Had a double race week this week (and have just about managed to avoid getting myself into another 10k tomorrow!).
Midweek Road Race League Div. 2
The first was the Midweek road race league division 2 at WGC, 5 miles, 1st 27:53, over the old PUMA 5 course and I think the CR is something like 22:xx! and was a former world record though course didn't seem lightning fast to me.
One bloke went out very hard and I covered him but he had died off by about 1k so by a mile we were back with the pack. Real sign of inexperience by me going with him but he looked like a very serious runner and it was an impressive pace he started at and he looked very smooth at it. Once I realised he was slowing after about 800m I could have tried pushing on and going clear but there was no way I wanted to be running solo from that far out with a race the next day. A pack quickly developed of me, very young team-mate Ed Sheperd, Steve Prosser from Bishop's Stortford who is often a local rival and Paul Greaves another team mate who had won the past two fixtures but had taken third in the first behind me and Dom Easter and by the start of the second lap it was just us 4. Pace was consistent 5:30s. Eventually me and the bloke who'd won the last two went clear though we tried to keep it slowish so that Ed could stay in contact but it was clear that Steve's age and experience was going to keep him clear of Ed. With 800m to go I just drifted clear of Paul and then relaxed for the run-in for a nice win and my first individual win in the league despite a fair few second and third places! Whilst still waiting for team results I'm certain Paul has taken the richly deserved individual title.
Summer 5k League
Having done my best for Herts Phoenix the previous night it was time to don the yellow, black and purple of the Saffron Striders. Despite having twice won the series title here I had never actually won an individual race due to over the years combinations of injury, the wrong competition at the wrong race, peaking wrongly and a lack of marshalls (causing me one year to go storming past the final turn-off through a gate, totally prepared to kick for the gate to get through first the second I saw the marshall but in this case there being no marshall...), getting beaten by a bloke one week and the next taking him apart as I returned to form but Greg Billington (boy wonder) having turned up and taken the win comfortably.
Anyways! I knew that despite my leg being quite painful I stood a very good chance of winning this race. I warmed up with team-mates Anthony Bonelli, Nick White and Tim Ellis. The course consists of a 100m straight before a km vertical hill which eases off into a gradual incline for the next km before very rapidly descending in the 3rd km whereupon the 4th and 5th km are undulating but generally downhill.
I surged into the lead over the first 50m and then slowed down to see if I could convince people to run it slowly as I still wasn't sure about my leg especially with yesterdays race still in it. Unfortunately Harry Fowler of Newmarket Joggers was having none of it and surged into the lead and led us up the hill. This meant I was able to take my customary position of dead on the shoulder of the lead runner as a pack of around 5 or 6 of us was forming comprising Harry Fowler (NJ), Vincent Coogan (NJ), Nick White (Saffron Striders), me and a Cambridge runner. This pack stayed intact all the way to to the top of the hill. As we began the descent though Vincent Coogan pushed through to the front and launched a powerful surge which I stayed with but rapidly broke up the rest of the field with Fowler being the only one to stay with us. Vincent took great advantage of the downhill and we eventually dropped Fowler though we could still hear him behind. I was still cruising and as Vincent slowed I slowed with him still lurking and at about 3.5k I could hear Fowler rapidly catching us before catching us at 4k with now the sound of a Cambridge runner behind as well. I had a quick look back to make sure the Cambridge lad wasn't storming home as Fowler took the lead and started pushing but checking my watch I stayed relaxed until it hit 15:30 and I knew I couldn't be more than about 4-500m from the finish. I then drifted wide, put in a moderate acceleration shifting up to about 10k pace from 10m/HM pace and was clear in about 200 metres whereupon I slowed slightly and relaxed on my way in with a quick glance over my shoulder with about 100m to go to ensure they weren't catching.
Whilst pleased with the win I was also pleased for Tim and Anthony who both shifted up a number of positions to 8th and 12th respectively whilst Nick had a good race to finish 5th considering he'd cycled all the way there! The Striders managed to get second in both mens and womens races behind C&C who to be honest are so much larger than most clubs in this league it should be a runaway victory for them.
Afterwards had a chance to chat to a bloke called Bob Watson who's just short of 50 and having taken up running again is in 35 minute 10k shape. I always make a point of asking the older runners who had run fast in the past (Bob had run low 31s for 10k and 68 for HM) for some advice and he passed on what seems to be one of the most helpful tips around. Find a good training group so that if you let up for a second there's 10 athletes ready to come past you and swallow you up.
Anyways, my little jaunt back into the local road racing scene has been a lot of fun with 4 race wins (Henham 10k, Stortford 10m, MWRRL Welwyn 5m, 5k Summer League Haverhill) all done very comfortably and now I can focus on getting my leg sorted and doing some more serious competition - possibly including getting myself beaten up over an 800...