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

Asia 5k Virtual Race - May 11th 2020

I had really run beyond what I thought i was capable of in the previous week's virtual race and the days leading up to 11th May's Asia 5k saw me tired and stiff - speedwork was not an option so I just jogged and did easy rides on the bike and some hikes across the fields. Lockdown is stull at full power as it write, but due to lift somewhat on 13th May when we in England are permitted to have "unlimited exercise outdoors" and drive to places for exercise too. So it was another case of jogging up a quiet A38 to a lovely loop with just a handful of joggers and cyclists rather than the usual rush hour traffic.

Once up at Aztec West I could feel the 20mph wind biting - temperatures had dropped to around 11 degrees and the wind was from the north or northeast, meaning it would accompany me down the first straight then batter me in the face as I struggled up the other side of the loop and into the slope near the roundabout at the entrance to the business park. As you can see from the photo this is pretty attractive as far as business parks go, but with this being my 4th race in 4 weeks here I'm starting to feel like new surroundings might be nice!

I was in a close fitting zip tee, race shorts and calf guards - the latter as I had had some protest from my left calf during the week. I haven't run flat out at max effort every week for four weeks in a row since - well I can't remember. My body has stood up to it so far but with my history I'm grateful and relieved after every race if I "survive" uninjured. With the battering I'd given my body back on May 4th plus the relentless headwind, I was not expecting anything like a good time, but with an eye on the Grand Prix anything under 19.59 (my time in race #1) would help.

I set out fast as usual - or optimistic is perhaps a better word - clocking something like 3.43 pace on the Garmin. Everything felt OK, including the calf. My spirits started to lift. I was soon in full flow around the bend and on the backstraight I was surprised at the lack of wind - then suddenly it hit me with full force, having been hiding from the first 100m or so of that section. It must be the lie of the land, the way the wind finds its way around the buildings and trees. Anyway the expected battering by the blustery wind did arrive and slow me down as I battled into it and tackled the slope.

All went well on laps one and two but on the third loop I felt my hamstring start to "go". I instinctively straightened up, trying to run tall and not slouch forward, which definitely helped. It did hamper me a little but I pushed on with short strides and increasing exhaustion until I was able to get over the line and add up my splits as I walked back towards home. 19.18 - happy with that. The hamstring may have been pulled or maybe just attacked by cramp, it was hard to say. I jogged and walked home and it was still hurting later in the evening but eased as soon as I had - at Kokila's suggestion - some good quality magnesium tabs. Must have been cramp then.

So, 4 races down, I'm still a contender in the over 50s although I didn't manage first place in this 4th race (2nd by a 2 second margin), and I'm still uninjured (if a bit fraying round the edges). I'll see if I can maintain the fragile frame well enough to eek two more races out of it. Come on, you can do it!

Having had enough of Aztec and with the PM's permission to drive somewhere to exercise, I'm looking at either Bitton or Portway for the next one. And I'm hoping for some light winds, or even no wind at all.

Here are the splits - achieving these was Very Hard Work....


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