Race Report from England: Chichester Priory 10k (Read 563 times)


    (please forgive - this was a 10Km but i ran it as 6.21 miles so some interchanging of measurements!) It was a sunny but sharp February morning when we arrived in Chichester. Nice walk along the old roman city wall before we arrived at Race HQ, and we headed first for the toilets, then for a chair and a cup of tea! I got my Garmin Forerunner 201 from my bag, and also my gloves. I decided I was right in wearing my long sleeve technical fabric top, and running tights. They were new, but I had done a tempo run in them a week before and measured the temperature, so I knew at what point I should wear them before I became overheated. I had worn my running shorts underneath the tights just in case the weather was warmer than I expected, but it felt like it was the predicted 8°C. There was very little breeze. I found my running partner just outside the predictably heavily congested toilet block, and we headed off up Broyle Road for a warm-up. We only went approx half mile up, past some park fields where some football matches were being played. We passed many other runners with the same idea. I checked my Garmin and it was only 15 minutes from the start of the race so I suggested we head back down the hill – we arrived at the start with about 10 minutes to go. We found our estimated time markers and duly stood in line with all the other runners. Final goodbyes and kisses to the missuses, and we were lead out of the Northgate Festival Theatre car park and into Oaklands Way where the start line was. I heard a loud noise, which I assumed, heralded the start of the race. No obvious start line was apparent however, so I began jogging with finger on the Forerunner wondering when I would need to start it off. At some point before the end of Oaklands Way I had to estimate where the start line was based on maps I had looked at previously and the racecourse I had plotted on this site. I shook hands with my running pal and wished him good luck – he was expecting to run the race in 50 mins as he had been carrying a calf injury for a few months. Then I was off – despite placing myself behind the 40-45 minutes slot at the start, I still seemed to be weaving my way through the crowd. I had been in two previous races where I had to weave my way through the crowd at the start and it annoyed me that I was slowed down, but I guess everyone wants to run at different paces at different stages of the race. The first mile is always going to be that way – but next time I will bump myself up the start by 5 minutes! My goal for the 1st mile was a pace of 7:39 – I looked at my Garmin and I was running at 7:10. Maybe this was why. I thought to myself “slow down” and I also thought “bollocks!” I felt fit, strong, focused. I was going to beat my PR. I was going to run against every piece of crap that happens to undeserving people in this world. I always have an undercurrent of anger in my running especially so in races. I run against what happened to my Mum. I meant business. I was going to go flat out and that was that – ok, a measured “flat out” but I thought I was okay at that pace. It felt good and the race was only 6.21 miles – and supposedly flat with 3 inclines. I was confident with what was to come. I ended up running the whole race at the limit – on occasions I felt an almost asthmatic feeling where the pace was affecting my ability to breathe. But on those occasions I start to breathe deeply through my nose instead of my mouth and this normally helps. It did on these occasions too, along with a slight slowing of the pace. The first couple of miles were through the outskirts of Chichester, primarily through a new housing estate, not particularly scenic but some of the residents came out to look at the spectacle of 1500 runners going by their houses. They didn’t offer a lot of support though. The race marshals did a good job controlling the traffic in these areas. Then we were out into the country roads northeast of Chichester. It was quite hilly, hillier than I expected given the elevation profile I had obtained from Google Maps, but when I encountered any inclines I shortened my stride, maintained effort if not speed, pumped my hands at the side instead of my regular criss-cross-across-my-chest/figure-of-eight motion and concentrated. At the hilltops I resumed my regular form and continued with my pace. My planned pace was still on a piece of paper underneath the strap of my Garmin and it occasionally caught my eye, but as I was well ahead of it I ignored it! In fact I was so focused I hardly touched my Garmin. On training runs I fiddle with it all the time, seeing what my current lap pace is (where 1 lap=1mile) and what my average is, total distance etc. I was so focused; I just made the occasional glance to the lap pace, and intended to stick under 7:20 pace as far as possible. The weather had clouded over a little but it was still chilly. I continued passing people around the back end of the course past Goodwood racetrack. It feels good to go past people. Not too many went past me, only the odd person here or there. Occasionally I got stuck behind someone with seriously bad body odour – and that gives you some excellent motivation to speed past him or her (usually him) and get upwind! Anyway at mile 4, after a few uphills and downhills, I turned into Pook Lane where I was expecting a large climb, the largest of the race, but the view I was greeted with wasn’t as bad as I expected. I took off my gloves and undid the zip on my top as I was now hot. Only 2 more miles I thought to myself. But I noticed that the road surface had become slippery with a little mud - change in tarmac perhaps? Then there was a crash behind me as I was passing a group. I knew that someone behind me, most likely a lady I had passed a few seconds before who looked unsteady, had fallen to the left into a shallow muddy gutter by the side of the road, into a hedgerow possibly. A man who was level with me looked back, said “Oh fuck!” and turned back to help. “That must be her husband” I thought to myself. For a fleeting moment I thought I should go and help, and as always in those situations where I feel should help a stranger, I remember the time I nearly drowned as a 12 year old boy in a crowded public swimming pool, when no-one helped me – so I thought “bollocks I’m running MY race here” and I carried on. She had help anyway, I couldn’t have done anything other than got in the way. After Pook Lane, I seemed to turn onto a main carriageway. Out on this section of the race the marshals, who were not overly friendly, were good at ensuring the runners stayed on the left hand side of the road, but did little to stop cars coming up the wrong side of the road beside the runners. Once oncoming traffic appeared this inevitably resulted in those cars trying to squeeze back on to the left side to allow the oncoming traffic to pass – but this inhibited the runners and I thought was dangerous. I thought this was quite poor considering 1500 people had paid their entry fee – for the sake of a few minutes we should have been entitled to a little stretch of road to ourselves. I guess race marshals can only do so much – and I saw very few police marshalling this section of the course. After that last climb in Pook Lane, I knew it was downhill all the way. I felt tired and I knew I had exceeded my expectations, but I also knew I had gone out a little too fast and wanted to ensure I had enough for a fast finish. I wanted a sub 7min last mile to prove to myself I could do negative splits in a race as well as training. I ran that last mile downhill in 6:58 pace so that was bloody great. I passed a couple of runners, but generally I had moved up to a point in the race where I was running with people of similar pace. I stayed with a runner from Hastings Joggers for the last mile or so, he was a lot older than me but obviously incredibly fit and muscle-toned. Seriously experienced. I took pleasure in passing him on my sprint home! As a runner who is not attached to a running club, I always take a tiny bit of pleasure in passing club runners – a bit daft but to me at this stage of my running I know, maybe a bit presumptious too but it’s almost like some people join a running club just so they can call themselves “runners”. Plus I’m an anti-social bastard and I have no intention of joining a club! I only have to prove anything to one person and that’s myself! The last 0.21-mile weaved a little into the car park of the Festival Theatre again, over some humped roads which I thought was a poor choice but didn’t really bother me. My complete focus was the finish line, and NOT to slow down when I saw it! I kept an eye out for my missus and the kids, I knew she would be sneaking somewhere with the camera! I couldn’t see them though, but I knew they would be taking a photo somewhere so I tried to concentrate on looking strong rather than slumping across the finish line puking as I almost felt! (as it turns out the photo came out good! And I didn't puke!) Not loads of support from the crowds at the finish line, I guess the residents of Chichester are a little too conservative in more ways than one! I felt a little stiff afterwards in my quads, but that soon passed with some light stretching and a walk back to the car. I’m not used to running any hills! Despite the fact that I thought I hadn’t stuck to my race strategy, with hindsight I stuck to it better than I thought if you take into account the inclines (which I hadn’t when creating the plan). This was more to chance maybe because I gained some time where I had gone out faster from the start. What it does suggest to me, is that for future races some experience of a hillier course may give me an idea how much I could be slowed down by multiple inclines, and adjust my race plan accordingly. I did achieve negative splits, with running this course faster in the first half than the second half – but I still feel I should have stuck to my plan a little better – who knows maybe I would have finished the last few miles even stronger and achieved a faster time? My final garmin time was 45:04 - which absolutely thrashes 3 minutes off my previous PR, set only approx 6 weeks ago! here's a pic as i finished (#574), and that chap from Hastings Joggers just behind in the black and green trim:

    Now that was a bath...

      Hey, We were separated at birth. That was sort of like being in my head for a while, lol. Great report. I too run on anger sometimes, sometimes I run for my whole darn past - whatever get's you to the end of the run. You were right not to stop when the 'accident' happened behind you too as someone else already had, although I imagine that this sort of thing plays with your head a bit. At the begining of my Waiheke race they told us to stop and help any runner's in need and my evil mind was saying 'Maybe - probably not though' isn't that terrible! Of course at the end of the race I saw an old guy finishing with a bloody and bandaged head and hand (he fell and broke his nose) and I reconsidered thinking 'I would have stopped for him' - so I'm not ALL bad Smile A huge pat on the back for breaking your PR and for getting in that negative split in at the end and passing the club runner! Lot's of good reasons to raise a pint. A great read. Claire xxx
    • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
    • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.

        A great read.
        Cheers Claire, I think you raised the bar for race reports though! Wink Cheers D

          Davey, that was a wonderful race report! Thanks for all the details. Taking 3 minutes off your previous PR just 6 weeks ago is an amazing feat! The picture is great too. You looked focused but relaxed at the same time. The other runners look like they're struggling compared to you. Congratulations on a fine race! ~ Arlene
            great race report! WTG on the PR! and you look like you finished strong. Cool
            Jennifer mm#1231

            Princess Cancer Pants

              Wow, 3 minutes off--that is truly a feat! Good work and great report! Big grin k

              '17 Goals:

              • Chemo

              • Chemo-Radiation

              • Surgery

              • Return to kicking my own ass by 2018


              She was not strong. She was valiant. Radiant. Brave and broken. The beauty she discovered in the aftermath was unparalleled to anything she had known before, because it had come at such a cost.

              ~ Unknown