Stick with a feeling?

I’ve heard many folk recently discuss the various GPS watch settings that seek to support improved performance: for example, training (or pace) partners and PB pacing. As a fellrunner, split times are largely incongruous; GPS data can however be useful in terms of tracking the distance covered or more importantly questioning why you’ve not yet reached a reported checkpoint.

I prefer to start the watch and then do all analysis later, while legs ache, and with a brew in hand. Beides, it’s much easier to thoughtfully, stroke the beard, while considering where it all went wrong.

Last weekend I reverted back to road running after gaining a late number transfer: the Snake Lane 10 is touted as a guaranteed PB course, set amidst lovely countryside, starting and finishing in Pocklington, near York. This was not likely the case on two counts: first, social media anecdotes suggested there were at least three hills to tackle; second, I was in the throngs of a mystery virus, including symptoms such as high temperature, headaches, fever and aching limbs.

I decided to race and ignore expectations; to just run on how I feel and stick with it.

The early miles were easy. My body warmed by mile 3 and sweat dripped from my forehead on the incline rise into Bishop Wilton. Familiar shapes and shuffles appeared in sight which spurred me on. Others, who’d been nearby early on were now fading out of sight. I recognised at mile 5 that the wind had been largely behind and although I’d run the first half in approximately 35minutes, the second half would largely be into the headwind.

Still, I sipped some water at the drink station and felt ok; no coughing, light-headedness or feeling faint. The expected headwind soon pierced the exposed country lane. I hadn’t really anticipated the air temperature being so cold, though – I’ll put that down to the illness. Indeed, runners from all clubs started to draft others before the left hand turn, and the main road back to the finish. A few short inclines – one up to Yapham Hill – broke the monotony of the final few miles and, before I knew it, I’d reached Pocklington.

Just after the prior-noted fuel station I tried to kick but there wasn’t much to give. A Kirkstall Harrier soon went whizzing past so I just tried to stay with him over the final 150metres to the finish. Muffled audio commentary drifted in the blustery conditions and the inflatable finish gantry buffeted side to side. On the other side of the finish line I too felt a bit wobbly. A hand-fired mug, chocolate and water were handed out; the 7minute PB was hard earned, though. That said, all I did was just to run on how I felt. I wonder what could’ve been possible without the lurgy?

That was Sunday; this is Wednesday. And I’m only now feeling like normal again: Maybe best not to run on feeling and sometimes over-ride the irresponsible runner function.

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