Sunday, 3 April 2016

RACE 4 - Spring 2016 ZRVR (10k)

The idea of a virtual race is still odd to me - running on my own, on a course set by myself, with no crowds. Still, I know there are thousands of others across the world doing the same thing.

The experience was slightly marred by my race packet not yet having arrived in the post. It obviously hasn't stopped me racing, as the race mission is still available in the app, but it lessens the experience somewhat. I should have been able to wear a race t-shirt specially made for the experience and been able to hold high a finishers medal afterwards. Never mind. It'll arrive eventually. The race organisers were let down by the t-shirt manufacturers, so I understand that some things are out of their control.

Anyway, the race mission itself was good. Set back in a time when the zombie outbreak had only recently happened, I was running as part of a team tasked with taking down a rogue general who wanted to cleanse the plague by nuking an outbreak site (irradiating the country in the process). Team members lost their lives, civilians need rescuing & time was critical. Fun drama :)

Back in the real world the Met Office weather app said it would be cloudy and feel like 5 degrees, so I dressed for a cool run. That was wrong. It turned into a lovely sunny morning that certainly felt a lot warmer - thermal leggings and long socks were not required! I felt the effects of that in the second half of the race where recovery from a hill climb was difficult.

I used the same race route as last autumn's ZRVR, which takes me round Greenfield and Mossley. Half a km into the race I passed some fellow Greyhounds - couldn't stop, but it was nice to see other runners I knew. I had good pace down to the Clarence and back up to Tesco, at around 5m/km. Then slowed down to around 5m40s/km over the next few km climb, up Chapel Hill and onwards to the Farrars.

Halfway into the race and the big climb behind me I faced a few km of flat running. Despite the beautiful scenery, the blazing sun didn't help my recovery much and I struggled to work my way back to target pace. I clawed back a bit, to around 5m20s/km, but thankfully the first few km had put me in good stead. Top Mossley was great to reach - downhill from here on - so pace picked up on the way to Mossley train station, well under 5m/km now. From there back to the Fire Station Nursery 'finish line' was a gentle downhill where I would usually increase my pace for the last km, but just didn't have it in me today. That said, I managed to keep sub-5m/km pace to the end.

Overall very happy with the finish time of 51m 21s - a 10km PB and more than 3 minutes off the last ZRVR, which is fab. Strava says I did it even quicker (51m 12s), illustrating how apps interpret GPS data in different ways. The training seems to be working, so I'm now more hopeful for a sub-50 Great Manchester Run (7 weeks to go).

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