I woke up with my left eyelid welded shut - seems I may have some conjunctivitis, probably brought on by the new contact lenses...
I did some kid stuff in the morning, then spent the rest of the afternoon with the rellies. Then into the city at around 3:45pm to pick up my race pack. The temperatures were scorching hot - close to 30 degrees and after a quick chat with the race director who described the course to me, I had just about lost the will to live as it wasn't the pancake flat course I had hoped for...definitely not course and conditions for a PB. Paul Evans who holds the course record of 14:11 says he was in low 13 minute shape when he ran that time so that gives you an idea of the course...
For anyone who knows Norwich city centre the route itself was a 2 and a bit lapper. From the lowest point of the course down at the mini-roundabout outside the Maids Head Hotel there are 3 drags - up through Tombland, then another climb up onto Castle Meadow, then a long drag up St Stephens to the roundabout at the top. And being 2 laps you have the joy of experiencing these tough sections twice.
I walked the course as a sort of warm-up and had already worked up a good sweat. Then a quick change into race gear and about a 1km warm-up and it was time to start the race. Just over 100 people on the start line and with thousands of people lining the streets to watch the procession which immediately followed the race, it promised to be a unique experience.
Off and racing and I settled into my running. The first section had us running downhill through Tombland, then around the hairpin roundabout and the start of the 3 hills that I described. I was running solo with a few groups up front to chase. I wasn't paying any attention to the watch and by the time I had reached the top of the course on the first lap (approx 1.5km), I was already starting to struggle and the likes of Gemma Steel and another CoNAC runner were a good 20 to 30 metres in front of me.
The downhill sections were great, but I didn't have the energy to attack them and whilst the pace picked up, relative to the field I was simply maintaining my position. Back through Tombland for the second time and with a few cheers from some mates I really tried to attack on the second set of climbs. I was certainly closing on Gemma and by the time we reached the bottom of St Stephens I had caught her and cruised past. Then I caught the guy wearing the CoNAC vest and by the time I reached the top of the course at 4km, I pushed as hard as I could for the last downhill km. I think I overtook another couple of runners in this section, and at the same time one guy sped past me. I crossed the line with a time of 16:04 for 10th position (first V40).
Not the time I was after but I have to say I was pretty happy with the run. I took over 20 seconds out of Gemma in the last 1.5kms and certainly felt strong at the end. Nice to finish a race overtaking people and with the huge crowd support on the course it was a good day.
After the race I jogged straight back to where we were staying for a shower and change. Then out for some fun and merriment. Very enjoyable. A total of 9.7kms for the day and lots of beers...
Here are the splits:
4km 6:44 (I missed the 3km marker)
Total 16:04 (7:59 first half, 8:05 second half)
Here are some photos courtesy of one of the CoNAC photographers (thanks Granville). The first one is just before passing Gemma. I don't recall the other two!