Well I’ve been running up to 60 miles per week now for months and it’s feeling good. I’m seeing new PB’s for training runs on courses I now well and have been running on for years and the recovery required for each run is seeming less and less. A circuit that used to take up to 37min I ran last week at 5:30am in just under 32mins! I am likeing it! Saying that, good or even great training is no substitute for regular racing as I’ve found out. The first race I’ve ran in a long time was the Wicklow Town 5km race on St. Stephens day. All excuses aside I felt I ran well but was lacking the race sharpness and the ability to push myself through pain that you build up from regular races. I had more speed and fitness than ever before and I felt fine afterwards but couldn’t really give it everything as I was fairly congested and coughing up all kinds of snot and corruption along the course at every opportunity – I even had to stop at one point against a wall to clear myself out! All that said I had a great first 3km and was up there with the pack running through in under 10 mins before the problems began. I know theres a good 5km time in me this year! Once back in North Wales I hit the net checking for any and all local road races. I found one in Manchester that takes place every month and went to it. The course records suggest that it’s a hard course and they weren’t wrong. The course takes in 6 tight hairpin bends which effectively slow you down to near walking pace in order to get around them , making the race feel like a series of 800m interval sessions requiring you to build your speed back up to race pace again from scratch! After the first lap I knew I wasn’t racing this for a good time anymore, it was now just a race for position and with that in mind I finished 2nd and put 30seconds between myself and the 3rd finisher. Happy with that but more happy with the extra bit of toughness the two races had awoken in me – I felt I could fight a bit harder in this race than in Wicklow – it was less of a shock to the system. Since that race the running has taken a backseat due to illness, torrential rain, snow, and schoolwork. Ah well, life goes on… we’re still training.