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

Southern Ocean 2 Mile Virtual Race - June 7th 2020


So having hit the target of running one sub-12 minute 2 miler the previous week, I found myself back at Bitton on another cool but sunny morning warming up for the second virtual race of the series.

I had two things likely to hold me back this time - a conscious decision to focus on the 10k coming up 2 weeks later (rather than kill myself trying to improve the 2 mile performance) and the residual soreness and stiffness of my 2 hour mountain run less than 48 hours before. In fact my quads were sore and tender, which is what you get when you take a 4 month break from hills then descent hard off a ridge in the Black Mountains.

Anyway, with these convenient excuses I decided to run hard-ish and see what happened.

As I set off from my now-familiar start line I was clocking 6.04 for lap pace but as the stiff limbs surrendered a little to the effort, I found I could bring that down to 5.57 and hold that pretty well. There were more people on the path than the previous week but not enough to make passing tricky, so there was no reason I couldn't do a good time if I could hold on to that pace. Of course, that's a big "if"...

The open country came, running out of shade into sunlight, past the 1km mark level with the barn down in the valley and I was still on 5.58. The effort began to tell as I came back into the shady, wooded section and could see the chevron sign that marks the turnaround in the distance. I turned with the average pace either on 5.56 or 5.58 I can't recall which, but the effort of accelarating back up to pace after the loss of momentum at the turn around an imagined cone told me it was not going to be easy to hold on to that speed for the second half. I managed it at first but as I passed the 1k mark again I was already unable to hold my breathe-on-2-paces rhythm and I could feel things going full-on anaerobic earlier than they should. The pace on my watch crept down to 6.00 and I hoped I could surge a little to bring the average down but it wasn't to be. The numbers rose instead of falling and I finished with the figure of 6.02 which meant a time of just over 12.04 - call it 12.05 for race purposes.

As you can see I was happy enough with that result - not under that 12 minute barrier I'd been so happy to cross a week before but still around 10 seconds better than anything I managed in 2019.

A couple more 2 milers to go in the series, so I might still manage top 3 over-50s (I'm not in the class of the current leader, that's for sure) and my thoughts are turning more now to how I could challenge the 40 mins barrier in the 10k. In theory I could just about do it, but my last serious attempt in a proper race at Castle Combe saw me run myself half to death and still miss out by half a minute! Anyway, as well as my weekly 2-milers I'm throwing in a race-pace session which started with 5k at just under 4-mins/KM and which I hope to build up to 7k. Then on race day I'll have to hold that speed another 3k, which will be no joke.

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