New York again and although my achilles had been playing up, I'd had my frame loosened up by the Keith the osteopath and I was happy to run on it. In fact, having not run more than a couple of 2 mile sessions in around 6 weeks, I felt fresh enough to run flat out and just see what happened. Hard miles on the bike lately had seen me get up to race effort so why not run at race pace? I warmed up for around 20 minutes - easy jogging, a few strides, some deep breathing to open up the chest and diaphragm in the hope that would ward off a stitch - then I was into the throng of runners gathering at the start on a really bright and clear morning. Just jogging had left me soaked in sweat, mostly because of the humidity which was unlike anything we ever get back home. The air temp was mid to high twenties too, even at 8am. If all talk of heat and injury sounds discouraging, I should point out that I felt great and after cooling off with a cup of water over my head I felt good to go. The noisy crowd fell silent for the race prayer and after a short meditation we were off around the bend and over the rise towards Jamaica track.
Early on I was chasing Himadri and a few runners I used to spar with on Christmas trip runs years ago - nice to be back with that crowd after running so slowly for so long. I even edged ahead of Suswara after half a mile as he was having an off day, both short of sleep and feeling a bit sick. Dave was a short distance ahead but at no stage did he get any nearer! I worked hard from the start, something I haven't felt the confidence to do for quite some time - by the time I heard Utpal shout my mile split of 6.05 I was already on the edge and having to breath at the faster rate I usually save for the last half mile. Predictably I died off a bit after the second hill, lapping Kokila on the inside just as we approached the start line for the last time, but I did hang on enough to hear the guys on the finish call out 12.18. Best time for 5 years! Great result for me and I knew I had really worked for it by the way I felt at the end - physical torture but I've really missed it!
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