That was all set to change this year, but then I discovered that I had been scheduled to work the late shift and, even though I tried, I couldn't find someone willing to swap it with me for an earlier finish which meant that I missed race 1 of the 2016 series.
So for race 2 I made sure well in advance that I'd be on an early finish and planned my exit strategy down to a tee. Fortunately the trains behaved and after a quick pitstop at home, I arrived at the woods with plenty of time to spare and registered on the day for £6.
As I mentioned above there are three different courses in this series and somehow I have always run exactly the same course. I completely forgot just how painfully tough this 5k is and is an added bonus, June 2016 had been quite a rainy month which meant the conditions underfoot were much worse than on the previous occasions (Links: Joydens Wood 5k 2014 / Joydens Wood 5k 2015) I had run here.
A big thing I learnt during this race is that although I am currently running a flat 5k in roughly the same time as I was last year, I am not coping with hills very well right now. As soon I started running up any of the many hills in this race I really struggled and slowed down much more than the runners around me.
I lost places to those behind me but when the ground levelled out I stayed with those runners only to fall further behind on the next incline. This makes sense as I have had a long term knee injury which has lead to avoiding a lot of the types of training that would make me stronger in this area.
|joydens wood [with thanks to richey for the running photo]|
However, I'm not used to being so weak on hills so a few modifications to my training are in order. Over the last 3-4 months almost all of my training has been on the track and if specificity is a key part of training it's easy to see why my flat course 5k times are doing ok but throw in a hill and I fall apart. I'm also not currently including any long runs in my training as that could cause problems with my knee injury so that means that my endurance is pretty much non-existent.
So back to the race, and with the official results in, I finished in a time of 22.32. I had hoped to come in under 22 minutes so I'm pretty disappointed with the time. However, I did finish in 11th position which is fairly consistent with my previous finishing positions in the series so I'm pretty pleased with that. The last race of the series is also the 4th race of the run>dartford series so the plan is to be back here in a month's time for that, and I'm really looking forward to it.