After what seems like an age finally did myself some justice and ran well. Build up to the evening jaunt was "interesting": overslept, legged it down to the station to find train was delayed, train crawled along before finally giving up the ghost at Kentish Town, finally got to work well late to find my mailbox full of time-wasting stupidity and generally spent the rest of the day in a foul mood. So basically was well up for releasing my frustration with a hard run and was if anything worried I’d set off like a rocket and blow up horribly after a mile. It’s probably worth pointing out that should you ever be looking for a race with the intention blowing up after mile this is the ideal one. The route is a mile loop followed by a larger 2.5 mile circuit. So after that first mile you’re back at the start and less than a minute away from the clubhouse, warm showers and most importantly the bar.
Anyway blow up I did not. Instead I did something quite incredible that I’m still struggling to come to terms with: I ran the first three miles with exactly the same lap times – to the second. I’ve no I idea how I did it, however, like night follows day, 6:36 came after 6:36 came after 6:36 (6:32 after taking allowance for watch calibration). Of course the problem was everyone else was running a ‘normal’ race i.e. starting fast and then slowing. Hence at around 2 .5 miles I pulled away from a group of runners and ended up on my own with a fair bit of clean air to the bunch ahead. But it was quite a big group and I knew from the team’s perspective finishing position was more important than time (even though I also knew I’d be way to far down the order to count for SEAC and I wasn’t actually wearing a club vest). But it felt important. So I set myself what I considered to be a pretty tough challenge: catch and overtake ten people in the last mile. And so in true Hollywood epic style bit by bit I closed the gap and one by one picked off the runners ending with a final kick at 100 metres to out-sprint the 10th runner to line – oh to see the slow-motion replay.
And so there it was: 3.48 miles (according to Garmin) in 22:33; an average race pace of 6:29 min/mile (or 4:02 min/km for the more metric minded). A very satisfying run even if I was the last SEAC home. The rest of the evening is but a haze of running to/from railway stations and drinking beer.
Bad day turns into good day – I like it.