Searching around and doing a bit of general googling, I stumbled across this event. I wanted an alternative to the late Wetherby 10k. With kick off time not being until 2 o’clock there… I came across this, the Tholthorpe 10k, a quaint village, north of York. Just a little bit further than Wetherby, not by much. But it starts at 11, straight away I was hooked.
The area itself is an area that I’ve run in and around in before. Whether it be the Thirsk 10, Ripon 10k, Ripon 10 Mile, The Guy Fawkes 10, Fountains Abbey 10k, and The Burn Valley Half…. All of these races don’t exactly scream flat, disregarding my current 10 mile PB coming from the fast Thirsk 10. The races scream challenge, largely screaming hills. So I was quite surprised when I saw The ‘Flat’ Tholthorpe 10k….
I’ve felt leggy this week, it’s no surprise as to why. Mileage has remained consistent and so has the pace, it all builds up eventually. That it has done. Recovery runs have been a bit slower, the miles haven’t been so easy. But that’s marathon training! It causes doubt in your mind and plays with your thoughts, but again, that’s marathon training… the niggles build up and muscles begin to ache, over and over again.. but that’s marathon training. I’m approaching the final phase, the time in my training that I begin to fine tune and nail down the mileage, in order for that race sharpness to return. I’ll approach my last long run in hopefully a little bit better shape than I am now, with sharper legs and a fresher mind!
Going into the race the aim was to run a time similar to what I ran this time last year at the ever so flat Stamford Bridge course, The Derwent Dash. Running a 33:46 there, which was a personal best for the time. I’ve since run quicker but psychologically knowing I could run that would hold me in a good mindset approaching October. With the race being an 11 o’clock start, it meant I didn’t have to wake up quite so early! Perfect. I managed to get up just before 8, and got myself ready and left the house around 8:45. Straight up the M1, before leaving onto the country lanes. Twisting and turning before the small quaint village of Thilthorpe popped up in the middle of nowhere, only to leave the village for half a mile to find the car park. Small jog down, got my number, back to the car before venturing onto the lanes for a pre run around. Eventually back at the car, vest on. Jogged to the start line, spotting more Penistone runners in the process. Sue, Stu and John. Managing to catch Phil Bland who snapped a picture of us.
Then made my way to the line, spotting Andrew Dobby and Andrew Grant of Harrogate in the process. Small chit chat before the race. The organiser beginning their countdown, apparently if the gun didn’t work, he’d just shout bang! Anticipating the ‘bang,’ it was a surprise when the gun went off.
Quickly out the blocks, chasing the lead car. They’d not started the clock. Seemed like forever before it went on, but in actual fact it was only 32 seconds! Small uphill start, running and pacing it. Set off a little too fast. Needed to settle down, but with the wind at our backs and two runners on my shoulder. It felt easy for now! 5:09 for the first mile. John Johnson from Rotherham and Andy Grant in my company for now, we had turned and began running into the wind. Andy went ahead of me, I tried to sit in behind but the pace didn’t feel too easy today. John went ahead with Andy as I sat back and began to run my own race, the pace for me had settled. Around the 5:25 mark, it began to feel comfortable and manageable. By now a gap had been formed out in front, between me and them. A gap that seemed too far to close. Running into the headwind, hoping for some sort of relief. Hitting the course and taking in my surroundings on the open country lanes. Taking in the gradual ascents and ever so gradual descents, nothing too sharp and nothing too serious. Rolling flat. Enjoyable! Ticking off the kilometre markers in the long relentless headwind. I’d drove in on the last section of the course from around the 7k marker, so I knew that there was roughly a small ascent around there. Dropping eventually down to a downhill finish. Speaking to people, experienced people of this race around the start, I knew that ‘hill’ was a bit to save myself for. We went through the 5k clock, clocking it in 16:20. Not bad. Still hitting the wind. Then making a right turn as we start to navigate through the grounds of Myton Hall, Andrew Grant has made a move and kicked out in front now. Opening a gap between him and 2nd place. Myself sitting comfortably behind in 3rd.
The end of the lane, we made another right turn. It seemed to go on forever until we got there. Now with the wind at our backs, we was on the familiar territory, beginning our ascent on the road I drove in on. Knowing there wasn’t long left, the plan, DO NOT LET THE PACE DROP! Onwards and upwards. Making our way back towards Tholthorpe. The village in the middle of nowhere. Knowing as soon as I get to the top, it’s all downhill from here.
Beginning to hear the sounds of the speaker system set up on the village green, getting closer and closer. Getting louder and louder. Nearly there, nearly over the line. Striding out. Right, left, right.. seeing the village green. Glancing at the clock, adding 32 seconds.
Holding on, stepping onto the green.
Quick drink, and then a jog back to the car with Andy Grant, before going off on a afters jog with him. Clocking 15 mile ish for the mornings effort. Back to the village, seeing John, Stu and Sue. Seeing what they thought of the race, how they got on. Before making my way to the village hall for the presentation.
My splits were fairly consistent, and felt fairly comfortable. Despite the Heart Rate spike, definitely beginning believe there is something wrong with my watch as it has been doing it a lot recently. Possibly need to wear the chest strap to check! Technology eh…
Everything is working (apart from the technology), even though my legs are tight. My legs are knackered. This is marathon training, it’s all building towards the bigger picture. Eventually! The mileage is high but if I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t have the motivation, I wouldn’t do it. It’s there, it’s ever present!
Just Keep Running!