Listen to your coach….yes that’s right, it is useful to listen occasionally! A few months ago I mentioned to Big Chief Waddy that a few of us were doing Freckleton, his one liner was “always hot and hard work”. Entries were already in place so the advice was ignored.
Freckleton took place on 22nd June and is run unusually in the afternoon at 2pm. This is so it fits in with church services celebrating the Village Club Sports Day.
In the run up to the race the forecasts were for 18/19 degrees and sunny intervals, slightly warm but manageable indeed I was pleased to see the weather looked settled.
Taking on the challenge were Mark Rogers, Daniel Atkinson and Mike Harris. Chatter in the car mainly revolved around PB’s and spirits were high. The morning cloud encouraged us all to believe we were going to have decent races.
The start and finish were on the sports field and there was a great atmosphere whilst everyone was milling around waiting to start, a varied mix of competitors. The morning clouds were by now rapidly disappearing and the temperatures were climbing.
The race starts with a loop of the village with plenty of supporters on hand for encouragement. Not surprisingly with this level of support the opening mile felt comfortable and I settled into a sub 6:30 pace. It didn’t take long for things to start getting harder. The heat was now building to a mid-afternoon high and I was mighty pleased to see the first drinks station. Prior to the race I had foolishly not given hydration much thought. My thinking was sub 90 minutes of running so no need to worry. It proved to be a school boy error. First mistake was not stopping to drink, I tried to manage a few gulps on the fly, choked and gave up. I should have taken a few seconds out to get some fluids on board. My second error was not thinking through the effects of heat and dehydration and moderating my pace and target.
The course is fairly level and is a mix of village roads, country lanes and pavement beside the main road. It’s pleasant without being memorable however on the 22nd June those gentle inclines seemed very hard and not flat as temperatures climbed to 23 degrees.
By ten miles I just wanted to go home so I kept running as the car was at the finish. Any chances of a PB were long gone, it was now just about pride. I overheard a spectactor comment to a friend how knackered I looked – thanks I thought, at least everyone can see the pain.
Mark was far more sensible, taking on drinks and running well until the 10 mile mark when a lack of longer training runs started to take it’s toll, coming home though in a great 14th place in a time of 1.21.07.
I had no idea how Mark and Daniel were doing as the course apart from the start is one big anti-clockwise loop so with half a mile to go it was good to see Mark cheering me home. I tried to rally, picking up the pace for a few strides but it was short lived and I trotted home in 1.34.54 mighty relieved to be finished in 68th place.
It was so busy near the finish I didn’t manage to find Mark. It was fabulous to see so many spectators. After a short wait Daniel emerged around the final bend deep in the zone and oblivious to the shouts of encouragement to finish in 1.52.25.
No PB’s gained but some important lessons learnt!