The wednesday after the Leighton 10k race (see previous blog post) was the Club's Stag handicap race. A lung busting 2.5 miles around 3 laps of a local park and industrial estate. I haven't run well in the stag for well over a year now not getting anyway near my PB set way back - 14.04.
On Wednesday I ambled up to the start not expecting much but always willing to give it 100%. I paced the first lap well using fellow club member and speedster Pete Mackrell to good effect. Pete (despite having run a 2:02 20 miler on the Sunday!) was too quick for me in the 2 lap as he pulled away. But Andy Inchley (another speed freak) caught up with me having started behind me (due to the handicap start). I latched on to him and upped my pace for the second lap trying staying with him for lap 2 and then just hung on for lap 3.
My lungs were bursting as I stuggled up the final small incline through the park to the finish. Time on my watch was 14:16 (official 14:18). A very rare return to form in the Stag. What was most pleasing was the even splits which I rarely manage to ger right. Mile 1: 5.36, Mile 2: 5.40, Mile 3 (half) 5.39 pace.
I followed this with another fast session on Sunday morning. 14 miles on the roads. Out 2 miles from home to the Leighton Tough 10 course start (undulating 10 miles on quiet country roads), and 2 miles home. I wanted to run it in 7 mpm pace and just managed this finishing in 1h37m. It was tough going though and to maintain this same pace in 2 weeks time for the Oakley 20 race (Bedford Harriers) which is my target is going to require a consistent and tough period of speed training between now and then.
I'm confident I can do it (you have to be otherwise it won't happen), and I'm enjoying a slight refocus away from long and slow training runs before I get back into it in preparation for the Fellsman. For now though I have a 20 mile PB to focus my energies....