It was a blistering hot day for the Alton 10 Mile Road Race earlier this month – and with a healthy dose of hills thrown in too, this was always going to be a mentally tough course for the runners who turned out in force! Our race report this time has kindly been written by FCRC’s Joy – who has titled her report ‘A Learning Curve’. Thanks Joy!
I would like to think that I’m learning more with each race. One thing I’m working on is flexibility and more specifically being able to change my race plan without feeling I haven’t achieved. I’ve also been learning to fuel more appropriately – breakfast is not my favourite meal of the day, so running in the morning I don’t find particularly easy.
At 8am this morning I was planning on a PB. I fuelled with toast, and made sure I had some snacks for when we arrived at Alton and water bottle, gels and baby food ready for the race. I wanted to get it right today.
I arrived at Fareham Leisure Centre at 9am to join the car sharers and got generously taken by Phil, along with Amanda and Debbie. Lots of chatting made the journey pass relatively quickly – well apart from when we had to pass the classic car….I don’t think there was any swearing from us…but Phil was a little worried it was going to make us late!
Thanks to Debbie, our personal sat nav, the destination was easily found.
We registered, dropped bags, wished each other and our mates from other clubs a good race, grabbed a team photo and lined up for the race. I normally run with Amanda but she wasn’t feeling her best and wanted to take the race easy. So we lined up together but decided to run separately.
Race started and we were off…
It was hot (the temperature gauge in Phil’s car was showing 20 degrees Celsius). I didn’t find that for the first mile it was too much of a problem. But by mile two not only was it hot but also undulating.
I started struggling. I knew I’d gone off very fast as I could see Alex and Carrina from club in the distance. At this point I really felt that I needed to slow a bit. So I did. There was a lot of runners dropping out at this point, more than I’d seen in other races,not something I had any intention of doing.
I was absolutely desperate for a drink by mile three and knew the aid station wasn’t far. Walked, grabbed water cup, drank it all, and off I set again. Half a mile further on I was in need of another drink,some shade, and maybe a BBQ…
Shade found, water station found…um.. No…it was a mirage – sign said ‘caution runners’ not ‘drinks ahead’ – shame. I was so desperate by this stage I ate (is that the right term?) the pouch of baby food I had on me. Up another undulation and a car – surely that was the water station? No. The poor man in the car must have been very confused by the number of runners ‘sharing’ his bottle of water!
Finally at the water station. Another quick walk and more fluids. At the top of the hill some utterly amazing views.it was worth the run.
And now it was the ‘home stretch‘. Less than 4 miles to go. The amount of camaraderie in a race always amazes me, this one was no exception. Encouraged by others and encouraging others feels really positive and I’m sure it helped us all get round.
Final water station did seem to appear quite quickly and another walking break and two cups of water this time. It was then a mile and a half to the finish and I knew I could push just a little harder.
Back under the A32, along the road and past the pub. I knew I hadn’t achieved a PB but there was no reason I couldn’t finish with a flourish. At 100 meters to go I heard an amazing noise – my team mates. That decided it for me – a sprint finish it was. One favourite mindset of mine is ‘no-one overtakes me before the line‘. Or in other words, don’t expect to get past me with 100 meters or so to go.
Finally in. Feeling a bit rough. Do I feel I achieved today? Most certainly yes. A very tough race in difficult conditions and I finished. That may not be the result I wanted this morning but I did my absolute best and couldn’t ask any more of myself. Did the breakfast make a difference? I think so, how hard would the race have been without it?
A couple of highlights not previously mentioned: running parts with Carrina; the animals on the farms as we ran past; and the scouts + marshalls who were so supportive all the way round.
Would I do the race again? Most definitely yes. It was challenging and tough but most certainly not boring.