2 Mile Race, Vieussan, France, June 2014

It's always a challenge to find a decent 2 mile course at very short notice in the middle of nowhere, but as usual when we visit France, Unnatishil from Paris was determined to put something on for us and he came up with something very interesting, beautiful and, er, challenging. Starting on the bridge over the river Orb in Vieussan, a historic village in a steep-sided valley in the Cevennes, the course soon started to climb the valley side, becoming progressively steeper until the second half was actually a zig zag up a seriously steep ascent. It was only 800m long so our traditional race distance of 2 miles was going to require 2 out-and-back laps.

I started at what now feels like a brisk pace (no idea how fast that actually is) and tucked myself in behind three decent runners - Suswara, Dave and Ashcharjya. Still on the recovery trail from achilles trouble I had to run conservatively, but I knew from recent training that uphill would, surprisingly, be easier than down. It was on the downs that I had had a few twinges, and injury number 2 (patella tendon, still sore from a cycle ride at the end of last year) would also be aggravated by a hard downhill on the road. So the gameplan was to work hard uphill, take it carefully coming down and do everything I could to push myself without damaging anything! So many times I've been in this position I'm kind of used to it. As we reached the slope I eased past Ashcharjya but to challenge the 2 leaders would have been risky, and fruitless too as they could easily have upped their pace, both of them being much fitter than me based on recent races. I set myself the target of staying in touch with them and until the very last downhill it was going to plan. The first ascent left me a little breathless, the second was a really good workout. By the time I pushed hard across the ancient bridge to the finish line I felt like you should feel after a hard run. Not race pace by any means, but 13.13 was very pleasing on that hilly course (probably a short course to be fair, as that's the kind of time I'd expect on a flatter road right now).

So, after false starts, injuries recurring, new injuries cropping up, etc. etc. am I actually back to running now? No ill effects after that 2 miler so fingers crossed I may even be able to break 13 minutes in Ipswich and think about a 10k later this year. God willing :)

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