Time stand still for no man! No sooner had I done Manchester I was already preparing for my next race. I’ve signed up for the entire Even Splits 5k race series in Leeds. So far I’ve had a DNS as Molly came first. Then I bagged a 17:51 which was awesome at the time to get under 18 minutes. I then only did 3k at the last one as was too soon after my chest infection and didn’t want to risk pushing it. The aim is to do at least 6 over the year. I find them a good way of judging race fitness etc.
It’s a good venue and pretty straight forward to get to. These are organised by Even Splits who also do the York one. I’m not sure which is fastest, on paper it should be York as it’s flat but there is no let up, Leeds you have 3 laps and while the hill can really test you, you can also get a breather before attacking the downhill. Having done 17:34 at York, I was simply targeting beating my previous time of 17:51, I was hopeful if I got it right on the night I could set a course PB and obviously I had one eye on my PB of 17:12 set way back in 2016.
After watching the B race get underway I did my usual warm up and toilet visits. I also bumped into a few other runners I knew. Before I knew it, we were called to the start line. No razzmatazz, no messing, simply short instruction, a 3-2-1 and bang we were off. As always it was a crazy start with the young uns and those who either should know better or had not raced at this venue all flying off at break neck speed. I had a plan and stuck with it. I also knew a runner who would either run very consistent splits or finish strong, so I kept that in mind for later in the race.
As we raced up the hill I was soon gliding past runners and I actually felt in control. I knew the course and the only change was the wind direction, this time was into our faces going up the hill and I swear blind it got stronger as the race went on. Anyway as we hit the top, I soon made my move, passing one then tucking in and then moving past the next one and soon flying down the hill. I was determined to have a solid first mile. To give you an idea I hit 4:36 pace as I made my decent. The route flattens out as you head towards the bottom bend. It’s a sweeping left hand bend as you come back on yourself, a right turn and you complete the first lap. The mile soon buzzed for 5:24. I felt good and was chasing the pack in front.
The second lap can make or break a race. I’ve faltered here before so mentally it was good to keep on course. Back up the hill and still claiming places. The climb never gets easier but as I hit the top, I quickly got my breathing back under control and focused on getting another fast mile. The trick is not to look at watch until you get the downhill part done, again looking back I could probably run stronger up the hill but I was soon hitting the 3k mark at the far end of the track and I knew it was all down to the final lap. The watch buzzed for 5:39 so defo know if I’m to improve my 5k time that second mile needs to be as close to 5:30 as possible.
The wind as mentioned felt really strong on the final climb and I took my final person on the climb up to move into 6th place. I then took a bit longer to get going again and as I made my final decent I could sense someone on my shoulder, it turned out to be Hannah who looking at her splits ran very even and I knew she was around my time and had made a mental plan that if anyone tried or did pass me to not make it easy for them. It was at this point in previous races I would have not reacted and just finished. Not this time. I closed the gap as we headed into the final 800m, It made a massive difference as we both closed in on 5th place as we round the bottom bend as we crossed the start line for final time it was a all out sprint to the finish. I had to settle for 7th place with just 3s separating us. Looking back I needed to have been on their shoulder coming round final bend but again my pace in the final sprint was 4:36. My final mile was my quickest ever finish of 5:46. Again if I can get that down to sub 5:40 it means I’m on PB pace and closer to my ultimate goal of running that sub 17 I’ve dreamed off.
My official time was 17:23 my fastest time at this race and my fastest 5k/parkrun/5000m since 13th November 2016. To say I was over the moon was an understatement. Racing these on a regular basis is seriously making a massive difference and hoping it starts to replicate in longer races. As I’ve done a crazy few weeks of half marathon, 5k, parkrun then 10k and 5k. I’m taking a weekend off anything hard and just clocking up some training miles. I don’t want to over do it and ruin all the recent hardwork.
I finished and finally got to meet Sam, who I’ve known on twitter for a few years. Like my daughter she has been through the mill this year. She is so lovely and Molly adores her. I hope she gets better soon and make it to Vegas for her wedding. I also got chatting to Hannah who pipped me for 6th place, she is heading back to New Zealand after smashing some awesome times at both London and Copenhagen
I will then next week switch to track with a couple of shorter distances before a 5000m a week on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how I do on the track to say at the moment it’s still the only thing I’m not doing on a weekly basis.