Little race report for anyone that might be interested.
8:53am was my individual start time with 30 second intervals between people meant I was 6th with starts based on estimated finish times. I’d put down 1:25 hoping to beat my 1:26 a year ago. As it is was so near the first few starters the area was pretty quiet but well organised mostly. Got lined up 2m apart and realised I was realistically in with a decent shot of a top 5 finish pending any disasters.
Got away with a double loop on slippy grass and some steeps onto the main Bath 2 tunnels cycle way. Not too many people about but I was finding the first couple of kms tough and was wondering if maybe it was just going to be a bad day but pressed on with trying to keep my ambitious target pace. Got to the main long tunnel expecting it to be cold however it was surprisingly warm, a pleasant suprise. However judging pace in here was difficult with no GPS and it being dimly lit, it was weird sensation, also hard to judge if there was an incline or not. Still no sign of the young lad who started ahead of me. Started approaching the turn around point and saw the other starters ahead of me. I quickly realised why the first out lap was so hard it was a long slow incline, so did my best to open the legs on the return leg, with the knowledge that out lap 2 was going to be grim. Gel 1 consumed before starting the second lap. Yep this was tough, but I decided that I could mostly push what I had on the second out lap, the return lap would be ‘relatively’ easy. Turn around point again and I had definitely made some ground on the young lad ahead of me, I quickly felt the legs starting to gain weight so had the second gel I was carrying and really started to press on without too much fear of a blow up. Every person I overtook in the tunnels I was thinking it was the lad I was chasing but it wasn’t…eventually it was…but the gap was too much and I was already running at pretty much max pace and there now being a lot more people about to dodge, competitors and the general public. I’d barely looked at my watch and had just been keeping an eye on the odd lap pace as I knew the tunnels would have screwed the GPS.
I crossed the finish line with a watch time of 1:20:27, the distance was just shade under 21km so maybe I wasn’t too far out! Placing wise no idea, but the marshall said it must be close. Results didn’t come in until 6pm that evening. Official time of 1:20:26 and a 3rd place finish, 2 secs off 2nd and 1:10 off 1st. 6 mins off my PB and with a flat course, convinced I could manage sub 1:20. It was strange racing like this as in the past I’ve always sat on peoples shoulders who are running the pace I want to and then moved my way up the field person by person when I felt I could press on, so this was quite lonely in that respect but good to be racing and also give some tangible feedback on the training I’ve been doing.