On the first Tuesday of every month our running club has their handicap run, so far this season I have avoided doing the winter route because of the pesky metatarsal fracture but last night I’d run out of excuses so finally traded in my volunteer duties and laced up the trainers.
For those unfamiliar with what a handicap run is, everyone is ranked according to their previous performance or recent 5k if they haven’t done the handicap before (different clubs have varying distances but our summer and winter courses are approximately 5k) with the slowest runner starting off first and the fastest last. The goal is to have everyone finish at close to the same time. It’s quite fun (afterwards!) and you try to beat your time from the previous month–kind of like a slightly more competitive parkrun but just with your clubmates.
My seeded time for last night was 25:30, very doable based on my recent training but I wasn’t sure how the legs were going to hold up after Sunday’s 32 mile mudfest aka the Wilmot Wander. I felt good and while I initially considered setting off at an earlier time I thought to hell with it and see if I could just get through it at a steady, comfortably hard pace while focussing on keeping good form–head up, shoulders down, short soft strides.
The strategy worked…I made it back in 23:51 per my watch (23:54 per the club timer) and I still had fuel in the tank at the end–there was absolutely no sprint finish in me but I could have kept going for a bit longer. This time last year I did the course in 21:45 according to my records so I’m nowhere near top-form but considering I’ve only been back to training for 2 full months I am well-pleased with last night.