It's been a while since we've both been in the same event, but both L and I run the Merrill 10k this morning. So the dogs don't get to wreak their usual noise and mayhem, instead we park them up somewhere near the start.
There's a large field of 400 on the start line ready to face, what they say is a fast course, which is a bit inconvenient as I was just hoping for a gentle training run. The pace is indeed fast and the course is pleasant until they take us down a gravel track, which is a bit rough and rocky for my dodgy knees and ankles. The route takes us through Sinfin, where L used to live, so I try and look out for her old street but they've already got me lost by taking us down the gravel track and all I can locate of Sinfin is the chip shop.
For a while, I run along side a chap who's well into his fifties. He seems to be enjoying the race, has bags of energy to spare and wants to chat to everyone. I splutter a few words but I simply don't have the capacity to talk and run at the same time. I let him tow me along for a while but it soon becomes apparent that he's just too quick for me and I have to let him go.
Thankfully, the old war wound in the knee holds up and despite being dropped by an oldie, my splits are good but after 7km they start to tail off. Then we go under a bridge in Chellaston and my folks are there waving me on, it's a local race for them, which spurs me on to lift the pace again.
Then just as I'm slowing down again after the 8km point, I hear a lot of the crowd cheering for 'Jill', it dawns on me that I haven't seen any women ahead of me and it appears that our 'Jill', whoever she may be, must be leading their race and is just behind me. I best get a move on to stay ahead of her.
The final bit is one of those cruel circuits around a sports field, that organisers are so fond of and they always put the clock in a position where you can see it for the whole lap so that you can see time slipping away from you.
I watch the clock ticking upwards from 39:00 towards 40:00. The last thing you need with a ticking clock is a muddy grass field where there's a complete lack of traction. I get there 4 seconds before the 40:00. A mere second outside my PB but still not bad, for a training run and I do come in ahead of all the girls.
Despite that, it's a little depressing to see that I was still 30 seconds off winning even the over 60s class.
I hobble back to the car and get the dogs so that we can all welcome in L, who does well in her first race back.
After taking the dogs for a romp at my parents, we head home. In these days of the credit crunch, we do the honourable thing and shave pennies off the energy bill by sharing a bath.
Then we go out, dog free and for a change head down the Fox and Crown for a few reviving pints of Brush.