Recent 5k races have been about position and not times yet I would be a liar if I said the times had not bothered me because they did. I still feel as a runner I can run faster then all my current personal bests suggest. At the Yorkshire Vets 5k, I ran 18:33 a minute off what I wanted time wise, I put it down to the heat, running that morning and also racing hard the night before. To get the gold in my age category kinda put a gloss on things. Then last Sunday at the NMAC 5k, I knew it was off road so expected time to be done and managed to scrape 1s off my time. Again it was about placing over position but for someone who gets his mojo from times, it was a bit of a concern.
Now i’ve not done a blog about my training as it’s been all over the place in recent months, with June probably being my first settled month, however I had been hitting some fast times on track Sessions I’d been doing since 2014 I was clocking my fastest ever times, so was hoping that Leeds would be my standout race so far this year and a benchmark for the rest of the year. I had done this race twice (2013 & 2015) and was scene of my first sub 37 time. I went into the race full of confidence and leading up to it felt good. I had done 1k reps Tuesday at 10k pace and then 500m reps at 3k pace Thursday. The only thing bothering me was my hay fever, usually the tablets do job but Saturday night, I saw every hour as I had a very bad attack. Not had it this bad in years and night before a big race wasn’t ideal. I could have easily turned over when it was time to get up.
Yet I wasn’t about to miss another race in Leeds, so team Hayes got ready and made the short journey up the M1 and parked in our usual car park and walked to the start. It was already warm but didn’t think it would be too big a factor. Then as I was talking to someone I knew, my wife got a phone call that took us all by surprise, her grandma passed away in the early hours. What made matters worse is my wife’s parents were in Cyprus. So it meant she had a lot on her plate and I wanted to be there for her. She insisted I still race. Yet in the pen it was hard to get into race mode. I didn’t do a warm up and I didn’t get my head in the game so to speak.
As the count down was on, instead of getting ready, I was looking to check she was alright. The gun went and I was sluggish off the start, the first mile is practically down hill and even this mile I had to make a real effort and I had fellow runners with same target time as me, flying off into the distance. I knew I needed to run 3:35 KM splits if I was to get my target time. Wasn’t aiming for a PB my goal at the moment is to go sub 36 and then regularly run under 36 before pushing on. I hit 3:25 on the first KM, fab downhill, and 10s cushion in the bag. I had to work a little bit harder on 2nd km as it ran under the train station and up to Wellington Street, I did a 3:29 split. Fab another 6s cushion in the bag. However I was only 1.2 mile in and already legs felt like lead, I was sweating big style and for first time ever in a race (bare in mind I’ve done over 200 races!) I got a stitch as I ran under the viaducts. It meant I slowed down clocking 3:36. This was 1s off pace so my cushion had been cut to 14s.
The will power was there but conditions and other things were transpiring against me, I struggled to keep my target pace after 2nd mile with the 4th km split was 3:42, my cushion was down to 7s. The route now was slowly climbing up to the turn around point and it just seemed to drag and drag. I knew now my target time wasn’t going to happen, so my focus was trying to beat my previous time here. No matter how hard I tried to up pace, the body just wasn’t having it with 5 km split in 3:48 (giving me a bang on 18 minute 5k) The next 5k was slower with us turning around at 3.5 miles. We was now heading back towards the finish line and the sun was directly above us. I grabbed a sponge to cool me off as I was seriously struggling in the heat. I didn’t expect it to be as hot as it was. My next 3k splits were 3:48, 3:49 and then 3:56! I was just focused on getting it done now.
The last mile seemed to take forever. I managed a bit of a kick towards finishing line but nothing like I know I could do as I clocked a 19:15 second 5k splits. This was my slowest time since Dronfield last March, yet a month later I posted my best ever time. It was one of those days that just wasn’t meant to be. If all races were good then it would be boring and I know when not if, I run a sub 36 again it will taste even more sweeter. Don’t get me wrong I’m like a coiled spring as I need a decent 5k and 10k time for my own sanity. I just had to be patient and hopefully the next time I race things will click. I had planned on the Doncaster 5k but could not justify price tag, plus this week wanted to make sure I was around for my wife if she needed me.
- 38th in 37:18
Kit used in race
- Zeon Lightweight Race Vest
- Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
- Nike Zoom Streak 6
- Naked Runner Classic Black Sunglasses
- Sockmine Griplock running socks
- Garmin 220