This was thrown in as a late race.. Having been injured in September and not had a good race since the World Champs I wanted a confidence booster before JFK50 miler the following week..
September was a mess, following the 50k I had more and more hip issues and eventually saw a UK physio who diagnosed me as chronically fatigued with tight, weak, glutes, piriformas, psoas.. basically anything which stabilised me during running.... and gave em a programme to follow, but it meant Berlin was out for sure..
This was arguably far too close, but I was training well. Having worked through my hip issues I was back to 90 mile weeks and had done 3 solid 20 milers, with one around race pace of 6:40 minute miles, on top of that Ts’otleho and I had been hitting the heide again.. we’d done two runs out there at 7:30 am and had done them at around 6:15 minute mile pace, around as quick as we’ve ever done them before. Add in a few nice interval sessions and I knew I was back to my fitness levels before the world champs.
My current pb was 1:15:09 set in wind and on my own at the front so in an elite field I thought 1:14 something possible. I emailed the race director and sorted a seeded spot meaning I started with the elite field. Despite having flown in the day before I felt pretty good and had semi tapered to 75 miles for the week.
The only hiccup was Gwen forgetting her GPS watch so at 6 am I gave in and offered her mine, as this wasn’t a crucial race. Despite the time of year and early hours, mid November, the weather was good and it was perfect temperatures. Toilets were an issue but it was all good by the time we started. The atmosphere in the front corral was great, there’s no real competition because we all care about times, not positions at such a big race, so it was great to chat to other runners, and meet US based UK runners.
Having no watch I started conservatively, it felt easy and before long we went through 1 mile in 5:25. which was way too quick.. I eased off got chatting and asked for paces and everyone was aiming for around 72-73.. so I decided to hang on. We went through 3 miles bang on 16:30.. every mile marker has a clock. I was now sat in with a girl from Burundi, a lad from NY and a girl from Kenya and the miles ticked by. almost bang on we were 5:30-5:35 to the 10k point in 34:18.. only 25 seconds off my 10 k pb.. averaging 5:31 pace but I felt OK. We pushed on and soon hit the hills as we entered Fairmont Park.
I feltw e all slowed here but kept the miles in the5’s and clicked through but the group started to dissipate which may have cost us a tad. Knowing I was on for a pb I tried to hang on in and use anyone overtaking me to pull me along. The course drops back to the river, and is then a flat 2.5 miles back to the art gallery, with a final short climb and descent and I finished in 1:13:36.. a pb by just over 90 seconds..
With the hills, no huge taper, trans-atlantic flight the day before I’m confident 72 something is attainable and will look for that at Bath half in March.
A nice confidence booster before the JFK 50 miler, demonstrates I am fitter than I have been its now just about if I can hold up following recent injury issues.