Nearly a month had passed since the Manchester Marathon but all the indicators in the weeks in between suggested that it was taking a while to fully recover from the exertions in that race. I focused more on cycling than running through April, plenty of time on Zwift and a couple of club rides with Witham Wheelers. This was mostly because the sciatica issue in the left hamstring took around 10 days to fully disappear and then the less severe issue with the aching left hip took the best part of the month to subside to next to nothing. Coupled with a couple of runs where I got the weird quad ‘cramps’ that I’ve been afflicted with for years now, I don’t think I did any real speed work at all – save for one brick 5K run following a club ride where I bizarrely ran my fastest ever for the oft run loop (Averaging 5:53 per mile), despite having felt thoroughly exhausted for much of the week beforehand.
I went into the Sleaford Half Marathon with the knowledge that I had managed to finish second there in 2018 in very warm conditions in a pretty quick time. With much better conditions forecast and hopeful that I had more or less recovered from Manchester, I was cautiously optimistic that I could run a half decent time. The pre-race build up was wholly unspectacular, a mile and a half around the rugby pitches which were notable only for feeling a lack of zip and a bit of a snotty nose.
As I lined up for the 9:45 start, there was a bit of nervous chatter on the start line as one runner, who is best described as a novice who perhaps shouldn’t have been up on the start line itself, began happily asking everyone around them what time they thought they would run. I said I wouldn’t mine running around 1:16 but I was tired from Manchester. This prompted a guy in some form of Nike Vaporflys to state that he too had run Manchester, had gotten a PB of around 2:36 and was looking to run a 1:13 PB today at Sleaford. It turned out that was Wayne Lathwell of Lincoln Wellington AC, who when the starting horn was fired, looked true to his word and set off at a pace that was certainly unattainable, let alone unsustainable for me.
With Wayne off into the distance and indeed heading to a 1:13:11 PB which secured a comfortable victory, within half a mile I found myself in joint second place with a runner I recognised having competed against numerous times before – Stephen Dickens of Rushcliffe AC. I had a quick glance around and found that we already had a sizeable gap over the nearest runners, perhaps as much as twenty seconds. I knew then that, barring disaster, second or third position was on the cards.
The first mile was spot on what I’d hoped for at 5:40. Half a mile or so late, feeling comfortable and, to be honest, a little bored in the race already, I began chatting to Stephen – something I very rarely do in races. I commented on his trainers, recognising them to be the Nike Vaporfly 4%s, and asked how he felt they performed. He explained that he was still getting used to them. He’d run a 5K in them the week before and said they felt quick but odd.
A little while later as later as we climbed the biggest ascent of the race (A bridge heading over the A17) it became clear that Stephen had got used to his Vaporflys as he began to slowly, but inexorably, disappear into the distance. Powerless to go with him, I resigned myself to a long lonely run to the finish. There was no-one behind me as far as the eye could see so all I had to motivate me to keep the effort going was the prospect of a quick time and a good age grade at an event that was a round of the club’s Grand Prix Series.
The remainder of the race was, frankly, dull. I ran the opening 5K in 17:45, slowed slightly to 17:56 through the second 5K and slowed a little more to 18:10 for the third 5K. I was struggling a little bit on three counts: 1. I felt still a little jaded from Manchester. 2. The winds, although not strong, were troubling in an area on the edge of the Fens. 3. My stomach was cramping alarmingly, perhaps the result of a short return to to experimenting with taking on beetroot juice before a race (I’d also tried this at Retford).
Happy at 9.5 miles that I wasn’t going to be caught by anyone, I opted to dive through a hedgerow and have an emergency pit stop on an edge of a field. I think I only lost 25 seconds or so, returning to the race vowing to never take on beetroot juice before the start of the race again. Feeling more comfortable I ran the final 5K in 18:15 (Sub 18 removing the pit-stop) crossing the finish line third in 1:16:22.
At the time I was pretty disappointed with this – it was around the same time (If you remove time taken by the side of the road) as in 2018 but conditions then were far worse. I think in tip top shape with good weather this is as quick a half marathon course as anywhere in the region and it’s a bit of a mystery why so relatively few runners take part in the race. I got to chat to Stephen at the end of the race who had set a new PB of 1:15:30 and he reckoned that the Vaporflys were worth at least a minute over the half marathon. Given that Wayne too had flown (Albeit I don’t think he was rocking the all singing and dancing model) and I’d seen also Vince at Manchester and elsewhere, plus Jonny Palmer of Bourne/GRC break 2:40 at London a week earlier, both do wondrous things in these shoes, I pretty much decided then that it was time for me to join the arms race and look to get a pair of carbon shod shoes.
Content that I was the winner of the non-Vaporfly race by two and a half minutes, I hung around for the presentation, a touch disappointed that third place wasn’t rewarded quite as well as they had been in 2018. A quick photo with the incredible Tony Johnson, who won his age category with his highest ever age grade a week after going sub-3 at London, and it was time to head home, where bizarrely I opted to totally exhaust myself by doing a 35 minute full gas TT on Zwift, which left me wondering afterwards whether I could have pushed just a bit harder a few hours earlier…
With the London Marathon done and dusted attention focused on the Sleaford Half Marathon. I had two weeks to try and recover and prepare for what would likely be my first full gas race of the year after the semi-training run effort of the Keyworth Turkey Trot and the London Marathon – which although an extremely hard race due to the heat, was ultimately less hard on the legs as it could have been if I’d run it at the pace I’d trained to run at.
Mindful of a calf injury sustained not long after the 2017 London Marathon which may well have been exacerbated by resuming running (at pace) too soon after London, I made a concerted effort to take things relatively easy. The day after London saw an easy hour on the elliptical trainer and a few minutes on my new bike smart trainer which I had treated myself to when it went on an offer that was too good to refuse. I rode the Witham Wheelers TT on the Tuesday, a moderate effort, not too hard on the legs, oddly a slight season’s best. Wednesday saw my first ride in anger on Zwift using the smart trainer and I’ve got to say I absolutely loved it. It brought a new sense of realism to the game – 8% climbs now felt like climbs rather than having to try and simulate it through gear selection, conversely, the 8% descents gave you a chance to try and recover – just as in real life.
Back to real life on the Thursday and the first run since London – eleven miles with GRC. I felt really good, averaged 7:12 but could have gone so much faster were there anyone willing to go with the pace. Friday saw more Zwift and my first training session, which brings in the erg mode element to turbo training, which makes things very interesting! Saturday saw Belton House parkrun and a 17:27 clocking (Which I’ve posted about separately). Loving the smart trainer so much I put in a catch up Tour Of Watopia stage after work in the evening, before putting in another 90 minutes on Zwift on Sunday morning, stopped only by work on the Azerbaijan GP. Monday saw a 10 mile run in the morning, no real effort and 6:37 average but tired quads gave an indication that I hadn’t fully recovered from London. My daughter’s cancelled swim session in the evening meant I got a bonus hour on Zwift. Everything was going great! Then Tuesday happened.
For reasons unknown I wasn’t feeling too fantastic Tuesday afternoon. I considered not heading to the time trial but, after a little rest on the sofa and a leftover slice of the kids’ pizza, I felt a bit better and so got myself ready to ride to the event. I can’t at the moment print exactly what happened, suffice to say that not long after leaving the house and riding to the cricket club, I was involved in an accident that left me on the floor with my bike significantly worse for wear.
After I picked myself up and went through the procedure of sorting out details for insurance reasons, I headed back home, bike unrideable and in a bit of pain with my left calf (I think I irritated the sciatic nerve with an over extension and felt nothing more after a night’s sleep) and a bruised right knee. I was full of adrenaline, so put in an hour or so easy riding on Zwift to try and calm myself down.
A restless night followed however as I mulled over and over the evening’s incident. I had planned to run with Stephen Hobday on Wednesday morning. I was able to run but the bruised right knee became progressively more sore as the run progressed, so I cut short a planned 10 mile run to 7.5 miles. Feeling no discomfort on the bike, I rode a Zwift race in the evening, memorable for it being very hilly and significantly longer than advertised, so much so that at the conclusion, nearly 90 minutes after beginning, the body was totally devoid of any energy whatsoever!
Thursday morning saw 55 minutes very easy on Zwift before a planned GRC run in the evening. Young talent Jake was a guest and it wasn’t long before he and I were off the front of the group running alone. The right knee, which had been a little sore from the off, became increasingly painful to the point where I called the run short at 9 miles in total. I knew that Sunday’s Half Marathon was in real jeopardy so it was a case of two days of nothing but rest and plenty of ice applied to the knee 3 or 4 times a day. This seemed to yield a positive result, by Saturday evening I felt nothing when walking up and down stairs, whereas before it had ached a fair amount. It was though still quite painful to touch.
With the race start at 9:45 am, I was up at 6:30 am to prepare and allow the cereal bar breakfast to digest. In scenes eerily reminiscent of the 2016 Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon (where I went in injured, but finished second) I did a short half mile run from home before setting off for nearby Sleaford by means of a fitness test on the crash damaged knee. I could feel a little tenderness but nothing that caused undue concern nor a change in running gait. What was apparent though was the weather. In an almost near mirror image of March’s Beast from the East and it’s return a fortnight later, the very warm, sunny weather that compromised performance at the London Marathon had returned with vengeance for the Sleaford Half Marathon weekend, with the weekend in the middle frustratingly near perfect for distance racing.
I made it to Sleaford with over 90 minutes to spare, fearing a nightmare with parking that failed to transpire. Given that Sleaford is the nearest town to Grantham I should know my way around it better, but I had to rely on other runners’ knowledge to get me from the town car park to the start venue at the local football club. Pre-race preparation was a fairly standard affair but with the emphasis on trying to keep as cool as possible with temperatures already approaching 20C at 9 am. The warm up was just a mile around the football pitches with one acceleration. The knee felt fine.
I sought shade as much as possible, somewhat reluctantly taking part in the rather impressive GRC group photo, before heading back to join a queue for the indoor toilets which killed some time and was cooler than being outside. I deliberated long and hard about what kit to wear – the club vest was a given, then I opted to wear the cap that served me so well at London. Then, at the last minute, I opted to also wear the club coloured Buff (purchased just the day before for such an eventuality) around the neck to try and keep temperatures down on a course which was largely exposed to the sun with little chance of seeking shade. In the 10-15 minutes before the start of the race, I made a point of keeping the cap and buff soaked with cold water. It was pretty cold at the time but I was confident it would help during the race itself.
The pre-race briefing told us to enjoy the lovely conditions, which I think most took to be a little tongue in cheek given we were already all baking in the sun. I had half planned to take it easy with the hot weather, but I knew from prior experience that I could probably plan to run a fairly standard race with the acceptance that the going would get increasingly tough near the end of the race, more than you’d expect if conditions were fine.
We made the short walk from the club house to the start line. We were warned about the start mat covering the entirety of the road so I placed myself dead bang in the middle of the line of the carpet so as to minimise chances of not being detected by the timing chip. We were told that we would start on the whistle and literally two or three seconds later the whistle blew. Nearly all road races have a countdown of sorts, so at first I hesitated, wondering if the whistle was to bring us to attention but, no, that was the starting whistle, and so we were off on our way.
A flat start with a slight breeze at our backs meant the start was brisk. I found myself somewhere around the top ten, before making up a space or three as we turned into a housing estate and began to run into the breeze. Leaving the estate and returning in the opposite direction back towards the start line I closed slowly on the runner in third position.
Just by following him I liked his smart approach to racing. As the leaders (and many others), shown in the picture above, stuck to the left hand side of the road, the guy in front moved to the right hand side of the road, where there was a patch of around 200 meters which was in the shade. A marginal gain perhaps over the course of 13.1 miles seeking marginally lower temperatures, but I know from experience these little things can and do add up. I went through the first mile in 5:38, which was a couple of seconds up on the A Game plan, although not as fast as my PB HM opening mile, when I ran 5:28.
The second mile took us past the finish area and off on the long loop that would take us to and through Kirkby La Thorpe, Evedon, Ewerby, Boughton, Howell, Ewerby Thorpe, Ewerby (Again), and Kirky la Thorpe (Again) before returning to the finish at the football club. The wide main road running into Sleaford and towards the A17 was closed for the morning. The rest of the roads were open but were very quiet roads – I think I only saw three or four cars and a whole load of bicycles – but more of them later.
By the end of the second mile I had closed on the third placed runner, who I thought I recognised as someone I raced with at the Thoresby 10, but some detective work reveals I didn’t. It was only after the race that he came to be known to me as Martin Dawson of North Derbyshire Running Club. Clocking a more palatable 5:46 for the second mile. Martin pulled wide to the right side of the road as he let me through to take the pace. There was a headwind at the time – just noticeable enough to be a little effort to run in and also just enough to provide a bit of welcome cooling. Martin’s extravagant pull to the side amused me quite a bit. I kept the pace honest as we passed probably the biggest climb on the course as we climbed up and over the A17.
Any thoughts that Martin was just going to sit on my tail was put to bed as he came past me, clearly willing to help with the pace. Indeed as we went through the first water station, manned by one of my local running rivals Greg Southern of Sleaford/Royal Air Force at 2.5 miles, he kindly offered me his water bottle. As I had already discarded around 450ml over the top of my head and was feeling suitably refreshed, I declined his kind offer, but knew that this would be someone who would be a help in the race rather than a hindrance.
We went through the third mile together in 5:41 and 5K in 17:42. By now the two at the front of the race who had pulled clear for the opening couple of miles were now slowly, but surely, being reeled in by the slower starting duo of Martin and myself. Lincoln AC man, who had led the race, was now second behind the young man in black, who looked bouncy and strong but who, along with the bigger Lincoln runner, showed signs of beginning to struggle with the heat, which was warm and getting warmer all the time.
Through four miles with 5:43 on the Garmin, it had been was a typical Fens running affair – an unremarkable narrow country lane on flat lands surrounded by fields of crops. As we approached Everdon there was a rare change in elevation with a slight incline. It was here where Martin and I passed the Lincoln AC runner. The man in black was now just a few seconds up the road and it looked like a matter of when, not if, we would both pass him. This we did shortly after, sharing the lead of the race, continuing to take turns to pace one another. I was keeping an eye on my HR as it crept higher towards the maximum I’d like it to be during a HM. On a cooler day I may have let it past, but I knew with the warmth I couldn’t stretch too far into the red.
The road had now turned into a heavily potholed gravel track – a private road used with permission from a farmer. The Sleaford Half Marathon seems to enjoy these excursions into the unusual. At its former home at RAF Cranwell there was a half mile or so through a field which, during February when the race was held, was invariably very muddy and slippery. This pot hole ridden track was less of a hindrance, especially as the ground had been baked dry by days of sun, but it demanded full attention to avoid becoming a cropper in a crater.
Exiting the farmers path at the beginning of the fifth mile, the Garmin clocked 5:41. As we approached halfway at Ewerby and still sharing the lead of the race, I could just sense that the heat was beginning to take its toll. Speaking to others after the race many felt the same way – that is that it was bearable to halfway, then got progressively harder with a low point around ten miles as we came back into Ewerby.
The sixth mile was 5:46 and I went through 10K in 35:32. By now parched, both me and Martin were alarmed at the next water station when they appeared to be handing out cups of water. Spotting a crate of water bottles we both shouted ‘Bottles! Bottles!’ to the guys manning the water station. To their credit and perhaps hearing the desperation in our voices, bottles were hastily provided just in time. Thoughtfully once again Martin had taken two bottles in case I had been unable to grab one. Once again I declined his offer of a bottle, he handed it to a spectator to hopefully hand out to runners behind us.
Off now on a near four mile loop before returning to Ewerby, my time at the front of the race would come to an end. With the merest of a slow down, mile 7 being 5:48, it seemed Martin capitalised on this and picked up the pace, not by a huge amount, but enough to create a 20 second or so gap by the time we had run eight miles. Really feeling the heat by now as I clocked 5:48 for mile 8, all I could do was hope that Martin had risked it a little too much by increasing the pace when the body would surely be screaming to slow down. I noted that at around 8 miles, Martin took on a gel. I sensed that today that could have been a great move, especially one with added sodium and other electrolytes – the type I normally take. The possible advantage I had over him, I reckoned, was that the still soaking cap and buff around the neck would hopefully keep me cooler in the later stages, when the heat would likely really start to take its toll.
Turning left at the small village of Howell I was warned by marshals of cyclists approaching the junction. There was the King Edward Sportive taking place that day, which we had been warned about as there was a multitude of arrows at the next junction which would be confusing to a heat affected mind. With odds that must be in the 100s to 1, by pure coincidence the group that came past me was a bunch of Witham Wheelers’ riders, the same group I would have typically ridden with if I had failed the morning’s fitness test and chosen to cycle instead! With plenty of encouragement received I half jokingly instructed them to try and slow down the leader ahead. They did indeed ride up to Martin and perhaps told him to slow down. They didn’t though impede him and that was the last I saw of them as they took part in an activity far more enjoyable than running in the conditions.
That brief interlude of excitement out of the way it was back to the increasingly hard graft. Mile 9 was a 5:49 and mile 10 5:50. I remember little of this part of the race other than finding it increasingly hot and difficult to maintain pace.
At ten miles we rejoined the course already trodden at Ewerby and I was passing runners who would look to run around two and a bit hours for the marathon. I knew the water station would be ahead and was thankful to take a bottle. Once again I took only a small swig of water, making sure as much of the contents as possible went over the head and neck.
Miles 10 and 11 were the hardest yards of the race. At times I felt like my legs were beginning to buckle. Fearing an attack of the Callum Hawkins I made sure I could run a straight line. Thankfully, despite the suffering, I was not yet out of my mind, although I did question this when we passed a random guitarist and partnering vocalist singing Brown Eyed Girl by the side of the country road. Mile 11, despite being partially downhill, was the slowest of the race at 5:52. That I was suffering and tiring but more or less maintaining pace was pleasing. I just had to keep the concentration up. Not only was Martin in front seemingly slowing slightly (Probably an illusion), I had glanced behind on occasion and was sure a Lincoln Wellington runner was closing on me. Fear of losing second rather than the possibility of winning here drove me on.
Mile 12 saw the final water station, another cheer of encouragement from Greg Southern and the final incline of the race as we went back over the A17 and towards the finish. I was pleased to see I had increased the pace to run 5:47 for mile 12 and with less than eight minutes of running to go I put in as much effort as I could, focusing on the limited number of reference points ahead to break down the mile as much as possible and ignoring as best as possible the heat radiating off the asphalt below.
It was at 12.5 miles I looked at my elapsed time for the first time since halfway. It read under 1:12. For a few moments I thought a PB was possible, but the brain had enough processing power to realise that wasn’t possible. I did though recognise that it could be a pretty decent time and so, despite second place being assured, I put in one final effort to make it to the finish line as quickly as possible.
Crossing the line I missed the finishing clock, my Garmin suggested I had run 1:16:04 but I knew it would be officially a few seconds quicker. I forgot all about that however as, once stopped, the inevitable heat soak took over my body and I could think of nothing but to seek shade, which I found next to the Muffin Top cake stall by the baggage collection. I spent a few minutes just sitting calmly, cooling slightly, before being joined by the one-time race leader Rusian who shook hands with me before collapsing in a heap!
After five minutes or so I felt sufficiently recovered and collected my bag to change into dry clothes. For the next 45 minutes or so I stood with club mates and spectated, cheering home the 35+ Grantham Running Club members who took part in the race. Initially it was believed we had won the Team Prize until Lincoln Wellington found a runner to mean that they took the honours. I did though have the opportunity to receive the second placed trophy and a voucher worth £125 for a pair of Mizuno trainers! This prize was given to the first three finishers, which made me wonder whether the effort of maintaining second had been worth it! I was also given my official chip time of 1:15:59, which cheered me up no end!
I also had the first opportunity to talk to the race winner, who revealed that it was only his second half marathon and a three minute PB, clocking 1:15:11. He admitted that he had taken a bit of a risk in breaking clear at 7 miles and just about held on, but it was touch and go in the final miles. His win was well judged and thoroughly well deserved.
Grabbing a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders from the Lincolnshire Runner stand, I basked in the heat of the day before heading to a rather lovely barbecue at friends, then GRC’s Beer & Bling evening, where I could add the Sleaford Half Marathon medal to my London Marathon prize. It was only when I awoke in the morning that I was reminded that I had run 13.1 miles on a bruised knee. Virtually pain free during the race, it felt very similar to how it had been soon after crashing the bike. Indeed a pain blighted run a couple of days later meant I was resigned to taking at least a week off running to let everything hopefully heal. I certainly hope so because I am in good shape and have some races coming up thick and fast!
I’ve only raced one Duathlon this year, since then I have really prioritised running and had some fun with time trialling. I’d not yet committed to returning to Rockingham for their Duathlon, but with that in mind, the opportunity to take part in a local, low key race was too tempting to ignore.
Sleaford Tri3 club are celebrating their their fourth birthday and to celebrate they were hosting a Duathlon, with the promise of free food and cake to follow. Sounded good. I held off entry to the very last minute; Storm Brian was coming across the country bringing with it the promise of some very strong winds. The prospect of being battered by winds on the Lincolnshire fens didn’t appeal; it was only when the forecast shifted somewhat, so that the strongest winds would arrive in the afternoon, did I commit to entering.
Joining me at the race was my time trialling nemesis Stpehen Hobday. We time trialled together at the opening Witham Wheelers 2-Up, where he carried me the entire way. I’ve got better over the course of the year since then, but he is at least two minutes quicker than me over a 25 mile course. His running continues to improve, but I had the comfort of knowing that over 5K I was at least 90 seconds quicker than him at our bests. Given that the Duathlon comprised a 5K run, a 40K bike and a 2.5K run to conclude, the prospect of an equally matched race was the stuff of much pre-race conjecture.
Not getting enough sleep thanks to an early morning finish working on the US GP at Austin, I arrived at Heckington a little later than planned with Stephen. Badly prepared, I was lucky that Stephen had a spare number belt for me and that the organisers did not insist on showing our race licences, as neither of us had ours on us. By the time I’d racked the bike, got changed and as ready as I could be, listened to the briefing and visited the loo, there was less than five minutes to the start. Normally I like at the very least a mile of running warm up – I got just two minutes.
Knowing that I was planning to race the Thoresby 10 mile race the next day, I knew that my game plan had to change somewhat, with compromises needing to be made. Rather than go flat out hard on the opening 5K, I would have to easy myself in as best I could. With around 40 taking part over the sprint and standard distances, we set off at 9:30am, the stiff wind blowing us along the opening half of the 5K run. I briefly sat in second place before taking the lead, with Stephen and another runner on my tail. I was running well within myself, clocking the first mile in 5:45, not that quick considering the tailwind and it being slightly downhill for the opening half mile.
Over the remainder of the run I was able to eek out a gap over Stephen and the other runner, but I knew it was nowhere near as much as it needed to be. The second mile was 5:56 and the third 6:01 as I battled with the headwind and the effects of not warming up properly. I ran the opening 5K in a relatively pedestrian 18:54. Transition was trouble free; I didn’t have time to elastic band the cycle shoes to the pedals so lost a few seconds putting them on, but I was soon into my cycling.
Perhaps thanks to the strengthening wind blowing me along, perhaps the new bargain Huub tri suit that I was wearing for the first time, but the cycle legs felt good from the off. Staying on the bike was proving much harder though with a gusting rear side crosswind making it extremely difficult to stay on the road. For the opening section I had to ignore the TT bars and hold on to the handlebars for dear life. Stephen came steaming past benefiting from being able to be in a TT position, and revelling in his rear disc wheel excelling in the winds (I hadn’t time in the morning to fit mine).
Knowing he’d past so soon meant that realistically the race was over. All I could do was try and hold onto him as best as possible, knowing that drafting was illegal, and perhaps hope that he’d pushed too hard on the run or that his new TT position that he was racing with for the first time, would prove to be too painful to hold. This though proved to be wishful thinking as he slowly but inexorably pulled away. We both enjoyed the run to North Kyme, the precursor to Storm Brian pushing us along at 32mph with barely any effort. We were both held up briefly by some inopportune roadwork traffic lights, but we were soon back into our own riding.
The two lap course meant that we would be faced with some headwind for part of the course. I was pleased that in my TT position I was able to maintain a relatively good pace. The second lap saw me once again nearly blown off my bike approaching a junction where the gusts were being whipped and funnelled into differing directions, making it really hard to hold onto the bike. By now I’d decided that survival was the best course of action with a healthy gap behind me and an insurmountable gap ahead. On the second lap I was held up for 70 seconds at the traffic lights, but even then I could see no one behind me. Knowing that this delay would be factored into our times, I relaxed and headed back towards the finish, happy that my NP watts of just under 240 was pretty much spot on what I had hoped to be riding. The average speed of 21.9 mph was also one of my best for a Duathlon bike leg.
There was a brief moment of pain when I tried to loosen my bike shoes before the second transition, the left hip briefly going into spasm. Fortunately nothing came of it and another smooth transition saw me off and running, attempting to close on Stephen. That we crossed paths on the out and back course well before I turned around confirmed that, although he was running fairly slowly, he wasn’t going to be caught. I pushed relatively hard, mainly as preparation for Rockingham, clocking 5:42 for the first mile and averaging 5:50 for the slight uphill drag to the finish.
I came home second. Stephen was a deserving winner. I was around 45 seconds quicker on the second run. I finished 1 minute 50 seconds behind him. It was probable that even if I’d run my quickest on the opening 5K run, he would have just had the better of me. At the time I was relieved to have survived the bike leg intact and with legs that felt like they hadn’t been overly taxed.
After a warm down and some cake and presentations, it was time to head home, back to work, and to prepare for Thoresby in less than 24 hours time.