Monday, 18 July 2011

The Hills of Gateshead!

Undulating...hilly....challenging...tough....some of the words I have seen used to describe the course on Sunday.   Actually I didnt think it was too bad but I must admit that hill at 9km was an experience not to be forgotten in a hurry! 

Having struggled with my knee in the lead up I was glad to feel ok and up for the race as I stood on the start line.   I had a yellow number which got me into the elite pen at the front of the field.   It was all a bit hectic in the hour leading up to the race...first the struggle to find a toilet, the persistent rain, checking out the start and then finding somewhere to warm up and get focussed on the task ahead.   I managed to find some quiet space in a building adjoining the stadium...turned out to the the English Institute of queues for the toilets, space to get changed and a chance to get out of the rain.

The race itself was a good one for me.  Two groups were established early on...a lead group consisting of some big names - Overall, Hudspith, Swinburn etc and a second group with Louise Damen (2:30 Marathon in London this year) setting a good strong pace.   I decided this was the group to be in and hung on for the first two miles at a decent pace (5.13 and 5.24).  It was clear the course was going to be a tough one - lots of ups and downs that would soon become down and ups on the way back!   These fast miles did whittle the second group down to just three of us with Louise Damen looking strong setting the pace.  I hung on to halfway and at the turn was on my own...Damen increasing the distance in front and the group behind becoming more detached.  

My halfway split of 16-48 and 11th place had been hard work and any thought of a sub 34 was going to be tough.   Maybe the past few days of managing a sore knee, the first 5km of racing and thoughts turning to the Sunderland 5km on Wednesday meant a more controlled second half might not be a bad thing.   I went through 5 miles in 27.22...still on my own.....just the "hill" to get up!   Finished in the stadium in 34.40 for 11th place overall.   Very happy with that....especially considering the tough course.   Well done to Louise Damen for a great sub 34 posting on a testing course.

That result was a Vet 40 pb that puts me almost in the Top 100 V40 rankings on power of 10...101st...just a couple of seconds off the top 100 - there will be other races on less challenging courses to really have a go at a time before the end of the year!   Still happy to finish 2nd Vet 40 overall behind the legendary Ian Hudspith.

Woke up this morning (Monday) to a tender knee about coming back down to earth!   I decided to get a physio appointment to get it checked out....after an assessment and an hour of deep massage on my insertion point, massage on my ITB and my calf, a bit of ultrasound, lazer treatment on my achilles and (nearly forgot!) acupuncture on my ITB - ouch!.   The diagnosis - probably ITB, left glute not helping my hamstring enough, some friction on my knee and some irritation over my hip - thankfully all treatable and nothing major so I should be ok to run another race!   All being well with a rest day tomorrow (that is except for a few prescribed exercises, stretches and a bit of foam rolling I should be good to go on Wednesday for the Sunderland 5km. 

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