Very cold once again but no wind so after a 4km warm-up it was perfect for running. The course was a 10km loop and after speaking to a few marshals it didn't sound too bad. A few drags but mainly flat I was told....
A small enough field of about 100 hardy souls. The race started with a countdown from 10 (novel!) and we were racing. I went straight to the front and concentrated on following the lead vehicle. The first km was very twisty and soon passed in 3:10 but I was aware of another runner just behind me. We then started to climb which was pretty much the trend for the next 4km. Not a steep climb but a gradual rise that meant you were constantly working hard. This was reflected in the km splits for 2, 3, 4 and 5 of 3:23, 3:24, 3:18 and 3:16 respectively. So I was 16:31 at halfway and felt in decent shape but I was still aware of the runner just behind me.
At 5km the top of the climb had been reached. The next 5km I was hoping would be quick and sure enough the trend was basically downhill for the run home. The 6th km passed in 3:09 after a nice gradual downhill section and then the descent became a little steeper. I was liking this but was conscious that I didn't have the leg-speed to really take advantage of it. Sure enough the 7th km was a 3:16 and should have been a 3 flat. I was hanging on.
The 8th km was another very generous downhill stretch but again I was disappointed to run another 3:16. A further missed opportunity. So 8km in 26:12 so still in with a good shot of a PB with a strong run home. But unlike last week I was spent and didn't have the legs to finish off this race. The 9th km was basically flat and a 3:18 meant I was still there or thereabouts but my mindset was that any slight hill in the last km was going to finish me. Sure enough there were 2 or 3 slight climbs up to the finish and that put pay to my time as I crossed the line in 32:48. That's 4 seconds slower than last Sunday....
I was slightly downbeat post race but I have to take a lot of positives from this race. It was definitely a tougher course. I didn't feel as fresh. 2 sub 33's in 7 days. Another win (just - by 15 seconds or so)!
It's a horrible feeling have someone run just behind you all race. Never sure what the hell is happening!
I finished up with a 3km warm-down. All up 17km for the day. Back to the sports hall for hot soup, bread and 6 (six) Kit Kats. Lovely. My prize today - wine. Finally something I can put to good use.
So the next race will be the XC a week tomorrow. It's a 10km course and I'll take a sub 35 if offered.