I approached the morning of the Brampton to Carlisle 10 Mile race with some trepidation.
Having just come off a rake of night-shifts (which also included the night before) I’d managed about two hours sleep on the Sunday morning before dragging myself from my warm bed to get sorted to head down to Brampton.
Knowing that I would be feeling some tiredness, and that the cold weather kicking in would start to impede my asthma, I’d been downplaying what I thought I could do on the day.
Given the year I’ve had when it comes to PB’s it was easy for people to predict that I’d easily run a 70-72 minute but I wasn’t so sure. I kind of figured that once I was out there I would have an idea in the first three miles what I was capable of but until then other factors were in play.
The 10 Mile distance would be the last run of the year where, if I managed a PB, I would have managed to bag a PB at every distance I’ve ever taken part in competitively. If that carrot wasn’t dangling then there is every possibility that I might not have taken part and just stayed in bed.
Regardless, I was up and, having had some cornflakes and coffee, I was soon ready to go.
I’d ran the Brampton to Carlisle race a couple of times before and parts of the course I’ve used for training runs so it wasn’t going to be a surprise it was just a case of head down and get it over with.
Once at Brampton it was a case of picking up the number, catching up with other DH Runners, getting the team photo taken and having a warm up. By the time all that had been done the time just flew by and we were ushered towards the start line.
11:30am and we were off. If the running gods were with me I’d be finished by 12:45pm…I hoped that was case because I was getting fairly hungry at this point.
Within seconds of setting off fellow DH Runner Tony caught me up. We’d spoken beforehand about what he was expecting to do time-wise and I thought that if I could keep up with him as long as possible then I was definitely on for a decent time.
The first couple of miles in we’d ran two lots of under 7 minute miles. Going from mile 2 to 3 was a bit of a drag but wasn’t too much over 7 minutes in the end. It started to flatten out from that point onwards with little to no climbs until 7 miles onwards. I’d managed to keep up with Tony throughout and, every now and then, he’d talk to me and tell me how we were getting on. I genuinely couldn’t talk back to him as my focus was on trying to breathe. At 6 miles we were on around 42 minutes and all was going well, with only 4 miles to go it was just a case of keeping the pace going.
I’d been dreading miles 7 to 9 as I knew from the past that this part was a bit of a drag but I think the fact that I had someone next to me changed it somewhat this time around. Tony was doing a great job keeping pace and all I had to do was stick with him.
As we approached 9 miles Tony told me to go for it and, well, that’s exactly what I did.
With a downhill approaching I hit it at full tilt which carried me on to the climb which took the runners past the arts college. The climb then continues until a fast downhill towards the finish. As I started to approach the top of the incline I saw fellow DH Runners supporting, at this point I knew I was on for a decent time and so did they. The race was on for the finish and, having vastly improved my downhill running and sprinting, I knew that I could nick a few places at the end too.
With a time of 1:10.55 I’d finished 229th out of 677 and took nearly 10 minutes off my previous time of 1:20.54. I can honestly say I’m absolutely ecstatic with that.
What a year. I’d managed to PB at every distance.
I can honestly say that I couldn’t have done it without my wife. She’s seen me train like an absolute lunatic this year and never batted an eyelid, she’s just let me get on with it. Whether it was getting up at 6am and going for a run or whether it was heading out at daft o’clock at night (midnight in some cases) or whether it was falling asleep in front of the tv or, in some cases, while she was talking to me. I don’t know why this year was so important but I really wanted to achieve something and I wanted to work hard to do it. I’d gotten into a bit of a rut with my running and I wholeheartedly believed that I’d started coasting a little bit and not putting masses of effort in. With a bit of a change of mind-set and a change of diet the hard graft started in January and the results started to appear around May. I never thought that I’d be able to do what I’ve done mind but that just shows that hard work is rewarded at the end of the day. Friends have said that running is an honest sport and you’ll get out of it what you put into it and that is exactly what I’ve gotten this year.
More of the same next year…I might even try an ultra.