Race Recap: Perivale 5, 2014 edition

Way before I entered what is now dubbed my Autumn of Madness 2014 (aka taking on full time work and a DELTA course at the same time), I had signed up for this year’s edition of the Perivale 5 mile race, having enjoyed the flat course and 5-mile distance last year. However, the Autumn of Madness saw me running less than 10 miles/week for four months or so, which meant I had to adjust my expectations for this year’s race and had little chance of going head-to-head with Jo and Caroline.

No matter — I decided to aim for around 40 minutes and run a relaxed race, pushing hard only if I felt like it.

This race is well-organized and low-key yet competitive, a mixture of club and non-club runners. The two-lap course is flat but unmemorable, consisting mostly of suburban sidewalks with a jaunt through a park and finishing on a track.

There was a runner in a Santa costume pacing for 40 minutes, so I decided to stay close to him if possible and try to run a negative split, like I did in September’s 10k. I ended up running just in front of Santa for the first few miles, which I ran steadily at 7:50, 8:00 and 8:00 — nice and consistent, spurred on by a few runners around me who would surge and fall back periodically.

Photo courtesy of ESM AC

Can you spot Santa? (photo courtesy of ESM AC)

As we entered mile 4, I decided to pick up the pace and a runner with hot pink compression socks settled in beside me, which helped spur me along for much of that mile. “The fourth mile always feels the longest,” I commented to her at one point. Noting that I ran mile 4 in 7:47, I dug in for the last mile. It helped that a woman I passed with 3/4 of a mile to go encouraged me by saying, “Go on, there’s loads left in you!” Yes, there is, I thought and picked up my pace.

Coming around parallel to the track with about 600 meters to go, I saw Jo and Caroline finishing and yelled encouragement to them. With just a lap of the track left, I picked up my pace a little more and passed a few tiring runners on the final backstretch before coming around to the finish in 38:53 (average 7:46/mi). My last mile was by far the fastest, at 7:12, and I was happy to be under 39 minutes — sure, three minutes slower than last year’s race, but given the fact that I haven’t done any speed work since the summer, I’m quite pleased and glad not to have lost too much fitness.

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