and I don't just mean the weather. I had another fabutastic race. True, I didn't score as many championship points as at the Hogweed Half but 96 points for fifth Chepstow Harrier home ain't bad - especially considering the cream of the Chepstow crop were out. We had four in the top ten so my fifth counter, 14th overall, wasn't too shabby and like last week, it was a large field. 108 runners buoyed up by the fact it was an East Wales Championship race as well.
So, to the race. I started towards the front but on the first climb I dropped back down the field. Either the cumulative sum of all my training miles were finally taking there toll or there were going to be a few runners suffering later on in the race. For those who don't know the race, the Sugar Loaf race comes in two varieties the cool winter version and today's variety, the fruity summer serenade. At only seven miles and 1,700feet of ascent it was a little short for me.
By the top of the first ascent I was two minutes quicker than last year to the same point - that was a worry. I was still well down the field, probably outside the top thirty, but it felt like too much of a time gain. What the hell was happening?
Then, after the mile and a half section across the flat I'd gained another minute but was still well down the field, although I had improved my position a little. Shortly there after we started the final climb up to the Sugar Loaf and fortunately I began to make some decent headway. Nearing the top my arch nemesis came into view, Matthew L - he's not really, but we've had some close battles over the last couple of years. He hit the top first but with the fast descent to come I knew the race was mine. Regrettably though, I'd lost much of the time I'd gained over last year's race to that point but I was still to the good but only by thirty seconds - boo.
Finally it was time for the rapid descent - not quite into hell, but Abergavenny is pretty close. I gained a few more places before hitting the final road section and then another few more to finally emerge onto the finishing field in 13th place only to be out sprinted by some young whipper snapper - and he made me look like I was walking he was so quick.
I crossed the line in a time of 58:36 which I think is almost a full minute quicker than last years time. So all in all I'm well pleased. My running continues to go from strength to strength. Just imagine if I actually tapered for a race...