Every time I race, I like to keep a log of what went on, and what I could have improved. It’s my best method to ensure I can be better every time. I like to avoid the term Race Report because 1. This is more for me; and 2. I’m not sure anyone could learn a whole lot from my ramblings. But this isn’t even that, because I didn’t technically race. This was actually the big challenge for me, but I’ll get to that shortly.
The whole weekend was a new for me; I was away with UKRunchat, who helped with the organization and promotion of the Rockingham 10- a Duathlon, 10 mile and 10k event at Rockingham race course. This would be my first time racing away form home. Every time I’d raced previously, I’d had the luxury of sleeping in my own bed, and eating breakfast in my own kitchen the night before. Plus, with a London race you just have to hop on the tube- that’s about the sum of the logistical planning!
The weekend itself was great- I finally got to meet the rest of the UKRunchat team, and of course it was great to meet in person so many runners I knew via Twitter! For our pre-race dinner we kept it classy and (on my suggestion) went to the local Wetherspoons for dinner and a drink. I had the Superfood Pasta, which I must say was impressive for Spoons, although I could definitely have done with double the portion size. I ended up stealing half my next-door neighbour’s chips. No shame.
I shared a hotel room with a fellow runner and thankfully got a perfect night’s sleep. We overslept slightly, but that was just fine as the race didn’t kick off until 12.30. We went down to the buffet breakfast (again, a race-day first for me)- I had jam on toast, rice crispies with raisins, a fuck-ton of melon and numerous cups of coffee. It was weird knowing how to fuel for the late start; I felt a bit sick like I’d eaten way too much, but by the time I was halfway through the course I was running on empty.
UKRunchat hosted a huge meetup, so it was great to meet even more runners. We nerded about gear and race day nerves, and even spoke to some clubs about Fitness Rewards, to get them rewarded for their running. Before I knew it, we were headed to the start line, and off we went!
I had decided to treat this race as a training run, and actually paced a fellow runner (more to follow on that). As a result so I have very little to say about splits, pace or elevation. One thing I will say is that the course was tough- despite being tarmac, it did have some undulations, and was exposed to the elements (aka: a fucking horrific wind). Nonetheless, I stuck with my pace buddy right till the end, and we finished in just over an hour.
I made it quickly back to the UKRunchat area, where i was rewarded with prawn cocktail crisps and a cupcake. (Who says runners only eat salad!?) There were even sports massage therapists offering their services, so I hopped on and had my tight calves rubbed down. We spent even more time chatting to runners, before parting ways and heading home. All in all the weekend was a success: I met a ton of new people, ate some amazing food and most importantly overcame my biggest challenge; knowing when not to push myself.
Learnings from this race:
- A midday start time means eating multiple small meals beforehand as opposed to a single big breakfast (for me at least).
- Pacing someone is a lot harder than you think it’s going to be.
- Remember to pack ‘real’ food for after the race; as much as I appreciated the post-run cupcake, I started to feel a bit woozy about an hour after finishing- luckily I made it to Tesco!
- Going away for a race really takes it out of you: a combination of the train journey, the unfamiliar food and even meeting all those new people- I was knackered by the time I got home!
Still worth it tho 😉
Lots of love