Just to keep everyone in the loop I started running in the last few months of last year, I slowly built myself up to running 5km with some colleagues from the office as part of our work / life balance initiative. I stop running late November due to picking up the flu and since then I haven’t done any real running training, I’ve done one 5km race in Jan and another in Feb. I was really keen to do training but I decided to focus on my Cycling and I put in a lot of hours for the Argus Cycle Tour. I decided that when I got back from Cape Town I would put some more focus on my running and getting back to the point from where I had stopped in November.
Having done very little training this year for running I must say that in the last 3 weeks I have come a looong way. Having started again 3 weeks ago on the treadmill with a 5km run and not having stopped once to walk is huge for me, as all the runs I have done in the past have been a series of run / walk / run / walk / run (you get the picture). Up to my race last night, I think I have done three treadmill sessions of 5, 5.5 and 8.5km respectively and two road runs of 5.5km each. For all my training sessions I have managed to keep a speed of about 8.5km/h although not quite a running pace, it is a pace I am very happy with. Of all the sports I do running is definitely the hardest and most definitely does not come naturally for me (see my post on CMT), if you had to see me run I think it would be pretty obvious. As I mentioned I believe my running has come a long way, I can honestly say I feel I am much stronger runner than I was before and I think I can attribute this to my cycling and all the spinning I do. As strong as I feel though I was not sure I had done enough running to jump straight into a 10km run…
Ok so for the race (Noordheuwel 10km Nite) roundup:
I must be honest I was nervous for my first 10km and at the same time I was also excited. It was a beautiful evening for a run and was not too cold either, the air was nice a cool and definitely made for great running conditions. As the start whistle blew the 10km group headed out and we were promptly greeted with a downhill, I think for most people they would be celebrating as downhill’s are your friends however at this point I was thinking ‘Oh great! A downhill! That means there is an uphill to, what a way to start the race”. Needless to say at the bottom of the hill a U-turn was made through a shopping centre and we promptly headed back up the same hill we had just run down (Who does that! That is just evil!). I think this hill separated all the serious runners from the recreational ones, although I am not a serious runner I am happy to report I did not walk up it however I did not have a fast pace up it either. The first 4km went pretty smoothly and looking back at my pace for them it was under 7min/km, there we some climbing involved but nothing too serious.
From about the 5.5km was when the serious hills started I was hoping I wouldn’t have to stop and walk, as up to this point I did not have walk once, but unfortunately this was not the case. I did manage to climb half of the hill before I started walking, once I reached the top though I carried on with my running pace. This carried on until about the 7.5km mark, from here there were some slight hills again but no so bad that you could not run up them, it was a nice run from here up to the 9km mark. The first 200/300m of the last km was a steep climb, I did give it my best shot a running it but it was just too much. The last few hundred metres was a nice easy climb back up to the finish line.
So I did manage to finish the race and with 6mins to spare from my planned time of 1h20, coming across the finish line in 01h14m20s. My average speed was 8.15km/h just a tad slower than my normal speed of 8.5km/h and my average pace was 7:22min/km, so I was a bit slower than normal but I attribute that to all the hills. From my point of view it was not a bad time at all considering all the walking I did up the hills.
I was definitely not expecting so many hills; then again it is my fault for not reading the race review properly before running as it reads: “This race is hard and hilly, yet scenic. Often referred to as ‘Moordheuwel’ it is a mid-week race that helps anyone get to grips with hill climbing and Comrades”. The difficulty rating for this race is 4 out of 5. The way I recall this race is down / up / down / up / down / up / down / up. So not one of the easier races to start off with but hey go BIG or go HOME!