My first race for a while, the Tintern Trot, was ... bloody hard going.
I set off steady and let the field move away from me. The course heads out along the flat for a mile or so and then climbs with undulations up to Offa's Dyke. I picked up the pace and climbed steadily, working my way through the field. I pulled effortlessly away from Helen - after first catching her towards the end of the flat section.
Then, at the high point, it all went to shit. I was completely knackered and struggled just to stay on my feet. My lack of race fitness - make that - my lack of general fitness was laid bare. Suffice to say my initial bravado at pulling past Helen was short lived as she came blasting past on the top section and down the steep descent. It made me look like I was running backwards.
I had a nice battle with a lad from Chepstow. He caught me on the last climb but I killed him off on the rocky, short descent and held on to the finish.
I really enjoyed my first race for a while. It's been a long time since I've felt sick while out running and to be honest, it felt good to be back but it was a welcome relief when the finish came into sight - Helen was only half way through her cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches by the time I finally made it in.