12.2.17 - Stamford Valentine's 30k race
7th place in 1:54 today - pleased to have felt strong throughout, even if it's not the quickest time. Anyone who's done this race or knows Rutland, will know there are a lot of short but tough hills all the way along the route and it was 2c on the start line not to mention wind chill and a bit of light sleet - one of those days when you need to embrace the challenge presented to you. I even managed to keep up with Aaron Scott for the first stride! I didn't wear a watch yesterday, as planned, and with no timings out on the course, it was a real confidence boost to come into the finish and see that my instincts and own pace judgement had been okay. I don't plan to wear a watch in London either, so this bodes well. It was also reassuring to know that the passing doubts I had during the few days leading up to the race were irrational after all and just one of those quirks that runners sometimes feel.
As soon as I finished, I tried to calculate what it meant in terms of a projected time for London - another 12km, even allowing for slower pace - could be 2:44 particularly given better weather conditions and a flatter course. However, I soon dismissed such thoughts and got back to focusing on the shorter term which seems to have served me well enough so far. This is where a busy home life makes such a difference as you switch off from running when the event's over and focus on more important things like having a bubble bath with your little ones and a date night with your wife.
I didn't see any other Pacers there yesterday and I can heartily recommend the race - it's only 1hr 15 minutes to get to Stamford, the race has a field of 600 and it's really well organised and marshalled with plenty of water stations. Yes, it's a tough course (harder than say the Tarpley 20 course) but for anyone doing London or another spring marathon, it's a really good distance to put into your race schedule a bit earlier than some of the other long races on the calendar. The start and finish is at a school, so showers, bag drop, refreshments etc. are all available in the warm and dry. It usually opens for entries in the autumn and sells out by Christmas. (As Valentine's is in the race title, you even get a packet of love hearts in the bag at the finish!) Plus, Stamford is a lovely place to spend a few hours after the race and the London Inn in the town serves a 'King's Roast' which is basically double the size of a normal roast dinner and just the ticket after an 18 mile race! (Gutted I didn't have time for one yesterday though.)
I'm looking forward to the Nowton Park XC, Tarpley 10 and Cambridge Half races coming up, hoping to improve week by week and looking forward to the team vibe which comes with those races when I know Pacers will be out in force!
Sorry for the fundraising plug, but I'm raising for money for two charities as part of my efforts in the London Marathon in April and the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in July - if you'd like to donate, please have a look at my page here: https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/tomkingsnorth.