Yesterday saw me take part in my third race in four weekends – four out of four if you count last week’s parkrun – the third running of the Durrell Challenge, a 13k road race from town up to Jersey Zoo (or whatever they’re calling it these days).
I’ve always been keen to support this event because as a family we’ve always enjoyed the zoo having once been members and this seemed like a fun way to combine that with our sport / hobby of choice.
The course was the same it has always been – an initial mile or so from the park start through town towards a long uphill drag for 5k or so, followed by rolling terrain for pretty much the rest of the run. There are also two particularly steep hills to interrupt the rhythm and just generally make participants suffer.
And this year I certainly suffered. I set out with a fast pace on the flat and also on the steady hills, but the bigger hills totally wore me down. I simply haven’t done enough hill work this year, having focused (rightly) on my half marathon endurance up until the Fleet Half of a couple of weeks ago. I just blew myself out on the steeper hills and needed to walk up a couple of them. I also misjudged my pace on the last proper hill essentially kicking on too far before the finish – the opposite of the mistake I made in Fleet I guess – so I finished a bit slower than last year’s corresponding run but a lot more stressed with a heart rate of a silly 196bpm near the finish.
In the final results, I was 1:10 outside of my time of last year and on one level I was disappointed that I didn’t improve but I also looked at how my race compared with last year and the trace shows that I was quicker more or less everywhere apart from the hills where I walked so there’s lots of positives for the future.
One thing I do still enjoy about the event though is having the opportunity to race against Superman (or Henry Cavill as the official results insist on calling him). Like me, he’s taken part in all three Challenges so far. I’m 2-1 up now 😉
The odd thing now coming out of the Durrell is that for possibly the first time since 2015 I’ve got no races firmly planned whatsoever. I have some ideas but there’s not actually anything in the running diary. I think I’m just going to enjoy the unfocused running for a little while at least.