I’m back, Back in the saddle again
There are not many 6 mile races around and with one coinciding with a recent period of good speed, I decide to make another exception to the current ‘slow’ running period to have a pop at a PB.
Based on recent runs, predictions were coming up with estimates between low 39’s and 40 mins. As my previous course best in 2008 was 41:02 and my 6m PB was 40:02, this suggested that an attempt at just under 40 was achievable, and I would have the consolation prize of a course best if I just missed out.
A lot depends on conditions on the night and they weren’t brilliant, bit too humid and a breezy evening with threatening showers. Arrived nice and early for a couple of easy warm up runs 2km and then another slower 1.2km.
After a final trip to the loo, went into another final 15 minute warmup with a bit of stretching alternating with a few fast efforts, but tendon wasn’t happy so slightly curtailed final preparation. A heavy shower interfered a little too as I didn’t want to get too wet beforehand on a cool evening.
Positioned myself a little further forward than usual due to an early bottleneck with the additional challenge of avoiding some bollards but still held up by slow runners ahead. Took my time to work around them, unlike some crazies swerving all over the place and making a nuisance of themselves for the sake of gaining a couple of seconds before fading back after a few hundred metres later. Pointless.
Settled into a satisfactory pace once out onto the wider road easing my past the too fast starters. Put in a short burst to close a gap ahead as the field split ahead of me. I needed to average 4:07 km’s to hit PB target, but due to the hilly course this probably meant going at the flatter sections around 4:00mins, the downhills a bit quicker and hoping that the uphills would balance out.
A short rise past the bottom of Greenhill station road sorted out the wheat from the chaff and I settled into a nice pace along the flat – had Alison from Belle Vue just ahead, so knew was somewhere around right pace.
I had planned to stay behind her until at least the top of the hill but was feeling strong and comfortable so pushed on a little to close in on Moh, who seemed to be struggling up the hill (it later turned out he was taking it easy for a race the next night) and gain a few more places.
Onto the downhill-ish back of the course and I was really enjoying myself, going through 2 miles in 12:45 – 38:15 pace – maybe a bit quicker than expected but still feeling fairly comfortable. Breathing had been tight but with higher than normal pace not unexpected.
Was slightly concerned that pace was too much, best prediction had been low 39’s so I was 30 secs a mile ahead of best pace. With the dreaded section after the tight turn at the PUB to come, when I always seem to struggle I eased off slightly to save a bit.
Managed to keep going up without too much issue and latched onto Ian from Rochdale, usually further ahead but after a brief spell soon managed to get recovery in. Tracked him round to the uphill, expecting to see him go away but managed to stay with him to the top briefly passing him as I got legs going quickly again. He soon came past but this was great fun, and the pleasure of having a ‘better than best’ run kept the negative chatter down.
It was then a battle down to the bottom corner with a couple of others and could feel tiredness in legs but still felt strong. Faded back a bit after the turn but then closed in on the three ahead again going to final corner.
I knew at this point I could walk to the finish and still get a PB, so pressure was off and I could enjoy the run in. I knew I would have no sprint and wasn’t bothered about placing, so concentrated on keeping a sub 4 min pace going to the line for 38:39. PB well and truly smashed! GPS.
[Still no official results online yet… ] – Partial
Saturday was a chance for my first real run around Watergrove parkrun, thankfully all the volunteers turned up so I could run but my legs didn’t, so I decided on a comfortable effort. Ran a nice even pace but just upped it a little towards second turn around and down the cobbles, before easing round to the line for 22:16. GPS.
Sunday I went for a slow plod around part of next Friday’s Shore Road Race route and tagged a Littleborough 5k onto the end, in readiness for the Lions 5k next week. Considered running home but energy still not returned, so didn’t push it! GPS.