When you participate in a relay its somewhat different from a normal race you do on your own. You realize other people depend on you and you can not afford to ease off when you think it's not your day or you would like to play some tactics. Every second counts. Its unrelenting until you pass on to the next runner and it is your job to get through there as quick as possible.
It was an absolutely stunning weekend. Blue sky and temperatures close to 20 degrees are for English circumstances a special treat. I arrived just in time to see the start of the relay which gave me roughly 40 minutes to warm up for my own start as I was running leg 3 which was with 7.7km a long one.
I could still feel my legs from the 100 mile cycle I did two days prior to the race but I know I need some miles in my legs for later on in the season so I just had to deal with it and make the best of the situation. They felt quite stiff when I started my warm-up but this would change once I was on the way. I reconnoitered the first and last bit of the lap to know exactly what I was on about.
Our team tactics was to stay with the quick boys for a few legs, see what happens in the middle and have a few strong anchor guys to finish solid.
Martyn Cryer who was doing the first leg started real quick and came in in fifth place. Jonathon Cook then took over and just managed with a final rush to came back in 2nd place which put me on a lot of pressure as I did not wanted to be the one who lost the places...
I started off knowing that some quick runners were on the same leg as me so lets say I was warned. I also knew that quite a few runners started right behind me. My goal was to run a consistent race to optimize my end time. I ran the first kilometer in 3:10 min/km pace and my goal was to hold on to this for as long as possible. There was this slight uphill where I tried to stay comfortable to pick up the pace again on top.
To my surprise nobody caught up to me on the first lap around the Linford Wood park. As I was going uphill for the second time Terry was taking pictures and with a contemplative expression on his face he just said sort of: "There are coming a few quick guys just hang in there". What this meant was that a couple of Olympians were right in my neck and made me look like a schoolboy. Chris Thompson (27:27 over 10'000m and yes he is the one which looks like Terminator) followed by Scott Overall (2:10 Marathon) overtook me in a pace which was out of my league.
I tried to keep the pace steady but dropped it a little even though I was fighting quite hard to the finish where I handed over in fifth position. My time was 25:06 which is a solid time but nothing I could be really to proud of (for strava link click here). The team finished in 8th place which we thought was realistically a good result.
A positive turnout for me personally was that I kept the guys on distance which started off right behind me. One of them was Daniel Bradley, my companion from the Ashford 10k in February. He started only 5 seconds behind me and closed the gap once almost but never quite got there and lost half a minute in the end (but Tonbridge finished in 7th just in front of us - damn!).
I ran with my Scott Race Rockers which are phenomenal shoes. I did last years Jungfrau Marathon with them and was super happy. For their lightweight of only 190 grams they are solid, have a decent amount of shock absorption and are very comfortable - even after a 3 hour race there was no discomfort whatsoever!
My plan was to run the Eastleigh 10k this weekend, but I had to acknowledge that my form was not that good to justify this longish trip with so much stuff at hand for my studies. So I signed up for Paddock Wood Half Marathon on the 30th of March and will do the Parkrun instead this Saturday.
After that its time for the training camp in Giverola - Spain! Really looking forward to that!!