RACE REPORT: Norton Common 5K (Frost)

2 months, 17 days, 17 hours, 13 mins, 11 seconds until the London Marathon.

My first week of seriously hard marathon training is almost over, and today started with the monthly Norton Common 5K race before an easy eight mile run. And it was so cold – the terrain is grassy in areas, pathed in areas and earth in places. With the frost the grass had turned rock hard, and the earth areas were heavily rutted, which would eventually mean it was tough to choose the right place to put your feet.

I was well prepared for this race, and made a decision not to run with music for this one and concentrate on running. It was also the first Norton Common race for which I abandoned shorts and vest and went for shorts, top, long sleeve top, gloves and hat. To be honest I was tempted to keep my jumper on – and looking at the photos, I was one of the very few people not wearing running tights. I ordered some immediately after the temperatures at Thursday speedwork!

I thought I’d run quite well, but was a bit nervous about the conditions underfoot. In addition to the cold conditions knew it was also the Watford Half Marathon the next day, so I thought the turnout might be reduced and I could sneak a good finish. However there was a large running pack, despite the conditions!

As the race got underway the front of the pack seemed to go out in pairs, and I found myself in the third pair running just ahead of Tash. I was very careful on the grass, but ran harder on the paths to make up for that.

The second lap was much more interesting. It was to and fro with Tash for most of this lap- as she passed me the first time I drafter behind her for a bit before overtaking again. As we ran close here it was tough to sometimes both find a easy footing over the rutted earth, and we were side by side going up to a section with a small bridge that only one person could cross at a time. We pushed each other hard, but coming up to the final hill, with maybe a little bit less than a kilometre to run Tash pulled away. The gap wasn’t that big, I pushed a little, thinking I was pulling her in, then kicked again but the gap stayed pretty much the same. In the end I didn’t have much of a sprint finish and Tash finished ten seconds ahead of me, but we both recognised we both probably wouldn’t have run that fast without the other to push us on.

Despite a little bit of a muddle with the timings, I PB’d in a big way, dropping my Giffordtown 21:01 to a 20:23. As the previous PB was a road 5K, I now really want to find a road 5K and see if I can push that under twenty minutes!

As always, don’t forget to sponsor me here.

Cheers for reading,

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