This was a familiar course at one of our gatherings on the outskirts of Paris. 2 years previously I'd been battling it out with Pierre from Marseilles to come in second in around 12.30. This time it was cold & damp & I was tired so I had only one aim - give it all I'd got. From the off it was myself and Dave who went to the front - Suswara was taking it easy after a recent illness, Prabala wasn't in shape for a flat out run for some reason and Pierre was marshaling rather than running. Perhaps he needed a break after several months of high daily milage across the USA on the Peace Run! Soon it became obvious that Dave wasn't going flat out either - perhaps those hard interval sessions with Bristol & West meant he had to throttle back a bit. So, I edged in front of Dave and ran at my modest race pace. He tucked in behind for a minute or two but as we pulled away from the rest he nosed in front and stayed there on the uphill outbound leg.
I stayed with him from the turn back down to the start (half way point) but he opened up a nice gap as we climbed the incline into the forest for a second time. The course was perfect for a Joy Day race - a closed road in a tranquil forest. Only the slope made it a slow race - but I'm no stranger to slopes so I had no problem with that. Coming back down for the second time I suddenly had to slow as I was at full stretch and couldn't live with the pace required to keep Dave in sight. I was satisfied with that though - I hadn't held anything back. I puffed my way over the line in 12.50, 20 seconds behind Dave and 20 seconds behind my own time of 2014, but I was more than satisfied with that.
No repercussions so far as I write so my dodgy calf and dodgy achilles were none the worse for a 2 mile effort. Next up the plan is to complete my RRtY cycling challenge then switch back to running over the winter. 12 minutes for 2 miles is still the target, but who knows if the body will permit it.
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