Paco kindly offered to pick me up on the way from his house down to Getafe - that, and the civilised 10:30 am start, meant that I could have a nice quiet breakfast at home while I waited for him to arrive. I had my usual toast and olive oil with a sprinkle of salt but I also scoffed down a slightly less healthy Mars Bar and grabbed a Red Bull for later. This year we were able to find a very good parking place quite near the start and we had plenty of time to go through the usual routine of getting the race number, pinning it on, leaving stuff at the cloakroom and finally, warming up. In spite of being a cold (8 degrees Centigrade) and grey day, I opted for sunglasses to give my eyes a rest from the glare and I wore one of those Buff things to avoid getting a headache from the chill (I took it off about 5 kilometres into the race). I also decided to run with a Fuel Belt and one little bottle full of High5 Isogels, just as I did last year. It's probably overkill but even if it helps psychologically it's probably worth more than its weight in speed. Lastly, I ran in my Vibram Seeyas which I am currently convinced are my best shoes, at least for running sub 4:00 per kilometre pace on tarmac.
|That's me in the middle with an orange vest and sunglasses|
|Thanks to Josue Bretones Miguelez for these|
Anyway, with my usual rant over, back to the race itself. A friend asked me what my goal in the race was and I realised that I hadn't really thought too hard about it. I said that I'd like to break 1 hour 20 as I did last year and ideally be able to improve my time, even if only by a few seconds. On the other hand, after the aerobic test I did a few weeks ago, I knew that I would set off at a pace of 3:45 per kilometre (16 kph) and see where my heart rate ended up. I decided to ignore my GPS and just make sure that the number of seconds on the clock were at least 15 less at each kilometre marker. Even so, it was impossible to ignore the symphony of beeping Garmin watches and, for once, they were not too far off the mark (the final distance according to my watch was 21.18, only 80 metres more, easily accounted for by not taking the optimal line).
After only a few kilometres I saw someone wearing the "All in your mind" t-shirt from my old club (and what I wore myself last year). It turned out to be Alejandro Gómez who I last saw (the back of) in the San Silvestre International race on New Year's Eve. This time I edged past him after a brief chat and wondered whether he'd catch me up again. The course is pretty flat and consists of two loops run mostly on roads, although there is a section that passes through the old village centre in which you have to run on cobble stones which are only slightly irritating in minimalist shoes. I remember one stretch which was slightly slippery, as if we were running on a film of ice (which wouldn't have been impossible) but I think was actually a fine layer of gravel. I could hear other runner's shoes scraping and slipping and I tried consciously not to waste energy by pushing off too hard. It was, however, quite a windy day and even with 3,600 other runners there were still times when I was completely unprotected from the onslaught.
I felt completely in control during the whole race but I did think of stopping several times. I suppose these thoughts come to you either when you are suffering too much (which wasn't the case) or when you lose concentration. I clearly remember thinking how nice it would be to stop and catch my breath after only 5 kilometres and then I realized what a stupid idea that was and that I couldn't afford to think of the relief of stopping so soon into the race. The desire to stop was stronger, of course, in the final quarter but it was also easier to convince myself to keep going. What I find striking now is that I don't remember feeling either sure that I would beat my best time or particularly excited about doing so; I just wanted the time to go by.
|Thanks to Los atrapasueños for this one|
|Getafe 2013 vs Getafe 2012|
I am very pleased with my time because, if last year felt like a fluke, this result confirms that I am that fast, if not faster. I am especially pleased because I have been training on my own without a coach for about 9 months now and I am still able to get good results. I think I can be quietly confident about Seville. I just hope that the qualifying time for New York this year (if this race does indeed fall in the window of dates for qualification) is not sub 1:19 for the 40+ age group - that will be quite frustrating to say the least. (By the way, the aerobic test I did the other day predicted a time of 1:19:07 - only 4 seconds off my actual time!! Must be a coincidence.)
|I got my second best 10K time of 37:05 on route, only 20 seconds off my PB|
|By chance, the guy with his arms in the air is trained by Jonathan|