Wednesday saw the Keswick AC promoted Newlands Valley Round. A 6.8 mile road race from Kewick school including the hills over by the Swinside Inn and from Stair village up to the Newlands Pass road before a descent then flattish finish back through Portinscale to return to the school.
Following my disappointing performance at last weeks Moffat race when I didn't think I ran hard enough throughout, I was determined to 'race' this race from start to finish.
Setting off in the first half dozen but immediately letting the two leaders pull away (I knew them both well and knew they were A LOT faster runners than me), I was pleased to get to the first decent uphill as the gradient was enough to get my heartrate up to what I would call 'racing effort' of 170+ BPM (beats per minute).
Hills used to be where I would pull away from those around me but these days it seems to be the opposite and I often struggle to stay with lads I am comfortable with on the flat. I know I am heavier than I was say two years ago. I also know it is inevitable that we all gain weight as we age but I am determined to get back below 11 stone. Hopefully this small loss will not be accompanied by a loss in power and I will once again be a decent climber.
Anyway, back to the race......
After about 2miles I was in 7th place along with another lad who was constantly on my shoulder. A quick glance behind on the corners and turns told me that not far behind was a group of 4 lads I knew well and who I knew would love to beat me. I constantly checked my pulse to ensure I was on the effort. Uphills and flats were OK but the downhills were hard to stop pulse slipping under 170. Although my Garmin was also displaying pace I never looked at that once. The only important thing was running hard- whatever pace that turned out to be.
Nearing the end I allowed my companion to gain a few metres. I should have maybe tried to pull him back and beat him but I knew I wasnt going to be caught as the group behind had splintered. So rather than run myself ragged and collapse over the line in exhaustion I ran the final 5minutes or so with the same effort as the previous 35 and finished comfortably, 8th overall, 1st Veteran 40.
Once home and downloaded the stats show an average heartrate of 170, max of 175. I would like to think i could run a flat 10k at slightly higher HR, perhaps 172/174. 10k coming up in the first week of September so we shall see then.