5 miles – Overton and Victory

Passing Max in Overton (thanks to Max S. for the photos and the cheers)

I’ve been feeling a bit tired recently, so I decided not to do parkrun before Overton this year. In 2011, I did parkrun in the morning and got a PB before doing Overton in the afternoon. It was also kind of a PB as it was my first ever 5-mile race. Overton is an unusual race in that it is usually run in alternate directions each year. In 2011, it was run clockwise, which entailed a long slow uphill drag and a short sharp downhill. I completed the race in 45:57 in 2011.

In 2012, I was feeling strong and thought that I should easily be able to get a PB. The course was running in an anti-clockwise direction, which I thought would be easier. I was soooo wrong. I ran the best I could and battled a few LRRs in the closing km, but was really disappointed that I was unable to achieve a PB, finishing in a time of 46:12. A fortnight after that disappointment, I did Victory 5 mile and amazed myself by smashing my PB and finishing in 43:21.

Overton 2013 race number
My Overton 2013 race number

This year, Overton was also run in an anticlockwise direction. My heart sank when I learned that as I’m not running well at the moment. It’s really depressing to realise that I’m running at a lower level than two years ago when I was a novice runner. I decided that although I had calculated the paces I would need to run to achieve a PB and also to beat my Overton time (yes, I’m that geeky!) I was aware that PB pace is currently well out of reach, as I can’t do that pace for a 5k, so I thought I would start out steady and see how it went.

The start of Overton 5, courtesy of Max Satterly
The start of Overton 5, courtesy of Max Satterly

Within a couple of minutes, I all of the LRRs had passed me, which was a little disappointing. We need 3 ladies to complete a team, and ideally nine ladies for three full teams. I was the 4th female from LRR 🙁

I battled up the first hill and noticed a lady in a yellow Adidas vest. As I passed her, she spoke to me and I realised that it was Caroline from Alton Runners. Last year, we were closely matched in most HRRL races. I expected Caroline to catch up with me again soon but was surprised to find that didn’t happen.

On the downhill, I started overtaking people, which felt good. I LOVE running downhill! Towards the bottom, my shoelace came undone – DRAT!!! I did it up and ran on, buoyed by the cheers from some LRR supporters.

Passing Max in Overton (thanks to Max S. for the photos and the cheers)
Passing Max in Overton (thanks to Max S. for the photos and the cheers)

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I was soon back at the start for the second lap and was feeling surprisingly good. I knew there was a small hill before the steep hill…

The second lap at Overton 5
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I decided to look at my watch and could see that I had slowed, so I needed to try to pick up the pace. I pushed on and kept fighting up the hill. Other club runners were on the hill, so I aimed to pick them off. I battled up the hill and was pleased to pass a lady from Stubbington. I ran on and then disaster struck. My shoelace came undone again. I tied it as quickly as possible and then sprinted to pass the other runners again.

Soon I was at the top of the hill. I know that I can run downhill faster than many other runners who are my pace. This was my chance to increase my lead. I kept pushing and was delighted that Stu was still on the course watching me. I could hear spectators cheering on the runner from Stubbington, but I didn’t dare to look around.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. I made a frantic sprint for the line… and managed to finish ahead of the lady from Stubbington. It was not a PB, but it was my second fastest 5-mile race, and an improvement on last year – 45:33. I also received a spot prize – thank you, Alton Sports!

Overton 5 mile spot prize
Overton 5 mile spot prize
HRRL club trophies at Overton 5
HRRL club trophies at Overton 5

After the race, there was a presentation of HRRL trophies and mugs for the 2012/13 season. There were two trophies for the women’s teams, and quite a few mugs, including one for me. Will I do enough to get one this year? I honestly don’t know. Last year, I did all 12 races, but I already know I won’t do Lordshill 10 mile (I’m not fast enough to make the team, and I’ll be away) or Solent half (I’ve opted to do a triathlon instead). I want running to feel fun again, and I also want to race properly… Selecting the events I want to do and training specifically for them. I’m currently in the lead for the club participation award, but am not sure I can maintain that until the end of December. It will be the last time I go for it.

My HRRL mug (and Stu's)
My HRRL mug (and Stu’s)

After my surprisingly good result at Overton, I was feeling optimistic. However, having run 14 miles on Thursday, cycled 50 miles on Friday and spent all day in London on Saturday, I was not at my best. I wanted to do well and kept telling myself that it was a flat course, but from the moment I started, I felt exhausted. I’ve never quit in a race, but, within the first kilometre, I wanted to walk 🙁

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On my way out at Victory 5
On my way out at Victory 5 – photos courtesy of Paul Hammond

I carried on and started to feel better. The course headed out in a loop that went through a car park, in an area where a cycling event had taken place earlier. They had kept up their start/finish gantry and the cycling marshals clapped and cheered for us. The music also helped me to feel better. I continued running and finally saw my nemesis, Caroline. I managed to pass her on a slight incline and kept going.

Finally, I was passing Paul Hammond again and I knew it wouldn’t take to long before I was back at the start/finish.

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Thanks to Paul Hammond for capturing the pain of the race and my relief at nearing the end!
Thanks to Paul Hammond for capturing the pain of the race and my relief at nearing the end!

I kept looking out for Stu and finally saw him on the path near to the entrance to the track. He clapped and cheered and jogged along for a little bit with me.
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It wasn’t long before I was back at the track, although my heart sank when I remembered that I needed to do an entire lap and a bit before I would get to the finish. I started pushing as hard as I could and managed to overtake a few people in the finishing straight 🙂
Track finish at Victory 5

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Despite my poor start, I completed the race in 45:16, which is now my second fastest 5-mile time.

Victory 5 race number
Victory 5 race number

(Thanks to Lawrence Chen, Paul Hammond, Jules & Sue Porter and Max Satterly for the photos).

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