Run Thru Hell sounds like an interesting name for a race and once you’ve done it a few times, you get an idea of why they call it that! This was our second 5k race of our holidays and the same weekend. I suppose after running the races in Edinburgh, a day between races almost feels like a week! It was another early start although a wee bit of a longer lie-in (5.30am rise and leave at 6am) than it was for the Watermelon 5k (4.30 for 5am departure) as the race started slightly later at 8am. Many races across here start at 7am before it gets too warm and it’s still a reasonable trek to get there. Today was our 4th Run Thru Hell race and while there doesn’t appear to be any official background to the name, the route occasionally goes off-road through some bushes and over tree roots at Al Lopez Park, Tampa. That and the humidity right from the start can make things interesting. The route is only announced before the start of the race and today’s race was going to be path only. The area is often affected by thunder storms and so this affects the decision as to where the route should follow, I think. After Friday’s performance, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of time as his race is far more humid and I tend to find it harder to breathe properly as much as run in it! The turnout for this race tends to be smaller than the Watermelon race and so many of the participants can win an age category prize. The age categories vary in every race here and today, were presented to the first 3 in every category which went in 5 year increments. We set off pretty much on time and I managed to get pretty near to the start line. I got a pretty good start and when things started to settle down, I was in 7th place. I got through mile 1 in 6:15 (one of my fastest in any race) and was going pretty steady until we approached a stretch of the path closely lined by trees and bushes. That’s pretty much where the humidity kicked in and I slowed down a bit. By this time, I had moved into 6th with the guy in 5th not that far in front of me. The route was 2 laps of the park and so I was looking forward to the start of lap 2 as that was a bit more open and so hopefully a bit easier. If it was, I didn’t feel it that much! I felt it pretty humid and the rest was a fair challenge but I think the guy in front kept me going. I looked over my shoulder at one point and there were a couple of guys not too far behind so I had to keep pressing. Before I knew it I was at 2.8 miles and looking across the park to check out the last stretch to the finish. I felt I still had a little bit of energy left for a sprint and pushed it in the last 40/50m but I didn’t have enough to beat the guy in front of me but did enough to stay ahead of the guys behind me. I was delighted that my Garmin had recorded my time as 19:59, 5 seconds outside my PB and also only the second time I’ve ever run under 20 minutes! Not only that, I ran roughly 1min 30secs faster than I did in the same race last year! I was also proud that Allison managed to run today albeit in a rather unconventional style that wasn’t as uncomfortable for her as Friday’s race. Hopefully she can continue to make some progress this week in recovering from her leg problem and possibly run closer to her normal style next Saturday. This has given me a huge boost and confidence in the possibility I can get a PB at the Cool Summer Mornings 5k next Saturday. This week coming, I plan to squeeze a few short early morning sessions before relaxing in the sun to help me do it. I know I’m on holiday and supposed to be relaxing but suddenly these runs have become important to me as I start preparing for Loch Ness but also fitting in the early sessions helps me relax more. If something means a lot to you, you’ll do what it takes in order to achieve it. Doing it this way also means that I’m getting plenty of rest as well to make sure my body can perform to its best every time.