Ferriby 10 mile – 30th January 2022
Two race Stories: work in progress and a cautionary tale!
It’s 4.50 am on a cold, dark January morning, my alarm has just gone off, I’m out of bed and a bit over an hour later am setting off to meet Mike Hall. We head off in the pitch dark down the M62 to Hull. It’s 13 years since Mike last ran the Ferriby 10 – I have run it at least 7 times, mainly in the last 15 years. It’s day light by the time we pull into Cottingham High School, and go for a cold search for the loos. This is usually not a problem at race HQ based at a school but this year they short supply. After a 20 minute chilly wait for our relief, we set off to jog slowly up to the start of the race – about a mile away. It is a bright sunny, but very cold day, with no wind. Ideal racing conditions.
I miss Mike at the start as he had lined up again to pay a call of nature at the loos at the start by Skidby Mill. The picture above highlights the mill beautifully. We are the only 2 Harriers at today’s race, but it is was a sell out race from about 3 days after it opened back in October last year. So wearing both gloves and woolly hats we await the starting gun. We are off bang on 9 am. My race story is straight forward, I am not back to full fitness yet so I target a 9 minute a mile average pace. Roughly speaking the course is about 4.5 miles gentle up half a mile of flat, 4.5 miles of gentle down and half a mill of steeper hill to the finish.
So for the first 5 miles I am averaging around 9.16 so it feels OK. I arrive at 5 miles about 1 minute 30 seconds slower than 45 minutes, that’s OK but I need to make the time up on the second half. I do manage to go quicker in the next 5 miles but can only average an 8 minute 45 second pace on the second half mainly downhill. So I am consistent, but not fully fit yet. Nice negative splits. In 2019 I got round at 7 minute 58 seconds pace and even more impressively in 2008 at a 7 minute 40 pace. Big flip was overtaking 5 people on the final hill up to the finish this year – it’s always a great feeling speeding to the finish. So a good day out but work in progress.
Mike has been getting fitter and fitter over the last months, and despite an injury was in fine form for today’s race. Everything went really well for him in the first 6 miles of race. His pace was good, he had kept a cracking pace on the outward hill part of the course, but at 7 miles he experienced the classic ‘hit the wall’ crisis, which every runner has suffered at some point. His energy levels collapsed in the way you would normally except on a marathon run at about 15-18 miles. For various reasons Mike has been trying for a few weeks a high fat/low carbohydrate regime in order to avoid having to use medication. He has had great success and has lost weight and reduced his blood sugar. That, unfortunately, was the rub. He had managed to so successfully reduce his blood sugar that he did not have enough readily available to provide the energy to run a full 10 mile race. Normally a diet with average carbohydrates gives you enough blood sugar to see you through a normal road race of up half marathon. Many is the time I have had a pasta dish on the eve of a race. Mike was caught with his body refusing to convert lipids from his fat stores quickly or efficiently enough to sustain his energy needs when his quick access easy to use blood sugar ran out. His strava records his calories as 1,514. Mike finished the race and commented on strava “ not my best – but more miles under my belt”. I would be a lot more positive. Firstly, an excellent 10k race. Secondly, he has found out the diet works but, thirdly, he must remember to preload carbohydrates the day before a race. I must also thank Mike for driving and providing such great company throughout the day.