Up bright and early this morning (6am!) in time to get a good breakfast in me and give it ample time to digest. Porridge with honey and banana and Double Decker, and a nice cup of tea.
I arrived in Liverpool about an hour before the race to bright sunshine, a mild breeze, and practically a cloudless sky: brilliant. Had 30, 40 mins to warm up properly. I did some strides, some dynamic stretching and some calf stretching. Also had ‘Reflekt – Need To Feel Love’ blasting out the ipod, a fantastic tune.
After the 7 minute delay in starting (something to do with traffic, apparently) I set off at a bit of a sprint to get out of the rabble, then relaxed to a 6.25, 6.20 sort of pace. Hit mile 3 at 19 mins, so the average pace was spot on there, but the actuals were a bit erratic. Once I’d dealt with the slight hill at 3 miles, I started to settle into my pace better. The fronts of my shins were beginning to give a bit of jip, but I soldiered on and managed to stretch them a bit on the move, and they soon piped down with their moaning. Miles 4 through to 9 slipped by without much of an event as we cruised around Sefton park, except breaking away from a couple of blokes who told me I’d done well to catch them so quickly, and went on to tell me they were going for sub 80′s too. “Me too!” I replied, as I loped off.
I tried to run with packs through the race, but I think I started a bit too far back, as I was only catching people of a similar sort of pace nearer the end, but by that time I was starting to try and pick it up for the final few miles’ push.
The wind from about mile 9 through to the end, though, was not pleasant; I reckon I could have clawed about 30, 40 seconds from that. I was seriously starting to struggle with the wind, and by mile 12 I was getting a little concerned by the fact that the Garmin was telling me I’d slipped back to between 6.05 and 6.20 pace – I could foresee a race against the clock for a sub 80 finish. As I rounded the corner to the final straight at about 12.4 miles, I looked at my watch and it had just changed to 1.17, so I was getting a bit of a panic on, as I seemed to forget that not only was the Garmin showing the distance to be slightly under actual, but I also forgot exactly how far 0.7 miles was (more like 0.5 at this point, once I’d figured out how much further I had to go).
What seemed like hours later, I passed Paul and The Mother just before the 13 mile marker, and the look of surprise on their faces was initially lost on me, but a reassuring shout from the pair helped me dig a bit deeper and pull out a sprint finish. As I sprinted past the finish, I managed to stop my watch on 1:18’57”.
Official results: 1:18:55, Pos 22. Apparently there were 5,500 runners today, so I’m over the moon with that! Pretty much exactly 20 minutes knocked off my PB, so that’s pretty good too!