Rose Inn 4 Miler # 1 2010

Just two days after a tri, and with recent 2-milers improving but still not at full pace (11.45 in New York was the best I'd managed) I was expecting an OK race at the Rose Inn but certainly didn't expect to dip under 24 minutes as I had two years before. That PB was not on the agenda, but I wanted to enjoy the race and set myself a marker to challenge later in the year. I warmed up for a good 20 minutes on the lovely, quiet lanes at the back of Redwick and after chatting with team mate Ed at the start I had a few moments of silence and a handshake of encouragement from Mick McGeoch (reaching back from the front row) before Andy got us underway.

It was a near perfect evening - there is always a breeze here but it wasn't too strong, and the chilly conditions were probably a bonus on the second lap. I found myself alongside Dom Shields for the first half mile, then felt good enough to edge forward and slot in behind aforementioned Mick McG of Les croups and Jon Goodland from GWR - both guys I know I can't keep pace with, but I was hoping to hang on to them for half the race at least to make sure I was pushing myself. Mile 1 came in 5.45, and I didn't feel like I'd overdone it, so all of a sudden the 24 minute barrier was in view and I had to go for it. As the second mile unwound I felt a constant sense of surprise at how good I was feeling, and although we re-entered Redwick at the two mile mark having clocked 5.58 for the mile, I knew I was still going well and the breeze was probably the reason for the slower timing. I tried to keep my mind still and enjoy the dramatic skies over the channel - views like that always lift my spirits and seem to distance me from the pain or fatigue that I'm inevitably feeling in a hard event.. When a race is going gwell it's an awesome feeling. Part of me wanted to cruise mile three and save my effort for the last quarter of the race, but I knew that was chickening out and started to try and move up the field. I didn't get anywhere, just passed one or two and got re-passed in turn, but the sparring did the job and got mile three sorted in 5.48 - now the PB was the target so I let my breathing quicken to that level I know I can only sustain for a mile or so and gave it all I'd got. The finish came into view and I realised I had a surge (couldn't call it a sprint by any stretch) left in me so I pushed hard to the line - this resulted in some minor retching and one of those rare occasions when I actually vomit a bit after finishing. Just thought I'd share that with you :)

I was happy on two counts - I'd run myself to the puking level which means I hadn't held anything back, and my watch was telling me I'd smashed my PB with a time of 23.30. By my standards that's a great result. God knows what will happen at the third and fourth races (I can't make race 2 - marshalling the Self-Transcendence 5k in Bristol) but at least I've had one really good race experience on the road this summer, and I'm very grateful for that.

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