From the start I wasn’t sure whether or not to enter this one – not only would it be my second ever 5 mile race it would also be the afternoon before a 20 mile training run ready for my next marathon. Racing in the afternoon isn’t something I’ve done often either as I don’t really run that well in the afternoons.
By this time two months had passed since my ankle injury in Moscow and it had improved considerably. Not only had I been trying to let my ankle recover, I’d also been trying to build back up to where I was before the injury and trying to get some longer miles in before September. Though I found it hard work to get any decent miles in, especially without walking – that is until the weekend before this race when I managed to do 11 miles without walking. The days in between however I struggled to run more than just a couple of miles without needing to walk – hopefully due to the heat.
If I wanted to run 20 miles the day after this race then I’d need to seriously question what sort of pace I would go for. When running I tend to not be particularly sensible, but I needed to think about the long game here – this wasn’t to be my target race. Thinking about why I was doing this race – when I entered it I’d thought that this one might be a bit of fun. So with that in mind, by the time race day came around I was convinced that instead of going for a flat out sub 7:00 min/mile race, I’d take it leisurely and go for somewhere between 07:30 and 08:00 min/mile.
For the first time ever I was going to a race with family – my Dad drove me to Bassingham and then whilst I picked up my race number he went off to have lunch and find landscapes to photograph. It was nice to catch up with a few people I’ve seen at races before and have talked to on Twitter, and then we all headed over to the start. As I wasn’t going to go all out for this one I decided to start at the back and just see where I’d end up.
After about 10 minutes the race started on time and the crowd of runners started to head off. As this wasn’t a chip timed race I hoped I’d be able to start my watch at the right time but wasn’t entirely sure where the start line was until I saw some flour marking the spot.
For the first mile the course loops around the village and crosses the start line for a second time. I took this easy, but because I’d started at the back I overtook quite a few people. I decided this was okay and I should just carry on running at whatever pace felt easy. By the time the first mile marker appeared the village had now been left behind us and the course was heading out into the countryside for a bigger loop.
Over the next couple of miles I felt it get warmer and warmer, and I think because of this it actually made the strong force of the wind (seriously, we’re talking about 40mph here) a little more welcome than it would normally be. In some places the wind really did make a difference to pace, but I wasn’t bothered by it – I was here to have fun and enjoy the scenery of rural Lincolnshire. I was having fun and glad to have entered the race.
At mile 3 there was a water station so I decided I may as well have a bit of water. I grabbed the cup and squeezed it closed, successfully avoiding spilling any – took a quick sip and discarded it. By this point every step was heading back towards the village and eventually I started to recognise some of the road from having been down it in the car earlier. It also occurred to me at this point that whilst I’d overtaken a number of people on my journey from the back of the pack, I hadn’t yet been overtaken by anyone. It made me wonder if I was going too fast, but rather than look at my watch I decided to just stay at a pace that felt easy – let my legs decide what’s right.
I think it was around 4.5 miles into the run we were back into the village and this is when I saw my Dad standing on the side of the pavement and taking photographs! This was the first time in three years of running that a family member has watched me run – and getting a few photos at the same time was brilliant.
About a minute later I crossed the start line for the third time and was soon directed through a gate onto the playing field for the finish. I couldn’t see the finish though so was unsure when to allow myself a bit of speed. Eventually though as I got around a corner I saw a sign about 20 metres away that said “FINISH” so quickly tried to get up to sprinting speed, but failed to get up to speed before I finished. As I finished though the person who finished before me stopped moving completely the second he crossed the finish and I ran into the side of him – unable to stop quick enough.
I stopped my watch and looked at the time – 34:03. Oops! Taking into account this was my watch time, and not the gun time – that was a little faster than I’d intended as my aim had been to run around 40 minutes, but the odd thing is that it never felt like I’d pushed myself that hard during the run – it felt easy. Easy enough in fact that I hadn’t felt the need to walk which when pushing hard I’d often feel like I want to. It was a nice enough race for me to instantly have decided that I’ll be back next year to race it properly, and with an actual goal time in mind.
At the finish for this race you’re handed a bottle of water, and then if you head into the hall you’re given a mug saying “Bassingham Bash 2016” and a slice of some really nice cake!
When the official results were released my official time was 34:14 (so took around 11 seconds to cross the start line) in position 46 out of 192 finishers (first 24%).