I had done this race a couple of times before, once in 2001 with a time of 02:43:10 back in the day when I was newbie, 10kgs heavier and then again in 2009 with a time of 02:03:15. This year my intention was very much to treat it as a run with some company as Folksworth had been the fitness benchmark I needed. Racing this was only going to toast my legs and require a week of recovery before i could resume normal training. With the Abu Dhabi Triathlon fast approaching it was essential to remain consistent with the training; the physical impact of racing would not contribute to my performance there.
The week leading up to the race was a completely normal week training wise culminating with a five hour ride on the Saturday. Running with some fatigue in my legs would produce a useful training effect and help a little with mental conditioning.
I did feel a little pressure as I lined up for the start as it was a local race for me. My running club were hosting the event and a number of people, recognising me, wished me luck with a note of expectation in their voice. My plan was to run the first 20k hard to simulate the ADIT race distance then jog in the last 10k. As we set off I found myself running with a friend of mine and she asked if I intended to race as she was looking for a PB, so, very quickly, I found myself playing the part of pacemaker.
The first few miles ticked by at six minute miles but then we did have a tail wind. The course is rolling so I was pretty happy with that but, as we turned back into the wind, we eased off to six twenty pace which felt plenty hard enough! The 20k mark approached and I was cagouled into pacing for a further 2k before I said enough was enough. At 22k and a time of 01:24 I slowed right up at the aid station, grabbed a generous handful of jelly babies and slowed to 5min ks, a pace at which importantly, I could chew and swallow without choking. Sitting around 20th, I then had to switch the racing head off and allow runners to pass me with alarming regularity. It was a hard jog into the finish mentally, but I was pleased with my discipline and finished with a time of 02:05:57, placing 8th in my age group and 54th overall.
I had a great day out and achieved my goals. Within a couple of days I was training normally and focussed on ADIT.