It's a fine, fine race this one. Only five and a bit miles, but run on the soft turf of Cleeve Hill on an evening after work it's got all the ingredients needed to leave you with that knackered glow of post race buzz. Low key and informal - I like that.
This was my third running of this race, but I was least prepared. The motivation had been taking another nose dive and the fascia band in my right foot was painful; I hadn't dragged myself out for a run for well over a week. Still, any excuse to pop a brufen...
A fast pace south along the top of the scarp, using the gradient to pick up speed when we can. I'm doing some heavy breathing in time to some rhythm or another and my lower legs just feel dull, but as we turn uphill towards the masts I count the runners ahead and realise with surprise that I'm in tenth place.
The stronger guys start coming through soon enough though, but I'm digging-in, trying me best and I overtake a few on the familiar descent down to the wash pool. The climb out the other side from here is quite steep and drawn out higher up and I resort to power walking towards the end in an attempt to gather some breath back.
A few heavy drops fall begin to fall. I could do with a downpour but it's holding off...
Then pick up the pace again. Pissed off about losing places. It feels like an awful speedwork session - that shaky sense that everything is about to flop. Do I like doing this? Right now I'm not sure, but I am convinced all of a sudden that I could run better if I had more upper body strength.
Overtake two on the way up the last hill to the trig. Emit a loud 'uuuuurrrrgh' on the top in response to the way my body's feeling.
Then it's the long turfy descent back to the start and I make a place back only to lose it again almost straight away when we get onto the track. A Gloucester runner over cruises past. I know I won't catch the guys ahead but hammer it as hard as I can anyway.
Over the line and throw myself down on the grass to get down to some serious oxygen absorption.
The pint of guinness and salty crisps hit the spot during the prizegiving and later.
A great evening17th overall. 6th MV40. 36m42s. Last year was 39min ish.
A recent photo by Mike. As you can see, running is not a glamourous hobby!!