Weather conditions - light to heavy drizzle with a slight tailwind out to the turn at Kirkstall Abbey. Earlier rain had, however made parts of the course quite wet. The course was meant to be dead flat.
This was my 1st race since middle of October. As I haven't done any speedwork since then I wasn't sure what to expect today.
Probably one of the best quality fields I've run against and was looking to finish in the top 100, rather than my accustomed top 20.
Plan was to run an even paced 10k, not to go off too fast and to use my HRM for some feedback.
Here's what happened:
Very crowded start made getting to the front very difficult but started off about 2 or 3 rows back. Checked my watch at the 1k point - 3:25. HR at 162 (93% MHR), which was also higher than expected. Bit fast but not too concerned as I felt in control. The next 3k's were pretty uneventful and were passed in 3:38, 3:39 & 3:44.
At the 4k mark this hill appeared and I thought, "this shoudn't be here" but it was. The 5th K also went through the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey. A marshal shouted, "Watch out for the puddle". If there's one thing I hate doing is running with sodden shoes, but it was too late. The puddle was about 6" deep and about 3 or 4 metres long.
Passed through 5k in 18:15, which is probably what I expected to do.
6k split was 3:42. 7k marker was in the wrong place as I had maintained my pace and went through in 4:04. 8k marker was in the correct place - 3:22, which meant a 3:43 average for 7 & 8. Started winding it up a bit over the final 2k and pulled away from a few other runners.
9k split was 3:38. Final 1k is uphill but still managed a 3:41 split to finish in 36:43.
Overall, although not a PB, I was quite happy with the result. HR was extremely consistent throughout at 93% MHR, peaking at about 95%. Pace was very even, apart for my 1st split.
I thought the course was quite well marshalled, however I don't think that would be the opinion of those at the back as the roads were opened pretty quickly, requiring a lot of runners to switch to the pavement.
The reason this event has had some remarkably fast times in the past is probably due to the quality field rather than the course.
Would I do it again - definitely, although next year I think I'd take my 2 week break and stop the speedwork after this event!