Track racing

What a motley crew we are

Early doors
85 years old and running

There is a wealth of information about this race historically and present day on the :Les Croupiers running club web page, (click the title above to find out more). Basically, it's a race that has some longevity in that it's in its third decade and the race organiser Mick McGeoch is passionate about keeping the race and it's ethos moving forward year upon year. The race on the 11th March 2018 also incorporated the 29th Welsh Ultra distance Championship

Being my first track race, I was intrigued by the concept as well and looking forward to the learning experience. The race was entered in order to develop myself in my sport. How do you fair, running 161 laps of a 400m track? It's an individual experience that's for sure. You bring a lap counter who records your stats in terms of lap times (imagine that job) and the lap counters dutifully offer their support to the runners as they pass, lap after lap. 

I'll not give you a lap by lap run down, however and i'll not give excuses for my performance on this occasion, remember, 'excuses, your friends don't need them and your enemies won't believe them'. Nonetheless, it was a two sided race in all respects for me in that the first half went to plan, and then the wheels feel off. Although it was always expected given recent events with illness, it just wasn't anticipated to arrive so early into the run. In spite of efforts, over the years the numbers have been dwindling in the Barry 40 and in total there was only 11 of us entered the race, so it was always going to be a low key event, perfect as being the only female meant that I could concentrate on the experience rather than racing, which was ideal from a training perspective and will prove to be golden when I race in Romania in a couple of months time because I learnt so so much at Barry 40. There is a marathon distance race occurring concurrently which upped the numbers on the track a little. 

The weather is notoriously 'bad' when this race is staged apparently and it's safe to say, it didn't disappoint. Cold, damp, rain, and WINDY, (lets face it, you have the UK's seaside a gnats whisker away).

There are officials helping with the aid stations, including the all important food and drinks, which meant I could bark orders of opening this and preparing that. I got good at this, as I passed, 'can you get me a fruit bar, break a chunk off' next lap, right there in the hands of the catering god i was able to swipe it out of his grip and scoff my chunk of fruit bar all prepared, shouting thanks halfway across the other side of the track when I remembered. I adored this race for these kinds of reasons and I enjoyed every lap because it spite of seeming 'on paper' monotonous, each lap brought something else including, adversity, mood change, weather changes, traffic, pit stops, lapping, being lapped, name recalling, white line following, pace changing, i could write a 100 different things, some within my control and others not. I embraced it all in terms of learning. 
There was no race strategy other than to be consistent throughout. So half way in when the wheels fell of I was deeply disappointed that I wasn't going to have the planned run.  I disliked this race for this reason, the feeling helpless, no amount of willing myself to step it up again and get it back was ever going to work, I had to accept I was firing below par and had to work through the adversity and grind it out, focus and push to the end. I had two pit stops, both lasting just under 5 minutes which put way too much time into my race and again frustrating as I don't want to be having loo breaks in a short race like this. Nonetheless, it's all part of the learning and development and in training it's the following the process that matters not the end result. 

For those interested the stat are below and you'll observe the catastrophe, in the second half, but for now I've banked the experience.