Sunday, 30 December 2007

Chevin Chase race report...

This year, for the the third time in a row, H and I spent Boxing Day morning running in the 7 mile (ish) cross country race that is the Chevin Chase. It's becoming somewhat of a tradition that we join our friends Pete and Ady to burn off our Christmas Day excess before tucking in to the Pete's mum's unrivalled Boxing Day hospitality :)

Two years ago I ran 46:36 before pb'ing in the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in January '06 (80 minutes), last year I was a second quicker round the Chevin but a week of post-crimbo flu put paid to my 2007 half-marathon pb ambitions and I only managed a short 83 in York. This year I'm determined to go sub-80 minutes at the Brass Monkey on January the 20th and having pb'd in the Dublin marathon and then again for the Great North Run (for the course) earlier this year was looking to round 2007 off with a third pb in a row...

I really wasn't sure how I'd perform on the day having got close to 80 hours training in the previous four weeks but Monday was a rest day and Tuesday an easy bike. The Chevin Chase is a super hilly run and although I'd been doing Kirkstall Hills on Saturday mornings I'd been quite a way off my pb for them and not that confident in my speed. Having gone off too hard in my last two cross-country races I decided to start cautiously and broke the race down in my head to 15 minutes steady, 15 minutes hard and 15 minutes of everything... by which point I hoped I'd be in view of the finish ;)

As the gun went the usual crazy start followed, with every man and his dog setting off at top speed and little regard for pacing strategies. I tucked in behind some LBT club mates and concentrated on settling in to the first couple of miles. At 15 minutes people had stopped overtaking me and it was time to up the pace, working my way through the field and feeling strong on the hills I was confident of a good finish. At around 30 minutes I got to the top of the steepest and most energy sapping climb of the day and with a little left in the tank knew it was time to hurt... running back down in to Guiseley I was feeling great and expecting a massive pb but the final section of this race always seems longer than I remember and as the seconds ticked by I realised it would be close. Before the race I would have been happy with anything in the 46's but having felt so good I was a little disappointed with 45:59 but, a pb is a pb and if I can match it over 13.1 I'll be under 80 minutes for the first time in January.

On the good side I paced it well and was only overtaken by one person from about ten minutes in, finishing in 34th place out of 814 (top 4.2%). I was also pleased to feel strong on the hills (the single leg squats must be paying off). I definitely need to work on my speed however as opposed to last year when I felt I had the speed but lacked the strength.

Overall, that's the first target of my 2008 Ironman campaign achieved whilst providing some great feedback as to how I need to focus my training, in order to move closer to my major running goal of sub-2:55 in the London Marathon. A performance which I believe will put me within touching distance of 3:25 for the Ironman Germany marathon.

Finally, I'd like to mention two other great performances on Boxing Day... H for being tenth lady and taking down some good male runners in the process, without aggravating her ankle injury :)... and one of our Sports Science students Alistair Brownlee for winning the race in 38 minutes and 20 seconds (around 5:30 per mile) which anyone who has run this race will tell you is nothing short of phenomenal!

Really finally... if you're looking for a little more inspiration check out the subject of today's photo ;)

Time to get back training, see you next year...

T ;)


Debra said...

Having watched the Chevin chase, including at the top of what looks like the worst hill of them all, both you and H looked like you were flying awesomely, well done to you both!! Hopefully this year I'll get my entry in before the race is full!

And hope 2008 brings its just rewards for all your hard efforts

Tom said...

Hi Debra,

Thanks for that ;) We were both pretty pleased with our performances, especially coming off an indulgent Christmas day!

See you at the Brass Monkey,