I had a great run this morning. One minute and 41 seconds quicker than last year - result. Conditions were reasonable although it was windy in places - and that wasn't last night's bean curry. I felt good in the first few miles but then lost a few places during miles four and five - I began to wonder if I'd gone off too quick and was slowing.
And then the curse of mile six struck again - the same mile six as in the race a few years ago where I got a chronic stitch that lasted for pretty much the rest of the race - a few moments of panic ensued but fortunately this time around it only lasted a further few minutes and I didn't lose anything.
From there on it was focus focus focus. I had an eye on the clock and the other on the runners just ahead. I worked all the way up 'the hill' at mile eight and then pushed over the top to the turn. From there the next couple of miles were into the wind and required more focus.
I got a lift - no, not in a car - and a cheer at Hawkesbury-Upton from Helen, supporting with the dogs in tow. From there the final couple of miles were tough but I was determined. I gained another three of four places on the run in before crossing the line in 1:32:12 and those magical 101 seconds quicker than last year.
I reckon we're going to see sub 1:30 in a fortnight's time at the Forest of Dean Half. With this morning ascent weighing in at 1,250ft I can't see the forest half being as hilly. I wasn't sure I'd get inside ninety even again but now I reckon I will.
I've been looking back on my previous Hogweed times and my best is not, in fact, 1:26 as mentioned in a previous post, it's 1:28:31 set back in 2007, five months after I ran my current Half PB of 1:22:51 at Stroud, so I was in top form at the time. That puts today's run at only 3 minutes 41 seconds slower so I'm even more chuffed.