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

DB Max Chilly 10k - Castle Combe - February 2017

My first road race since the illness of 2012 that essentially put me back at square one! So this was to be my benchmark time, my new lifetime PB (taking my lifetime as having restarted on 21/9/12, which as far as I'm concerned it did). My usual triumph of optimism over experience, fuelled by decent one-mile and two-mile times over New Year 7 weeks earlier, meant that I was daring to dream of a sub 40 finish...


In fact the main reason I was racing was to keep Kokila company on her quest to race 5 10k events for her 50th birthday - this was the first, and like me she'd had some encouraging runs on the trip to Greece that made her optimistic, with something around 1:13 in her sights. Dave came with us, and as he was in proper race shape after some regular speedwork I was sure he'd go sub 40, maybe well under, but he was racing with his HRM and not intending to floor it.

In the event, Dave clocked an excellent 38.30, Kokila exceeded her expectations and ran around 1:11 and I was disappointed in one way (40:41, not the sub 40 I'd secretly hoped for) but encouraged in another (I ran 4-minute KM pace for just under 7k, and finished 5th in category out of 64).

My lap times, which are of no interest to anyone except me, were:

3.48, 3.50, 3.57, 4.10, 3.51, 4.07, 4,21, 4.04, 4.17, 4,17

I'm guessing the last 2 as I didn't reset my watch properly so I only got a 2k split of 8.34.

The start had felt good, but I'd been concious of the fact that it didn't feel massively different to the start of a 2 miler so I was clearly off too fast! I thought perhaps I might sustain that 3.50 ish pace for 5k though and even if I slumped to 4.10 after that I'd still even out at 4 mins per k....of course my lack of tempo or interval training showed through after 5k and I struggled on, staying on target, past 6k hoping I might hang on or get a second wind. At 7k though I was dying and seeing the watch at 28.04 I knew I was unlikely to hold on. I battled all the way through though, from start to finish, and despite missing the target by a long way (41 seconds is no close shave) I was encouraged to see that I can keep up that target pace for most of the distance.

The other concern apart from a lack of speed-endurance was my sore calf - I warmed up with Dave on a brisk 2-miler then jogged and did strides, but as I came to the end of that routine my left calf was feeling sore - I had strained it a few weeks earlier and this was my first race since. Alarming that it had started to hurt even before the start!

I went for it anyway and after finishing it was hurting just to walk - luckily some compression, light jogging and self-massage got it pain-free by mid afternoon, which means it's nowhere near as bad as when I tweaked it a few weeks ago. No speedwork for now though, until I've got that calf sorted. Well, there's always something, isn't there?

Today was my 24th anniversary of become a disciple of Sri Chinmoy back in 1993 - a special anniversary for me, so it was good to get out there and push myself to the limit. I didn't leave anything out there on the track this time.

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