Race day. 7.30 a.m., the body longs for extra time in bed but needs must. Head through the curtains. No snow, no rain, no wind. What happened to the "severe weather warning"! Today's low key 5 miler will be the only real hard effort in this 2 week period between 2 half marathons. Last week's average pace was 7.14 over the 13.1 miles. Though I think the Blackpool half is still in the legs I'm hoping for something better than that pace but if nothing else the race will serve as an excellent tempo run with company. The pace will definitely be better than I could possibly achieve doing a tempo 5 alone.
The journey to PRESTON takes little more than an hour, the venue is easy to find and there's no problem parking and entering . We tend to think of the Lancashire town as being inland but it once was a working port; the destination for cargoes of cotton and woodpulp transported across the seas and then up the River Ribble. But over the years trade was lost to competing ports, so in 1979 the decision was made to redevelop the site. Today, the port is surrounded on three sides by apartments ,offices, restaurants and pubs.
Not unsimilar to Salford Quays.
A better third mile 6.53 but I've virtually lost sight of my M60 adversary who I calculate by markers is 30 seconds ahead. A fair few of the early flyers are coming back to me now but not his group aren't, not surprising, as the 4th mile has taken 7.00. Another corner and the gap is down to 20 seconds or so. His group is breaking up and they do appear to be coming back to me as they start to fade.
The hamstrings are really tight now from last week's race. Do I settle for 2nd and just run in strongly, not risking a major pull or do I go for it? My natural competitive instinct kicks in and I surge to reel them in
.....the gap is closing.....but in the last mile we're having to thread through slow lapped runners. Thoughts of Billy Mills (U.S.A.) in that unforgettable 10000 metres final Tokyo 1964, thoughts of yesterday's front runners lapping the backmarkers. I try to clear a line, shouting "Keep left!". By now I'm picking off my rival's group, one by one , until I come up behind him on a very narrow section with 1/4 mile to go. I go for a gap and sprint away to the finish. The last mile has taken a very pleasing 6.32! I can't get anywhere near that pace for mile reps by myself in training!
Running back up the course I meet my wife Pat having her own personal battle. She too is working hard to the line and nudges ahead of her younger rivals. Well done, Pat!
running faster for twice the distance! Still a first is a first, as they say. Not to be outdone Pat was also first in the F60 group in 180th place in 44.45.
So a good day for the Lonergan family. Pat and I managed a rare double and Preston goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan had a great turnout for the fund raising events.
Another race ticked off that I'd never done before but whether it will become an annual one we will have to wait and see. Based at a Health Club (Carrefour) we were able to enjoy a nice shower in a top class facility, followed by a nice lunch on the journey back to Yorkshire. Nice one!
We were back home just in time to watch the Red Devils, Manchester United, retain the Carling Cup
beating Aston Villa 2-1.