What a great race, but I’m an idiot.
I had booked the Mad Cow 10k a while ago to make sure I got in. Last year I had relied on the ‘I’ll register on the day’ approach, only to find it was full so I wasn’t going to miss out this year. The Avenham and Vernons races are some of my favourites every year. Maybe because I know the area so well and I know what to expect. Maybe because Avenham and Miller parks along with the surrounding areas are so nice or maybe because they are well run, well attended and supported.
So I’d been looking forward to this race for a while. It’s not entirely flat with the rise up towards Todd Lane, but other than that it’s reasonably gradual.
So to make sure that I was well prepared, I rocked up to CV parkrun as usual on Saturday morning fully intending to ‘take it easy’ ‘not try too hard’ and ‘just enjoy it’. Of course this lasted until the ‘3, 2, 1, GO’ part and immediately I did my usual thing of looking ahead for someone to chase. Matt Cowan, Pete Battersby, Mark McCrea, Stuart McNair and Jon Royle have a lot to answer for. Why can’t you guys decide to take it easy so I don’t have to chase you. I hadn’t seen Andy Hartley or I would have been chasing him too. My mistake was passing them because then you’ve just got to stay in front don’t you? I’m sure there’s some law or other about it.
Anyway, on the back of that effort, my legs were feeling somewhat battered on Sunday morning as I ran to the park. On the plus side, my excuse was ready made right there but at the same time I was feeling a bit disappointed at my complete lack of self control.
The weather was about perfect. Not too warm with little wind and even a couple of drops of rain while we waited for the start and tried to decide what the background for the group photo should be. Thankfully we decided against the row of portaloos as a backdrop and managed to get a couple of Red Rose juniors over for the shot as well. A nice touch I thought.
With the chip timing, I thought that a start anywhere in the field would be fine and I would be able to push on if my legs started working. In fact the first km was a bit slow and I should have been further forward but on the plus side, it did give me a chance to get my legs moving and by the middle of tram lane, I was getting a bit of space and my legs felt ok. The fantastic encouragement from the Plowmans on the steep bit of Tram lane was well received. There’s nothing like hearing ‘come on Ian, get a move on’ from someone dressed in a cow onesie to cheer you up. Personally I think John should have let Paula wear it but hey, each to his own.
Up to Todd Lane and back down again and it’s all going well. My legs felt fine and although a PB wasn’t on the cards, I decided to try to make sure my pacing was consistent and I didn’t fade at the end.
Along the river and more support from Ann and Ben, thankfully not too much mud from the fields and down the back of the Capitol Centre and that massive puddle which is always there. Before I know it, I’m starting back towards the park, running by the river and I’m trying to remember whereabouts the finish is. There are a couple of Wesham runners in front so I’m going to try to catch them on the line. I got one but ran out of course and breath before I could catch the other one.
Still, a very enjoyable race and not a bad time for me. Happy with pretty consistent km splits and a fast finish, I felt like I had a bit left and maybe if I hadn’t done CV and started a bit further forward. Who knows, maybe next year.
Except next year I’ll almost certainly be doing CV again and that only means one thing. Who’s in front?