Whoop! An unexpected podium in the Herts Vets 35 championship – being very much a triathlete – I never expect running medals so totally chuffed with my third place.
I entered this as a fun (and fast) local race to see how much top-end speed I had regained with a years training behind me. The Hatfield 5 last year marked my return to racing after 12 long months of rehab post hip surgery; 35.40 was my baseline. Fast forward a year and my aim was sub-34.
I started near the front with hubby (aka pace maker) Stuart by my side along with several faster friends who I made a mental note NOT to try and keep up with in the first mile. I have one mode of racing – out too fast and hang on/die – and I was determined to get the pacing just right. First mile perfect – slightly faster than I wanted my average pace, but it is basically a little downhill on the way out and a little uphill coming back so I needed to bag a few seconds buffer. Job done. Miles 2 and 3 ticked by on target and feeling strong… hopes crept in of being close to my all time PB. Soon dashed as by 3.5 miles, just as Stuart announced I could catch Wendy W if I kept up my pace, my stomach muscles cramped and I was in a world of pain. I’ve had this a few times recently when at real threshold – possibly just my body telling me I am at max, but who knows. What I do know is that I had to ease off just a little bit (and give up on catching Wendy grrr) to make it round. Mile 4 was a slog but I only lost about 10 seconds. Mile 5 I knew I could get back on target simply by crippling myself in the last 2 mins to the line… you can always up the pace to the finish line! It hurt but I crossed the line in a dead finish with Stuart in 33.46… not a PB but much closer than I expected, and really confidence-boosting for the season ahead. This time last year I really didn’t think I would run this fast again.
Big thanks to my new coach Allie who is livening up my training, and making sure I am strong and healthy for 70.3 Mallorca in May. This old dog is learning some new tricks!