I'm writing this post on the back of a super 10.4 mile run around Gosforth today. Running with a few of the other lads, we decided to run up to the Havannah Nature Reserve and then Newcastle Race Course. The other lads stayed in a pack and were having a 1 minute walk break every 7 minutes. That walking lark is not for me though! This meant that they would catch me up for a while then drop off for a while. This really threw me off my rhythm in miles 2, 3 and 4 as you can see from the split times. Enough was enough and I decided to increase the pace and try and put some distance between myself and the pack! I kept looking over my shoulder and the gap increased through miles 5, 6 and 7 with some good controlled running. In fact, if you take out mile 8 which I used to get my breath a bit then the pace was very consistent with only a 9 second variance between the later miles. My initial plan was to fend them off until mile 7 but I felt really good and relished the challenge of being pursued. It was very similar to when Steven Moore and I raced in the Cairngorms. You can read about that day here.
When I got to the Race Course, I could see the chasing pack of Carlton Fletcher and John Brettell through the trees! They closed the gap at 9.4 miles to the length of the bridge near the 3 Mile Inn on the Great North Road. As I left the bridge they started on it. I thought for a second that they were going to catch me so I tried to increase the pace even further. I got a good rhythm and technique going and made good use of my arms just as I do up the steps on a Saturday morning. My pace was enough to see me back home first and John wasn't too far behind with Carlton nowhere to be seen!
I can't tell you how pleased I was with the final time of 01:31:58. I've actually ran 8.4 miles in around that time last year. To do 2 more miles on top of that in a similar time is very exciting indeed! I know I'm training for an ultra-distance run but part of me is wondering if, when I get down to my 1995 weight of 12 stone, will I be able to run the kinds of times that I used to run in 1995? I used to do this 3 mile run around Washington. The first 2 miles were at 00:05:30 pace with the final one at 00:06:00 pace. I'll definitely be trying that one before the year is out!
Back to the present time! That's 25.4 miles done for the week with 24.6 left to do on top of a personal training session tomorrow and Beach Bootcamp on Saturday. Today's run and a hilly 11 mile run I did last Friday in the Pennines (is there any other kind?) has really served as an indicator of where my fitness levels are. And the easier than normal personal best of 11 lots of steps on Saturday morning tells me a lot too. This is only week 10 of USA 2011 training! There are 120 weeks or so left and there is still about 3 stone to lose in weight. I'm starting to wonder just how much improvement can be made during that time? With the confidence and motivation I currently have, I reckon this is just the tip of the iceberg. I now have a genuine hunger (not the usual kind) to push myself and run further and faster every time. Confidence is sky high. I'm now looking forward to finishing off the week in style again and hitting the planned 50 mile target!