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

Atlantic Ocean 2 Mile Virtual Race - June 14th 2020

My third 2 miler was approaching and my focus was more on the 10k coming up a week later, for which my key session had to be a race-pace run of longer than the 6k I'd hauled myself round the week before. I asked my battered legs for their opinion and they were clear with me that I couldn't do a flat out 2-miler and a flat out 7k. So I decided to run the 7k at 4 mins per k - a big challenge - and include my fastest 2 miles within that as my Virtual Race.

Conditions were good once more at Bitton and I had a great warm up over the 2 mile course. Jogging back to the start 2 goldfinches fluttered around me and landed in the hedgerow. The mist over the fields was lifting and the layered horizon over the Avon Valley began to come into clearer focus.

I steeled myself on the start line and hit the button on my garmin to start my race-pace run and race.

Keeping up the 4 minute pace was stiff but not too tough for the first couple of k, over the open countryside to the platform in the middle of nowhere that marks the turnaround of the steam railway. After that it got steadily tougher as my mind wondered how I could possibly keep this up for 10k - that's my target for 21 June but it's touch and go whether I can do it or not. I cleared my mind of such thoughts and focussed on today's challenge of 7k in 28 minutes. Hopefully I could do that without being totally dead? I was going to find out soon enough.

I maintained pace into the forested section, past my familiar 2.5km turnaround and on into the woods where the path crosses and recrosses the Avon. I clung on to that 4 mins pace according to the Garmin, though Strava had other ideas, clocking my KM times at 3.50/3.48/4.03/4.09 and 3.47. The alarm rang out for 5k and I turned around an imaginary cone. Accelarating back up to race pace felt like a herculean task. I was putting in max effort but the numbers on my wrist wouldn't surrender. Strava has that lap at around 4.30, Garmin has it close to race pace, but either way the turnaround sapped my momentum and energy in a big way.

With only my 7th and final KM to go I put as much power in as I could without having to speed up my breathing and go anaerobic - that will have to be 10th KM only on midsummer 10k race day otherwise I'll crack. Somehow things came back together and I finished totally spent with a final KM around 3.50. So I did 7k in 27.45 and that was every ounce of effort I could muster. One of the hardest runs I can remember and all I got to show for it was a 2 mile race time of 12.45 on Strava which just got me on the board as 3rd over 50.

I hope the effort was worth it.

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