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Mut und Kraft
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Usually in the week after the 3 day event I try to take it easy but a visit to Liverpool on Friday, meant the chance of trying out a Sale Sizzler 5k on the way. To tempt me further, the forecast was for nice hot temperatures and relatively low humidity.

With that in mind I tested my legs out with a gentle 5k jog on Tuesday and then targeted a 22 minute effort at the Ian Terry 5k on Wednesday. After an easy start, I tagged onto an overtaker in the 2nd km and ended going through a bit quicker than planned, so switched target to 21 mins.

Steadily moved on through the field to cross line in 20:49, a little quick, but told me enough that I’d be fit for a Sizzler.

Splits: 4:56 > 4:15 > 4:12 > 3:59 > 3:27

sale 5k  traceArrived nice and early on Thursday at Wythenshaw Park which gave time for a full recce of the route, with a decent warm up totalling over 5km, in temps around 77′. I was surprised to find for a course that attracts a lot of fast times that there were a few narrow paths and 90’ corners, plus a bit of loose gravel and even a muddy puddle. Obviously it was more the flatness and volume of competition that lead to the reputation.

It usually gets over 400 runners, so with the first 500m on the track it was important to get a good start position. Got myself in lane 2 behind a few speedy looking types, but failed to spot the much slower ones in front. Completely boxed in at down to below 6 min/km pace I felt like I’d lost a lot of time and a couple of hundred places in first 200m, adding to the few seconds it took to cross the line. Not a good start but had set myself an achievable 19:59 target so wasn’t too worried as I wriggled out to lane 6 and a bit of clear air, put in a manic burst down the back straight to gain 100+ places and then settled round bend.

Looked at watch to check how opening 400m had gone to discover I’d failed to start, started it and tried to guess how much I need to add but it was a bit crowded again heading off the track and down a gravel path and then a woodland path. Pace slowed but didn’t panic and patiently worked my way onwards.

Onto a wider road at 1km and thought congestion was done with but the exit from the park was a bit crowded and I ended up boxed in behind some slowing runners, took a few seconds to free myself again, and another manic burst along the grass to clear a crowd of runners.

Finally could settle down and concentrated on keeping pace just under 4 min/km’s. Effort got back down to fairly comfortable so went back to trying to guess missing time, finally deciding to allow 2 minutes.

Being the far side of Manchester there were not many familiar runners amongst the 438 runners that I could judge pace against but after 3km spotted a Stockport woman ahead whom I’d matched at Oldham 7km, so knew I must be round about right pace.

Found the last km tougher to maintain with a little tiredness creeping into legs, especially through the narrower section, then put final effort in with 200m to go. Quick results meant that by the time I got to Liverpool, target was confirmed as achieved with a 19:47.

At that pace, the first 400m should have been an even 1:35, I actually did 1:41 thanks to manic back straight dash recovering nearly all the lost time! Next time will make sure I get a more appropriate start position and press the button properly. Maybe wrong timing this year, but possibly a good course for a PB attempt next year.

Splits were 4:10 > 4:02 > 3:56 > 3:55 > 3:46

It occurred to me as I continued my journey that coincidently the only other time I had raced in Wythenshaw Park, was a cross country race 25 years ago ( I’m not really that old, I was probably only about two at the time!) when I was also on my way to Liverpool.

On that occasion I managed to suffer a small fracture in my foot and picked up a gorgeous blonde runnergirl, then started smoking whilst injured and didn’t run for years… happily/sadly/ happily history didn’t repeat itself this time!

 

Another lovely inaugural parkrun on Saturday at Oakwell Hall – although was nearly foiled by a nutter running amok with a digger at Tod tip, closing the road seconds ahead of us. It was close but a quick u-turn and we ploughed through the motorway spray to arrive just in time.

A nice trail course with a bit of up and down well worth a return visit at some point. After waking for a great thunderstorm at 4am was feeling a bit tired so took it fairly steady and upped effort a little towards end for 22:45. I even managed to do a bit of ad-hoc volunteering when I spotted the rain was playing havoc with the scanning and the queue was backing up – writing on wet paper being a challenging role!

Oakwell trace.

Ditched planned race on Sunday again for a steadier 14.7 km run.

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