chunks bit by bit, however the same was happening to me by the Poole AC runner I passed. He went by me with about 500yds to go and my head dropped a bit allowing the other runner to pull away. This is where having supporters really make a difference, I saw my boys near the finish and they were jumping up and down cheering me on.
This gave me such a lift that I put on a big sprint and was able to retake the Poole AC runner, and cross the line in 60:25 finishing 15th overall and 4th Harrier.
I was over the moon with this time as was aiming for 62 mins and I knocked 5 minutes off my PB. Plus I helped my club get first team place for DRRL team race which moves us up to joint 2nd in the championship…still very early days though.
Overall this event was really well organised race by Bournemouth AC, and it is so picturesque. The views on the way out across the sand and sea to the Isle of Wight and on the return across to Swanage are just beautiful. It’s really well marshaled throughout with people present on all the key bits and controlling the traffic excellently at the two road crosses, so a big thank you to them.
So on reflection what have I learnt?
Well probably the biggest thing I learnt from my mistake today was not to panic if it doesn’t go to plan initially, I would have been better served maintaining position and pace, then slowly close in on my pack and build from there.
I’m pleased with how I conquered my mental demons when they kicked in but need to work harder to deal with them earlier so it doesn’t impact my race significantly.
The last but most heart warming is I can rely on my boys unwaivered support and they will always give me a turbo boost!!!