Straight after Peterborough there was cake, and lots of it, followed by a family holiday to Great Yarmouth that involved even more cake.  It was great to have some quality family time with Madelaine and the boys but as they say, time flies when you're having fun!!  It wasn't long before we were back home and back to the routine of normal life.

November involved a few races with some decent results.  The National Cross Country Relays took place at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield, which consisted of 4 x 5k legs of furious cross country racing.  As a team we finished 23rd overall on the day.  This was followed up a couple of weeks later with another cross country race, the Midlands 7 XC Championship at Bulwell Hall Park.  This time I was part of the winning team on the day to take the gold medal.  The following week was then the University of Leicester relays.  3k of what felt like sprinting, I don't think I've felt so shattered after a race before!  It was great to again be part of the winning team on the day, showing some of the students that us older guys can still run a bit!

During the weeks following Peterborough I’d also been reflecting back on the race and nagging thoughts kept coming into my mind.   At some point in the past I remember reading a phrase that had stuck in my head,

“you don’t always get what you want in life but you will eventually get what you deserve”

Now despite being very happy to run a PB, in my mind I hadn’t ran the time I wanted nor ran the time I thought I deserved.  I wanted to run sub 69 minutes and personally felt the effort I’d put into my training I deserved to run the time sub 69 minutes.  I was confident on the day but the conditions weren’t ideal.  Then the hypothetical what if’s started.  What if the weather was better?  What if it was a dry day?  Would I have ran the time I wanted, and deserved?  This is when I started thinking about a new target to work towards. 

Telford 10k was coming up in December, a race that has a reputation for being a fast course that attracts a very strong field with a great chance of a PB and finishing the year on high.   There was also the Nottingham Christmas half marathon but this was the week before Telford.  Was it another crack at a sub 69 minute half marathon or a sub 32 minute 10k. 

As it turned out the conditions dictated and the 20mph head wind at Holme Pierrepoint on race day meant the decision was made for me.  The four and a half laps of the lake became a long hard run and a large helping of mental strength training.  A big positive though was that it was great to be able to see the happy smiles of Madelaine and the boys several times to cheer me on. 

 After the first lap the eventual winner,  had built up a decent gap even just after the first lap. 

I did have some company though, running at least half of the race with Simon Birch from Hinckley Running Club before he dropped off.  and I finished second on the day with a time of 1:12:05 and a Christmas bonus for my coach! 



The focus then switched to recovery to make sure I was ready for Telford.

On race day it wasn’t far off ideal conditions although the rain overnight had meant the course was wet with plenty of puddles.  Arriving early meant I was able to get a decent warm up in and arrived at the start line ready with the adrenaline pumping through my veins.  It was a frantic start in a tightly packed group racing off down the slope to get onto the two lap part of the course.   

I managed to work together with an old club mate from Hermitage Harrriers, Paul Featherstone, who was also chasing the same target.  Working our way together through the field going through 5k in 15:45 I knew I had my work cut out to maintain that pace for the second half of the race.  As it turned out we couldn’t and I ran 16:09 to come across the line in 31:54 (31:55 for Paul to finish 3rd V40) and mission accomplished. 

After starting 2018 with running a 10k PB at Bolsover in 32:28 it was great to finish the year on a high with a new PB of 31:54 to help answer my “what if” questions knowing that breaking the 69 minute barrier should now only be a matter of time. 

It was then my turn to support Madelaine in her PB attempt.  I couldn't it go without a mention as she had a great race to run a new PB of 49:00, shaving 1:25 off her 10k time from January!!  Madelaine too has had a great running year and has now set herself the goal of completing the London marathon raising money for the mental health charity Mind.

As always with the shorter road races I raced in my Cloudflash at the Nottingham Half and Telford 10k, which is by far and away my favourite racing shoe that On have to offer. It's a great shoe, very light and extremely comfortable!  For now though Christmas is coming, and like the goose, I'm likely to be getting fat....


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