Well today was the day and, as per my suspicion, I'm not quite ready for 1:20. I set off on 6 minute 5s pace (and if anything just a tad quicker which probably added to the burning). I was through 5miles in 30:23 (an unofficial Pb by about 1 minute 15) still feeling good. The hill at mile 6 to 7 was made harder by a tough wind. It was after mile eight that I began to slow and the slowing was pretty damn rapid. Still managed to get through ten miles in another unofficial Pb of 61:39 (by about 1 minute 40). But by then my average pace had dropped to 6:10's and continued to drop. I was f***ed ... I mean spent.
The last three miles were all about hanging on. It was tough. With the wind picking up into your face it was not the most enjoyable twenty minutes I've ever had. My pace over the last three miles was shocking, 6:50's. I just could not go any quicker. Each time I tried to inject some pace I came up blank. I had nothing left in the tank.
My finishing time (unofficially) was 1:22:53. Amazingly, this is exactly the same as my time at Bristol, and I mean to the second! I'm hoping my official chip time will by rounded down to 52s but it could, I guess, go the other way. We'll just have to wait and see.
So, am I disappointed? Not really. I pretty much knew that I wasn't quite ready to go sub 1:20. I don't blame the conditions either. Although there was a bit of wind, the conditions were pretty good. It was cool and the rain held off for the most part. The cold truth is that I'm just not quite ready to run that quick. It was a good learning experience though. To find out what I could or, in this case, couldn't do. At the start of the year I was targeting this race at Stroud to go sub 1:25. I achieved this and more. Setting numerous Pb's at distances from 5k to half marathon. All in all it's been a good year and I don't feel in any way disappointed. In fact, my unofficial timings at five and ten miles have given me a big boost (and these timings are based on my GPS distance/time which were pretty much exactly to the race distance markings). I believe I can definitely break 30 minutes for five miles and get down to 61 minutes for ten.
Now you'll have to excuse me as I'm off to find the next available five and ten mile races!