Posted: 18/01/2016 at 15:40
Good to see familiar faces and some less familiar silhouettes popping up. Glad injuries are subsiding and running is generally looking, at the very least, ok for most.
JT - Probably just some bloke's Downton Abbey collection disguised to hide his shame from the Mrs.
Fascinating half for me yesterday in the Helsby Four Villages. 1800 people were stupid enough to be arsing around in the freezing cold instead of at home gorging on sausage butties. Anyway, it was a race that made me reevaluate how I race.
Given my weird wibbly wobbly form of late, I opted to run at PB pace and assess as I go along, entirely unsure which version of me is in the running shoes today. It started well, albeit so cold that my feet were numb and it felt as if my legs were running on someone elses feet. Anyway, there were some gentle down slopes which made for a gain of some 30 seconds on my PB pace by mile 4 and some thoughts doing the rounds in my head about taking minutes off it, maybe. By mile 9, things looked very different. There were some sneakily deceptive rises in the middle section and these, coupled with a stiff breeze in the face made for an baffling drop of pace in the middle miles. I watched the 30 seconds i'd gained drop like a stone. Soon it was parity and I was wondering what the hell was going on. By mile 9, i'd turned away from the wind, found a flat section and has stabilized pace. I was maintaining PB pace once again, albeit 20 seconds in deficit by now. I was in no mans land, not sure what to do. Mile 10 made my mind up. Some more obvious hills now and I lost another stack of time that put me 49 seconds behind PB pace and only 3 miles left to get it back. In short, no chance. I gave up on chasing the PB and just went for respectability, whatever the hell that meant. Ok, I went for just trying not to fall over between now and then end. Mile 11 took me down again and I clawed 11 seconds back but it meant I would still have to run at 20 seconds a mile faster than PB pace, just to reach parity. Nah, still no chance, that's just too much to ask. I opted to plan out next weeks dinners instead. It was on Wednesday's chicken curry that an unexpected turn of events happened. I suddenly appeared at the top of a hill that must have been half a mile at least of glorious downward beauty. I started pumping anything that would pump and fair flew down this thing. The mile marker was just after the corner at the bottom and my Garmin spat a 5 minute 40 mile out at me. I metaphorically rubbed my eyes. Ridiculous. I had clawed 40 seconds back on that one mile and the PB shot was absolutely back on. The last full mile and a bit was all head down, grimace, mildly erotic sounding grunts (to continue a theme) and hope over expectation. There was yet more downward stuff to help me at this point and I somehow found another 24 seconds in that and ended on 1.22.42, a 26 second PB! Encouraging as well as with 200m of elevation in total, it was certainly not a flat half and there's time to come off that.
I have always previously know when the PB has slid away during a race, this is the first time a race has proven me wrong. It has made me now realise that I have to think about things differently, especially if I don't know the course.
With warm ups and downs, I got through 17 miles yesterday and then got up and did 12 very slow ones today. I'm tired now and eating a lot. Sorry about the length, I got to typing and forgot that I should stop at some point.....