The main concern through the week was whether or not we would be able to travel to Alsager at all on Sunday given the uncertainty regarding potential snow. Fortunately – or not – through the week it was clear we should be fine to get there. Just what conditions would be like was another matter.
The Alsager 5 always attracts a quality field & coming off my 10K PB at Speedway the plan was to get stuck in right at the front of affairs from the start. There was no doubt it would get out at a decent pace & the combination of a slight downhill start & several very enthusiastic racers ensured we were clipping along nicely by the turn onto the main road. Matt Clowes (<1:50 800m to 63min HM) kept things going, moving straight to the front & after a mile it was just Matt, myself & Kev Seaward (Rio Olympics, 4th Commonwealth Games marathon etc) with a gap on the next group.
Through two miles we were still together & I was just about hanging onto the back of them at three miles. I felt the couple of weeks training put me in with a good chance of holding on to Matt after he put ~30 seconds into me a couple of weeks before, but I couldn’t quite stick at it through the next couple of miles as I got cast adrift & hit the icy breeze.
I was fairly sure that I was only in a race to stay within striking distance if either of the front two fell away (unlikely!) rather than worrying about anybody from behind. The fourth mile was a real struggle with a combination of the cold breeze, the main twists of the course & now running alone meaning maintaining pace was tough!
I was still only ~100m back though & it was therefore easy enough to remain focussed on the slim chance of gaining ground in the final mile. As it was with a very tight tussle for the win unfolding the pace in front never dropped & I was just running for time.
I was just about to catch a glimpse of Matt narrowly taking the win from Kev with both of them given the same time of 24:16 as I crossed the line (after nearly 5.1 miles!) in 24:30. Had it not been for those two in front the time would have been hugely disappointing given we went through 5 miles two weeks earlier 30 seconds faster than that!
Still a second big PB in the space of two weeks, significantly closer to Matt & a place on the podium at Alsager – a decent morning’s work in brutally cold conditions.
I could not be happier to be going for a few days training in the Spanish sun just as things have turned nasty here! I’m in a great place off only a few weeks full training so the aim now is to keep the consistency, drop the last couple of kilos & bring in some slightly tougher work through to Reading Half on the 17th March to be ready to run inside 65 minutes which will naturally lead to the 29 minute 10K. I should also have a bit of a tan for the celebratory photos, & will work on the hair!