Kingsbury Classic 10k

What a nightmare start to 2019 and for most of 2018 for that matter.  The issue with my right ankle joint first happened at the end of January 2018 that eventually got resolved around September.  I managed to get a couple of months of treadmill based training in with some gym work, only for my left Achilles to flare up during December.  I've then been pretty much out of action until March where I've started the long path of trying to get some fitness back.

Such has been the issues there have been several times where I've come close to calling it a day, but am hopeful that I'm over the worst.  Nonetheless its a long road ahead and I'm very sensitive to any minor aches and pains coming from the ankle area.  Only in the last 3-4 weeks have I gradually progressed from the treadmill to road and it feels at times like I'm having to start everything from scratch i.e. learning paces, accrued muscle fatigue etc.  At the moment the priority has been time on the feet rather than doing any key session work.  On the positive side, the gym work I was doing whilst out of action has ensured that I've kept a good core level of leanness and fitness.  Hopefully all the pieces will start to click together again, assuming my body stays in one piece!

I entered the Kingsbury Classic 10k at fairly short notice as it is a local fairly low key event and it would give me a good idea of what it is like to race again.  Whilst it has an unusual 7.15pm midweek start its a nice little race with a variety of surfaces to contend with.  Despite this, I was extremely nervous that is probably linked to all the problems I've had over the last year, having not done any speed sessions and worried about whether I would finish the race injury free.

Start - Very nervous.

Historically the winning times are a little bit on the slow side due to the low key nature of the event.  The plan was therefore to try and keep things fairly easy in the first half of the race, not to go off like a madman and see how things pan out after the first 2-3k.  The start of the race more or less transcribed how I thought it would and I tucked in behind the leader at 3.34 and 3.38 for the first couple of km.  I sort of felt comfortably uncomfortable, it felt harder than it should have been at that pace so I was reluctant to make any move.  The following 2k was more or less at a similar pace - 3.30 and 3.38 but at this point I sensed things slowing and I sort of organically took the lead even though it wasn't really my intent.

Just before the end of the 5th km at the end of the first lap I decided to make my move, knowing that it was an almost certainty that picking up the pace would be decisive.  I went through in 3.30 (due to the slow early part of the km), followed by 3.15, 3.22, 3.16 and 3.25.  Whilst the final km was short it was averaged at about 3.05ish pace and so I crossed the line in a time of 33.13 about 1.30 ahead of 2nd place.  I still felt pretty good as I crossed the line and felt that I had more in the tank and frankly it was just good to race again.  The time is fairly meaningless as the course is not accurately measured and as the majority is off road, including sizeable chunks being run on lush grassy paths.  Despite this it demonstrates that I'm in an ok place at the moment and hopefully I can shake off the remaining rust with a few more good weeks of training.

Coming into view near the finish

Crossing the line.

It was slightly disappointing that I overhead members of a certain local club 'accusing' me behind my back that I always race like I did at Kingsbury i.e. put the afterburners on in the second half and leaving everyone behind.  It is far from the truth and can only think of one other instance where I have done that (Wheaton Aston 10k in 2017 - where it snowed at the start and I just wasn't really up for it).  There was a very good reason for the way I ran at Kingsbury and its a shame that it was clearly viewed with a negative undertone.  I know 90% of people have been very encouraging and hopefully it was just one or two individuals with their own motives and axe to grind.

I have no immediate plans at the moment and want to keep things fairly low key for the time being.  If I can stay injury free over the next couple of months I may then start to think about setting some strategic goals.  In the meantime I may look for a few shorter races that gives me a good benchmark of my current fitness.


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