Another cold breezy day. Jules had come back up from Portsmouth to run this with me, and we were nice and early cycling to the start in the University Parks. The crowds seemed even bigger than usual and although I didn’t see anyone I knew before the start there were likely to be a few people from work and so on amongst the runners.
After a little warm up I lined up, feeling pretty good despite yesterday’s efforts so I decided to commit to an early fast pace and see where that got me. Off the gun we had the wind behind down the first kilometre or so and I went through that in a crazy 3:36. I’d hoped to find someone tall to shelter behind on the slog up the high street but ended up following a diminutive woman, oops. After all that I settled into a couple of 4-minute kms and then we were round the Norham Gardens loop and past the 5km board in a speedy 19:32. I was still feeling OK as I crossed paths with Jules, waving and smiling, running past her 3km marker.
I managed to keep striding out for the second half of the race but the early pace got to me as we came back into the parks for the final 3km. I just couldn’t stay with the bunch I’d been running with and my pace slipped to 4:11 and then 4:14. I didn’t help that I could feel my right quad niggling again. Although I managed to lift myself for a last lunge to the line the damage had been done and a second half 21:14 saw me cross the line in 40:46, 4 seconds slower than last year.
I jogged about for a bit and managed to cheer Jules as she ran through 9km before heading back to collect my kitbag. Jules finished in a 1:03:30, pretty good considering how much her training has been interrupted by paramedic shifts.