Final race in the Summer League series took place last night at 7pm in Teversal (near Sutton in Ashfield). Again there was a decent turnout although a late mix up with the start time (originally advertised as 7:15 pm) saw a big group of runners sprinting for the start line just as the gun went off. I'd never run this course before but had heard from the organisers that it was a new route for this year.
The good news was that it was about 3/4 mile shorter than in previous years (4.75 miles rather than 5.5 miles) the bad news was that a cursory glance at the route map clearly showed that a lot of the route ran perpendicular to the contour lines rather than parallel to them (the latter is my favourite arrangement!). Regardless, I thought what the hell, threw caution to the wind and ran the first mile uphill in 5:28. This turned out to be about the most misguided pacing strategy that I'd ever used. Gasping for breath I passed the first mile marker and hoped desperately that by some miracle the next 3.75 miles would be a gradual downhill. Not on your life, this course had obviously been devised to prove once and for all that a loop course can be all uphill!
Second mile marker was passed in 6:47, but the slower pace did me no good as I'd already blown a gasket and was already contemplating calling it quits and walking until I realised that I was about as far from the finish as I could be on this course. So I figured I 'd just try and make it back without puking and get through mile 3 in 6:31. At this point I'm feeling broken and the final conclusive evidence that the wheels have come off (and the gear box has fallen out and in fact I'm just a flaming wreck on the side of the road) is that mile 4 takes 7:49!!!!!!!!! A brilliant stroke of course design genius is then manifested in the form of an extreme descent over the last half mile to bring us into the finish and I crawl across the line in 31:08. WOW!
So without question a personal worst time for me over 4 miles (26:35 ~6:39 pace) but a very useful (if humbling) learning experience. The most obvious
error was clearly the pace of the first mile. The second problem which I should've taken into account after the Notts 5 a couple of weeks back is that I don't run well in warm weather and should've adjusted my pace accordingly.
I just hope that it's a bit cooler at the Robin Hood half in September!