Dead Runners society race report
Serpentine RC "last friday of the month"
5km- friday 31st March 2000.
For my last race before starting my new job in Oxford we had another trip to London to race 5km around Hyde Park.
Tony and Shelley here in merrie englande,
just got back from the big city where we ran in the "last friday of the month"
5km around the Serpentine, a lake in Hyde Park. We have both been concentrating
on speed work in recent weeks so we were hoping for good runs. When we go to
London we usually drive down the M11 until the end of the motorway and then park
at a London Underground station and off we go on the tube train to central
London. Well this time the car park at the station was full, we tried the next
station and that was full, fortunately it was 3rd time lucky. So off to Hyde
With our delays in parking we were a bit behind schedule so we ended up running from Knightbridge station to the start in Hyde Park to get in our warm up, we queued up to get our numbers. There was time to do a few strides before we had to line up.
I ran this race in January on a cold windy day and ran a time of 20.30, since then I have been doing some speedwork 3 times a week and was hoping to run considerably faster. The weather was very good for racing, cool sunny and hardly any wind, I was pretty confident of getting well under 20 minutes if I ran well. They had two starts to the race, one for runners hoping to break 22 minutes, 3 minutes later the slower runners set off.
Off we went, really crowded at the start, I was raring to go for a fast time. There were no distance markers on the course but I did see where the km markers were on a course map so I knew the distances of some points on the course. Running really hard from the start at the back of a big pack (with the race leaders at the front!) on a long straight slightly downhill path. We turned a corner just after 1km and my watch read just under 3.30! Kept pushing hard and as the pack started to fragment I started to work my way through, now running along the far side of the lake, passing a few runners and a few were passing me. Under a bridge at 2.1 km in 7.40, well I was either going to run a really fast time or fall apart. By now it was starting to hurt and I was slowing, a few older runners came past as did a blonde haired lady. Around the top end of the lake and my watch said 10.xx, last time it said 11.xx so I knew I was well ahead of my schedule from January. Around here a man with a grey beard came past but I pushed on harder and was able to stick with grey beard and we were closing down on blonde hair. There were some tight bends to negotiate and grey beard got ahead and I started to fall apart. Back to the start finish area in 14.xx but there was more than a km to go, there was a long out and back section to negotiate before the finish. Another runner came back and I was just hanging on waiting for the last turn, around the turn in 17.3x and there was a *long* (500m) finish straight left. I was really tired by now, I could see a big queue of runners ahead but I couldn't see the finish. I must have kicked about 3 times, still thinking that I had 19.xx in the bag but the finish didn't arrive until 20.15.
I shouted out "Rubbish" as I saw my time, I was really disappointed with my time after all that fast training. I collapsed on the grass to catch my breath and feel sorry for myself. I finally picked myself up as the runners from the slow start were coming in and I could see Shelley looking good at the finish, I will let her tell her own story.
Shelley's race report: For once not a bad race, a road PB by 2 seconds, 22:43. Maybe I am back to doing decent races now. The last time I did this race I did a disappointing 24:xx. I hadn't really been seriously training for 5k, so my goal was simply to do better than last time. I ran with the slow group, those who expected to do slower than 22 and started out quite close to the front, which was a bit startling at first, but at the beginning when I was a bit further back it seemed slower than I had wanted to take it, so I pushed ahead of people. Then maybe the pace was a little too fast and within the first k some people passed me. One thing a bit difficult about this race is that the kilometers are not marked, so it is hard to tell how you are doing. There is a map to consult at the beginning, but I hadn't looked at it, and they had changed the course slightly from last time. I sort of had a goal of getting to the halfway point in 12 and then speeding up, but with the course changed I wasn't entirely sure where halfway was.
About a half k after the start this over 60 man, John caught me up. John are kind of in competition on this race. I met him the first time I ran it over lunch and found out that he had passed me close to the end of the race. That time he beat me by quite a bit, because the wind in the finishing straight really did me in. I think I did about 23:30 and he just broke 23. We chatted a bit and found out that we were both working on breaking 22 and decided we might be able to help each other to it. But the next time I did the race (the last time, the time I did 24:xx) I was well behind him and was complaining to him that I was never going to get good at this game. So this time when he caught me and I realized that he had been behind me I realized that I must be going at a pretty good pace, so I decided to keep with him and try to keep it up. He got ahead of me on the uphill parts, but then I caught up on the downhills and on the flats we were running right next to each other, close enough that I had to apologize to elbowing him once. We got to what had been halfway last time, but I think was a little short this time in 11:3x. I tried to speed up after that and got a little ahead of him, but then there was a hill where he caught up, and by then I was getting quite tired and let him get ahead a little. When we turned into the nearly a kilometer finishing straight he was a about 20 feet ahead of me and I was very tired and that finishing straight was very long and although it wasn't very windy today it was still against the existing breeze. I was too tired to catch him, but I held the distance and maybe even closed it a little toward the end and in the end he beat me by less than 10 seconds.
We chatted a bit over lunch again and he congratulated me for the PB and told me about his club's open track meets with a promise to send me information about them. When we left I told him I would get him next month.
Btw I might have recruited a new DRS member. I met a woman in the bathroom when I was changing my clothes. It was her first race and she was a little discouraged about being last with a time of 29:xx, so I was telling her that this race tends to attract pretty serious runners and how nobody was laughing at her. She started running at age over 50 and just loves it. And then I remembered how encouraging the DRS is to newer and slower runners, so I suggested that she join. So if you hear a lady complain about how she was running all alone in this race, you must me all your usual good vibes and not make a liar out of me. John Bingham, are you listening?
Tony again, so after Shelley came in I jogged another half-mile to cool down and then congratulated Shelley properly on her great run. I am sure that one or two of you must have noticed my slightly uneven pacing for this race, having all this speed in my legs at the start I got rather carried away, my pace at 2.1 km would have given me 18.15 for 5km, my pace for the last 2.9km was the pace for a 21.42 5km, I think I went through the first mile in about 5.50. My 5km pb, set 8 years ago when I was younger and fitter is 18.35 so I think I can honestly say that my pace for the first half was a trifle optimistic. I think I could have done a time in the low 19 minutes today but I am not in shape to break one of my 1992 pbs (most of my really good pbs were set in 1992). Still it was an encouraging run in that I was fit enough to run a 5.50 mile and keep running for another 15 minutes afterwards, I'll do better next time (or else Shelley will be catching me!) I will be off to London again on sunday en route to Oxford. I start my new job at Oxford University on monday, back to chemistry again.
Tony Bell and Shelley Walsh, Milton, Cambridgeshire,
Tony's photo album <http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumList?u=227580>
Shelley's photo album <http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumList?u=74934>
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