My aching legs told me that last Sunday’s hard effort at the Dewsbury 10K took its toll – they felt heavy most of the week. I couldn’t face the Club speed session on Tuesday evening, I was too knackered, so I shuffled around for the early part of the week, barely managing to break 8 minute mile pace.
I still managed to clock up a respectable 62 miles this week – running miles on tired legs is a fact of life in marathon training.
I treated myself to a day off on Friday, eager to have a go at a parkrun on Saturday morning. Cold rain and a breezy day erased thoughts of trekking off to one of the faster flat courses to the east of Leeds (York, Heslington or maybe even Hull) and instead I went back to my spiritual home at Woodhouse Moor.
Milling around in the throng before the start I didn’t notice many of the usual speedies.
I went off the start quite hard and freewheeled down first downhill straight. Amazingly, after 400 metres I was leading the field.
Often at Woodhouse Moor a few runners pass me on the drag up to the first kilometre marker, but not this time. I could hear other runners close behind, but I decided to get my head down and press on.
I went through the first mile in a smidge under six minutes and was still leading at the halfway mark. Shortly afterwards, two runners eased passed me, though I managed to keep them in my sights, maybe within 10 – 15 metres. They weren’t obviously running more strongly than me, I fantasized: maybe I can hang on and do them in the finishing straight.
It was a perishing day with a cheeky breeze. The course is nearly all tarmac, but there is a 100m muddy downhill section past the skate park on each lap. My Hoka Clayton shoes have about the same amount of traction as a bowling shoe and I almost came to a complete stop on the muddy slope undoubtedly costing me a few seconds each lap.
At the 4K marker I was still in third. I gathered myself and tried to close the gap, but I was having to do a lot of weaving around other parkrunners.
With around 600 metres to go, a tall lanky young lad flew past from nowhere and surged ahead, going on to take the win. I caught the third placed runner at the final corner, but I couldn’t do any more and finished third in 18:26.
Given the conditions, I was pleased with that – third is my second best ever result at Woodhouse Moor (I once finished first many years ago on a snowy day when there were just 50 runners).
On Sunday, I dragged myself up to the reservoirs and ground out a dour 20 miler. I didn’t enjoy it much, I was fatigued and a much of the running was into a bitter cold wind. It took me exactly three hours and it felt like a right old chore.
But I did it.
Comrades 2018 -17 weeks
11 stone 3.8 lbs
62.4 miles, longest run 20.1 miles. Woodhouse Moor parkrun : 18:26 (3rd)
RunBritain Handicap 3.0
Aerobic efficiency 1,047 heartbeats per mile