When you least expect it

Good morning!  I’m slightly out of sync, having jogged and logged last night but not had time to squeeze my blog in before heading for a lovely evening with friends.

So I sit on the sofa, still stuffed with Doritos, garlic bread, pizza and Millionaire’s cheesecake.  And salad.  It must have been the salad that made me this full.  It certainly couldn’t have been the third of a cheesecake that I gorged on.  Definitely the salad.

After finishing work last night I needed to get home and go for a run sharpish so that we could go and pick up G and Jenny in my new motor (The Wife had unselfishly volunteered to drive so I could have a beer, and she could have her first go in it!) and head to Becky and Stu’s.

I had set my mind on doing a 5k but I wasn’t sure what route to take.  I have a 5k route that takes in a local lake, as mentioned in an earlier post but I’ve been sort of avoiding it for almost two weeks.  I’m not entirely sure why because it’s a beautiful place to run.  I’m thinking that in my head it doesn’t fit with my self-imposed focus on speedwork.  It’s a twisty route, involves a couple of major road crossings and the undulating gravel paths around the lake all make me think I’m going to be slower.  Certainly the times I’ve posted when doing it haven’t been my quickest.

Ultimately I wasn’t hoping for much.  The focus was getting more than a 3k done, so off I went at a comfortable yet brisk pace.  I clocked up the first kilometre in a very respectable 4m56 and, in the words of Nina Simone, I was feeling good!  The next few hundred metres posed a few obstacles that would slow me down – the entry and exit slips of the A40 and the gate into the lake.  And then it’s the dreaded start of 1500m of twisty, undulating, gravel paths.

Despite all of this I managed to record successive kilometres of 4m50 & 4m52.  And I still felt good.  It’s at this point that a thought started creeping into my head.  Will this be it?  Could it be?  Would I be able to secure a sub-25 minute 5k?

Of course not I told my self, trying to keep my feet metaphorically on the ground while trying not to slow down.  The fourth kilometre of this route was a relatively tough one – it was back through the gate, a slight uphill past the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, crossing Station Lane (which is by no means a lane anymore, with its busy after work traffic) and then around the Leys, which I always find the hardest when I include it on my 3k loop).  I plodded on, easing off to feel a little more comfortable with the aim of hitting the final kilometre hard.

Imagine my surprise as I pass the 4km point in 19m47 – I’m still on sub-5 minute kilometres.  My easing off, while making me much more comfortable, had only put 16 seconds on my time (compared to my average pace at that point).

It was at this point when everything changed.  This WAS it! I could really do it.  Suddenly I was finding energy in my legs.  My lungs were struggling to keep up but my head told them to buck up – it would be over in just a few minutes.

The final kilometre is a familiar one, up past the back of the Henry Box School, my old comprehensive, into the Crofts where I grew up and my parents still live before a decent downhill stretch of Saxon Way, before a sprint finish into Queen Emma’s to clock up the 5k.  Phew, done.  I stood with my hands on my knees, apologetically allowing my lung to catch up.

Unstrapping my iPhone from my arm I press “End workout”.  I didn’t really clock what the nice lady told me about my time and pace and before I knew it Lance Armstrong was congratulating me on securing my personal best 5k time.  I’d done it!  And on inspection, I found it wasn’t just a Nike+ best (I’ve only started using it this year), this was a fully-fledged, all time PERSONAL BEST!  What a great start to the second half of Juneathon.

“Get in!”, I exclaim to The Wife as I walk through the door, just as she responds “That was quick!”.

It certainly was, and just when I least expected it.

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