Worstead 5 and The Sea Palling Reef Swim

Having just watched the Brownlee brothers rule the Olympic triathlon writing up The Worstead Festival and Sea Palling swim seems a little lame.  Still they might be the last races I take part in for a while so here they are.

The Worstead 5mile race kicks off the Worstead Festival each year and as always was well turned out and well supported. The 350 entrants included elite-triathlete Joe Skipper fresh from racing the pro circuit in Antwerp and my good mate Iain Robertson who was in his element. My main aim was to run as close to 29.30 as possible. I havn’t been running much at all outside races as a result of ongoing shin-splints, but I wanted to clock under 6min/miles as a minimum. Conditions were great and I found myself in the second small group heading out from the start. 5 runners stuck fairly close for the duration and brought us round to the 4 mile mark at 5.50min/mile pace. At this point the course kicks back uphill and nearly killed me when I first raced there a few years ago, with this in mind I consciously dug in and ended up clocking a 5.40 min last mile to squeeze into the top ten and record a PB over the course of 29.09 (5.48 min/mile average). Respectably only 90seconds behind Joe Skipper who finished 3rd a little way off the front two runners with Iain claiming the victory in a lightening 26.16, close to the times he was running in his younger days as Birchfield Harrier (if you hadn’t already guessed his return to form is something I’m hanging my hopes on as I move up the age groups!). A few real ales later and I’d temporarily forgotten the pain in my lower legs, unfortunately they’ve been reminding me constantly since then and I havn’t been able to run for a fortnight!

The lack of running has meant I’ve been able to clock up some long leisurely rides, which has been great now that the summer has finally arrived. My shin splints havn’t hindered swimming either, although without an obvious race focus I do find my swim training lapsing somewhat. With the reef swim on Sunday, I tried to get to the pool a couple of times a week just to maintain that “feel for the water”. As usual Active Outdoor Sport had put on another well organised event and through the success of previous years and a little promotion the start list had swelled to nearly 140 entrants. I met Olly Milk in the car park and a few other strong open water swimmers from Tri-Anglia including Gareth Walker who finished well the last couple of years and the old-hands (I’m sure they wont mind me saying that!) Matt Spillman and Mark Nowell who’d fought out a victory at the sea swim in Yarmouth a few months prior. But it wasn’t any of these guys who claimed the win in the end, that was decided between two Phelps-like lads who led from the start and finished in just over 19mins. I couldn’t keep with Olly at the outset and stuck as close as possible to the fourth swimmer, clawing my way onto his toes at the last buoy and overtaking just before the beach. I almost felt a little guilty, but we were only racing for 4th, finishing in 20.19 around 20seconds off Olly in 3rd and about the same distance ahead of Gareth in the next group back. The conditions had been perfect, with no more chop on the water than in a normal lake swim, and less liklehood of getting kidney failure from blue green algae!

So with no more races on the horizon I’m now training without any real direction, just waiting for the new arrival and the exhaustion it will bring! I suppose my aim is to stay as fit as possible for as long as possible so if I make it to any start lines come September I’ll have something to fall back on.  (Hopefully).