Having ran a pb time there last year a matter of hours after setting a 5k pb the night previous, last year, I decided to really focus on this race this time around in order to really see what I was capable of on the course.
Due to a clash of events with the northern 6 stage road relays, the front end of the Run Preston field was understandably affected, and as such there wasn't much to really push myself against as we set off, instead I had it in my head that I would have to run it as almost a time trial against myself if I was going to nail a good time. And run it like a time trial I did - as I set off at pretty much 5k pace, making the most of the downhill sections early on in the race and settling nicely into a fast rhythm.
I arrived at 2 miles at 4:55 pace, and was absolutely flying. I had probably set off a little bit too quickly, but I was concious of the fact that the second half of the course was much tougher and had plenty of uphill sections, so I wanted to be 'ahead of the rate' and with a bit of time to play with when the going got tough later on. What I hadn't factored in for was what I was about to be faced with just half a mile later, as the course dipped through a section of puddles and across to the river side, for a section of uneven terrain. I was still going strong at 2.5 miles and sub 5 minute mileing when disaster struck...
Coming around a bend and through a gate, ahead of us was two dog walkers with their 3 dogs in tow. The dogs were let loose, and I heard Shane Cliffe on lead bike asking them to put their animals on leads as runners were coming through. The response from the male owner was "its ok he won't get them". Famous last words.
As I came around the bend, the dog charged across me and wiped both legs away from underneath me as it came across. I had no time to react and by the time I came to realise what had happened I was face down in a puddle of mud, with cuts and grazes to my hands, elbows, hips, thighs and hips. I couldn't believe it.
Looking through my splits on my tomtom app, it looks as though my time on the ground cost me approximately 7 seconds.
At that point, you are faced with a split second decision, to either dust yourself down and crack on, or chuck in the towel. I was well ahead of second place, and despite my injuries was confident I could maintain my advantage. So I cracked on. In fairness to Shane, he was brilliant with me and calmed me down as I was all set to head charging off like a nutter in the aftermath and had turned he air blue with a tirade against the dog walkers (sorry to anyone that heard that!!) Shane got me to get my head together and refocus on the race. A look at my watch (I hadn't until that point) told me that I was on 5:06 average pace, and still on target for a potential pb.
I slowed through the fourth mile and Shane helped me get through that difficult patch by talking me through and giving me a target to chase. Mile 5 was back up towards where I needed to be, but I knew by this point that the damage to the time had already been done. A little wrong turn coming into the final mile out of Avenham Park didn't help matters, but I wasn't too bothered by that stage! I slowed through the finishing straight and enjoyed my moment, as I crossed the line in around 32:26 to win by some three minutes from the next runner. All things considered I am really pleased with the time I managed to post and the performance I maintained in some adversity.
Well done to all of team Wesham that came out and ran at one of the best local events on the road racing calendar. Both my mum and dad had good runs in the 5 and 10k races respectively, and well done too to Graham Vickers, Paul Carter and Stuart Topping on his comeback to racing after a lengthy battle with injury this year. Great going guys!
Tuesday was another great session with the Preston Harriers youngsters on the grass, with 4 sets of 3x2 minute reps off a 30 second recovery. I have thoroughly enjoyed these sessions as something different from the usual track work over the last month - especially with so many pacy runners to train alongside.
Wednesday was a short recovery run, Thursday was a progression run of 10 miles, and I gradually worked my pace down to below 6 minute mileing for an average pace of 6:10 for the whole run.
Friday and Saturday were both steady 45 minute runs as I rested up for Sunday's race.
Total mileage for the week: 64
Average pace for the week (m/pm): 6:40
Total mileage so far this month (September): 244
Total mileage so far 2016: 2481
Average miles per day 2016: 9.29