Anyway fast forward to the present day (or yesterday to be more accurate) and seemingly fully recovered I hit the Leighton 10 mile loop. This is not a flat course with plenty of testing undulating parts and a few short sharp climbs thrown in too. It was a cold foggy start so I wrapped up warm in 3 layers, gloves and hat and set out to run 2 laps of the course. This was make or break time now as I have little time left to train and so wanted to know what kind of shape I am in. So the plan was simple. This wasn't a LSR instead I would run it pretty much in race mode.
My target finish time was between 2:20-2:30. But that could be wildly optimistic. The first loop was much harder than I had counted on. My breathing was hard and my pace not quite where I wanted it. I completed the first loop in 1:14 (7:25mpm pace). 25 secs per mile off where I ideally wanted to be but the hills took some of this time and it was still a soild first 10 miles. The second 10 miles would be tougher but I dug deep and was determined not to let my average pace drop below 7:30mpm. I ran the second loop in reverse to keep things more interesting and attack the hills from the opposite direction which was definitely harder on some sections.
I just focused on one mile at a time running hard and keeping my pace high. It worked and whilst I was getting weary I held my pace, attacked the hills and maintained a good pace on the flats. I finished in 2:28 and maintained a 7:25mpm avg pace for the 20 miles. I was dead pleased with the way I ran the second 10 miles, whilst hopefully bodes well for my speed endurance at SNOD. So maybe just maybe I'm still in with a shot of challenging my PB (3:26) set at SNOD last year but its not going to be easy.
I'm planning to maintain the intensity of my training over the next 2 weeks and only really thing about tapering in the final week. Hopefully this way I will arrive on the start line in race form. We shall see....