Oh so close. 2019 has started well.
Putting together some reasonable training through to Christmas things started to pick up from the new year with some more focussed sessions. Despite the frustrating run at Telford I knew fitness was coming & I was rounding into some good shape. We’d put the Speedway 10K in Chepstow down as an early marker & a bit of a rust-buster!
Mid-January, potential snow/ice, almost guaranteed cold temperatures & only a couple of weeks to shed any Christmas/New Year excesses.
Still in its infancy, James & his team at Chepstow Harriers have worked hard on putting together strong fields for some pure fast racing. With 6 sub 30 men entered, many more sub 31 & some quality women there was definitely a sense of anticipation in the days leading up to the race & although cold on the day there was little wind so fast times expected.
The plan… was to build into the race, ticking off the first mile or so to get the heart rate up & look to chip away a few seconds a mile from that. Although there was reasonable depth as soon as we took the first left turn after ~500m onto the main loop I could sense there was an early decision to make – work to remain in the lead pack (other than the young Eritrean who had already taken off up the road & would go on to win in a rapid 29:17!) or back off & see who was left in a second group. Given how I felt & that we’d driven 150 miles to race I went with the first group!
Pace/effort felt good through the first couple of miles, or at least as ‘good’ as 10K PB pace can feel… A bad patch from 5K – 7K where the limp left hamstring briefly hampered progress saw me drop off the pace slightly & a gap open. Fortunately as now seems to be the case I was able to get everything firing again after a mile & was able to knuckle down & focus again on those in front rather than who was chasing behind!
I really felt like I was back running well from 7K & although any thoughts of catching the guys in front would have been far fetched they were just close enough for it to feel like I was still racing rather than time-trialling to the finish.
Oblivious to time I knew that if I could stay within striking distance of them I was on for a reasonable clocking to start the year. A few welcome shouts of support on the course, including Jo who popped up several times & Dave Newport strategically placed helped & there was a good crowd formed at the junction where we turned back to the VERY long finish straight.
The clock was out of sight until the finish line so I had a nice surprise to see 30:15 as I crossed the line for 6th! A 19 second PB. There’s another good chunk to come off that with a block of specific 10K work.
This is a quality race that I really hope continues to improve & get support from those people looking to run FAST (full results). Cheap entry, no medal, no t-shirt, no rubbish goodie-bag, no nonsense. A good loop course, spectator friendly, good spot on the calendar, well organised & cash prizes (although expect you’ll need to be inside 30 minutes if you’re a man racing & wanting to take home some money next year!). Now if only they’d put on a summer version for those of us who race better when the temperature is above 10c.
Next stop Alsagar 5 on the 3rd before a block of training back in Spain at Casa Correra.