"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Pomphrey 5K April 2019

I was surprised and also very grateful to be offered a free place in a local race just because I'd helped with the course measurement - it's happened before but I've never been able to take up the offer, until now. This one fell on a Tuesday evening in late April and although it clashed with a late shift at work I was able to swap that and ride up the cycle track to Shortwood well in time for the start.

I had a long warmup  and that allowed me to jog some of the stiffness out of my legs from the two and a half hour hard bike session the day before. I hadn't prepared for this one at all bu? t having run 6.17 per mile in NYC a couple of weeks earlier I thought I could have a decent run over 5k. I at least wanted to come in comfortably under 20 minutes, but I couldn't see myself getting close to 19.

Conditions were perfect - cool and still on a summery April evening, with the course traffic-free and a fast crew of club runners who had come from as far afield as St Albans and Reading as well as the usual Wales-and-West clubs.

By the end of that long, long warm-up I felt a little heavy-legged still but much better than I expected - I had done some high-knees and run up a set of high steps on Pomphrey Hill plus a few strides. I started quite near the front and straight from the GO! I was being passed on all sides. Had I been over-optimistic? Probably!

I settled into what felt like my 2 mile pace hoping to stay ahead of the congestion but the cycleway is not that wide and there was a little crowding for the first K. There were no KM markers but I remembered 1K being close to a road sign and I thought I clocked myself at around 4.10 which was disappointing. After the cone we surged back through the underpass and I saw my paint mark for 2k at around 7.35 so I had clearly taken my 1K time at the wrong sign! It was game on then for a sub 20.

I ran it hard and although I didn't quite keep up that pace I was able to stay pretty focussed on the beautiful and beautifully simple course. 4K came with me well on target and although I got overtaken on the line because I had no sprint left in me I did manage 19.19, best for a while - 6.13 per mile pace.

I was 5th over 50 apparently, 28 secs behind the fastest 50+, but not bad by my standards. No niggles, no problems. Apart from nausea as I crossed the line but that's to be expected, right? Max effort.

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