By Paul Lacey
Ruin or Redemption…
So it was on. Father vs Son. The Kingston 20 miler. We both knew going into the race that our training had been similar (until recently, not nearly enough of it). We both knew our target pace was the same – sub 7 min/mile. We both knew each other’s strengths: my speed vs his endurance. Nervous on the start line, we hugged with the appropriate manly pats on the back and wished each other all the best, knowing that we were about to push each other to our limits.
The gun fired. Somehow in the blink of an eye he had put 20 meters into me. Wow this was an aggressive start! If your strengths in a race are more suited to endurance over speed, this is tactic to race. Start hard, and keep the pace uncomfortably high for the duration to kill the speed in the faster guy’s legs. Conversely, my plan was a slower start then wind up the pace, and utilise my speed in the last few miles to kick past him.
This was how the race unfolded for the first ten miles; I kept discipline and held back, watching my dad in the distance. My dad kept up a strong pace. At 10 I decided to close the gap and see if he was weakening. In between 12 and 13 I pulled alongside and I could see he was struggling. I took my chance and kicked. For the next 8 miles I wound up the pace. Far from struggling from the early kick I finished the race faster and feeling stronger than I’d anticipated. The training had paid off. I had paced it perfectly, ran my race and won. Redemption.
I finished the race with mixed feelings. I was over the moon at my performance, giving me real confidence for the UGM. But I was also disappointed for my dad. I could see, despite the still impressive time, that the race had gone badly for him and I knew that deflated feeing oh so well. There was nothing to say apart from “that’s one-one; you’ll be back”. But this for me is the cold austere beauty of endurance running. It is the most brutally honest of all sports. There is nowhere to hide. There is no team to help you. It doesn’t care about your feelings. It is just you – you against your fellow competitor, but most of all against yourself. And it’s during those moments when your body is screaming at you, your energy levels are rock bottom, your legs are shaky and you can barely see straight, that you really learn what you’re made of and who you are. And that’s why I know he will be back…
Plan this week (Week 3):
This week, after the rather epic 20, the intensity will be lowered for the first couple of days, but the intention is to keep the mileage up throughout. No slacking Lacey!! On Wednesday I will be doing a rather special circuit/sprint/leg destroying session with quite an incredible group of people at Project Awesome – I will tell all next week!!
A little surprise…
As promised I have a little surprise for you guys. My long run next Sunday won’t be from in the UK, I’m off to sunnier climes to train. Not only sunnier, but also much hillier… I’m only off to Uganda for a week!!! A week of heat, hills, dusty trails and altitude – perfection. Whilst there I will be seeing all the incredible work the team is doing in Masaka and I’ve been promised a sneak preview of the course (as well as a hill interval session that will apparently make me weep!). I cannot wait to test out running East African style and get back to you with a teaser of what is to come at the UGM.
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