Race number 1 came at the end of March at the British/French/Irish "Joy Day" gathering in London. As we were staying in Roehampton, Richmond Park beckoned with it's miles of scenic roads and trails. Our two mile course was a pretty accurate out-and-back on a mix of path and grass track. I went off a bit slower than usual, then found myself slowly  moving up the field - this is really unusual for me as I'm usually a fly-and-die merchant who starts way too fast, but it actually felt good to be coming from the back of the pack. Slowly I caught a lot of runners who are stronger than me right now on longer distance but who I can still pip in a two miler - Nirbhasa, Steve, Mark - but Artur remained out of reach. The young Pole is running 11.30 ish these days and I am nearer 11.50. Still, a great race in the beautiful surroundings of the park early on a Sunday morning. Nice.

The second 2 miler was in New York on the course I have run more miles on than any other - the loop around Jamaica High School. I felt good, and although the morning was cold and blustery I warmed up well and felt totally up for it. After the race prayer, we had a few seconds silence then the joyful mass start as hundreds of runners converged on the right angle bend just a few metres from the start - a crazy course! Up the hill I settled into a rhythm and felt fine right round the loop until we came round the bend by the entrance to the athletics track where Utpal was, as usual, calling out mile splits. 6.04! I couldn't believe how slow I was. I laboured on, pushing myself harder, and although I fell behind Pratul whom I had kept pace with all the way to the last few hundred yards, I was happy to run 6.00 for the second lap. 12.04 was a real disappointment though - was it the gusty wind? I couldn't work out why I had run so slowly.

The third two miler came a week after the second, when I was delayed in New York by the Iclandic Volcano that kept us all stranded there in April 2010. I felt tired and my legs were sore and heavy as I warmed up on a cool, damp morning. There were fewer runners than the previous week, but still well over a hundred lined up to hear the race prayer in rapidly increasing drizzle then dash to the bend on the start of their two mile journey. This time I found myself among faster runners than the previous race - Sadanand and Nirbhasa were just ahead. By the time I was passing the finish line for the first time I was gaining on Stefan and Grahak. Although I felt heavy still, I found myself passing people and holding on to seventh place (so I was told by Abarita) as I got to the turn on 164th street for the final time. I worked hard on the hill and past Goose Pond Park, pushing hard for the line, and was delighted to see the digit 11 on the clock, meaning I would improve on last week. In the end I finished breathlessly in 11.46, the kind of time I should be running right now, so the disappointment of the previous week was melted away. Back on track. I'll push for 11.30 this summer but not sure if I'll make it. It's always good to have a goal though.