Last weekend was a weekend off for me - no event booked - so I cycled down to my local Parkrun at Bramhall Park for a 3.125-mile run under the pressure of competition from schoolkids up to OAPs. I wasn't expecting much from myself. I'd gone to seed, speedwise, since the Western States debacle. (I still have stomach issues that have re-emerged; they could be a legacy of my radiotherapy treatment in 2003, as I was reminded by the doctor at my recent Christie checkup.) I had done no short, fast runs because I'd rediscovered the pleasure (and ease) of blasting to work on the bicycle since the Manchester-to-Blackpool bike ride.
I predicted I'd be about a minute down with my 5k time. I pushed as hard as I could go all the way round but I could sense I was slower than I should be. I felt slow, ponderous and unfit. I wasn't overtaken on the final straight like I normally am but my time of 22:31 turned out to be a Personal Worst on this course and exactly 1 minute down on my PB in May (don't believe the latest times on the website; they're very generous). It was great to catch up again with Andy Shirres again afterwards.
Right, time to make reparations. I started running to work again this week. What a chore! It feels like I'm a beginner, starting running from scratch. Monday was a slog. Today was slightly easier. I hope tomorrow and Thursday are easier still to set me up for the Lakeland 50 at the weekend. I was registered for the 100 but I saw sense and downgraded to the minimum necessary to keep the Vasque Grand Slam dream alive. I expect it to be tough.