Chippenham 5K River Run 2014. Data wrangling.

It had been another beautiful day, and the weather was just perfect for racing in the evening. After last week’s 10K disappointment I felt like everything was riding on tonight’s 5K. No pressure then.

I wrote last year’s time and pace onto my hand, put my running kit on, cooked dinner for my children, raced around looking for car parking money and shot out of the door with about 45 minutes before the start time. Fortunately I don’t live far from Chippenham, and even more fortunately as I crawled around the packed car park I managed to nab a space. I bumped into a good friend at the start, so was feeling in high spirits.

The Start

From the off all went well. I survived the usual crush at the start, I kept an eye on my pace to keep it close to last year’s. I overtook when I could (not easy on this course) and tried not to hold anyone up when I could hear them coming up behind me. I crossed the line and my Garmin said 26:47. Checking my smudged hand, last years time was 26:46 – so close! I was aware that in non-chip timed races it’s vitally important to keep in the same order in the finish ‘funnel’ as you crossed the line in. Just after I’d crossed the line, two guys were racing hard over the line, and shot past me. I got one of them to move behind me in the funnel but I wasn’t 100% certain that the other chap had crossed after me so I left him where he was.

Provisional results were out the next day, and gave me a time of 26:49 – 3 seconds slower than last year. I was a little disappointed, but to be honest I still felt very happy with my race as I’d run the best I could on the night. To be that close to last year’s time (when I had trained really well for it) was actually pretty amazing. Looking closely at the time of the chap recorded as finishing in front of me (in case he had ‘pinched’ my place) then my time would have been 26:48 – shaving a whole extra second off. 

I uploaded my data to Strava and was pleased to see some good results on segments on the route. Various friends gave me kudos and one (who had also run this race last year and this) made a very interesting observation. He pointed out that the course we ran this year was actually slightly longer than last year. On coming off the riverside path last year we cut straight up onto the road whereas this year we ran a little longer by the river before angling up to the road. For last year’s race my Garmin recorded 3.09 miles, whereas this year’s was 3:11. Now, here comes the data wrangling bit! If I look at this year’s data and stop it at 3:09 miles, it gives me a time of 26:40  Woot woot!!

Anyway, even without funnel line pushers-in, and slightly longer routes, I am very pleased with this year’s time. Even with my data wrangling I can’t really claim it as a new PB but I am still very pleased with my time and not at all disappointed.

I received proof positive that I’d worked really hard in the race when I returned home. My teenaged daughter proclaimed that I ‘stank’ and I was leaving a ‘trail of stink’ as I walked around the house. Lovely!

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