On a whim I turned up at the Gloucester White Horse 5k this evening on instruction of Cheltenham team manager, Proph. Having watched the rain come down all afternoon like stair rods I was in two minds whether to run or not, but with the Chelt crew out in force I thought I would show my face and take one for the team.
Having navigated myself to the hamlet of Sandhurst just north of Gloucester I proceeded to spend half an hour trying to find the damn pub on flooded roads. If it wasn't for the fact I'd been in the car for 75 minutes I may well have turned back, but with 15 minutes to spare I found the start.
I managed to get a 'quick' five minute warm up done as the rain eased off a bit and lined up ready for some fun. Dave Roper was out for us and old Uni mate Tim Dalton was also on the start line, so at least I knew how to pace myself this time round.
We started smoothly with Tim and Dave hitting the front with a couple of young guys from Westbury tucking in behind. I started steadily, trying not to blow up as I did in the Yaletown Grand Prix. At the 2k mark I caught and passed the first of the guys to drop off the front group and flew past - he was not getting back on!
Sam Dalgliesh was the next guy to fall off the pace of the leading pair and I caught and past him under the watchful eye of Dave Newport with about 1500m to go. Despite the puddles I was able to pick out a pretty decent line, although I reckon there were another couple of seconds to be had if the corners weren't under water.
I got the "half a mile to go" shout from the marshalls and put my head down, wound up the pace, and went for home. I went for the line about 200m out but kept imagining I was just running the final half a lap at a Kerrisdale track session.
Having not worn a watch I was delighted to hear I ran 15:36 which is six seconds faster than the Longest Day, and a new PB. It also consolidates my second place in the VFAC rankings and leaves me just 11 seconds behind a certain Mr McDonald... although I think a sub-15:30 might have to wait twelve months! My prize of two boxes of biscuits made the trip extra worth while!
I didn't think I'd run as well as I did, but it felt good, my legs were springy and full of life. It was as if I was exactly on the line of lactic threshold - feeling great but knowing that an extra 1% and I would start the slow death that is oxygen debt. Maybe the Austrian hills and lack of sessions has done me some good?
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