After the year I’ve had, I was beginning to wonder when I would get the chance to race again. I’m a firm believer to race your best you need race fitness. Much like footballers need match fitness,runners need race fitness. Your body needs to know what it feels like to race flat out, so it can almost get used to it. I only have to look back on my past races to see my best performances all came off the back off a few build up races.
Now, I’m hoping to get my challenge going on the 15th April and beat my target of sub 37. Now, I know I’ve run sub 36 in the past but this year I’ve not been able to string a decent amount of speed work into my training, so I am lacking my top end speed. I know I can get it back but it takes time. After Hallam on Saturday I simply wanted to beat the time of 18:26. I would be telling a lie if I didn’t say running the wrong side of 18 eats away at me. Since I first went sub 18 back in 2015 my goal was to simply stay under it and push on to sub 16. Yet it’s never happened. It seems at the moment running 17:xx is the best I can do, however, it won’t stop me chasing my goals.
The race I had done back in November and posted my season best time of 17:31 on a cold October night, looking back I reckon I had a faster time in me (my 3000m speed said so) but I just didn’t race enough at 5k last year and it was the first year I didn’t beat my 5k or parkrun PB. So this year I signed up for the entire 10 race series, one a month from Feb onwards. The first race got called off due to snow then re-arranged for a Friday night but I was unable to attend. So I’ve 9 races to beat 17:31 and hopefully beat my all time PB of 17:12.
We arrived just before the start of the B race at 7:15. I picked up my series number and relaxed in the car. I kept my hair down as it had been raining all day and was very blustery on the course. Before our race. I warmed up and did plenty of drills to get the legs ready and got to admit it probably helped me relax into the first mile. After a few announcements it was go time. I had placed myself in the pack but I soon found traffic from the youngsters who all set off like rockets. I weaved in and out the pack as we ran over the finish line to start the first of 3 full laps. Now it’s not a flat course but if you get it right it is a fast one. The route sweeps up under the bridge and to the left before it flattens out and then you turn left before you hit the sweeping right hand downhill. By the top of the hill I had slotted behind the lead pack and felt relaxed. It helped knowing what to expect this time round. The wind you could feel but I didn’t think it effected my pace.
After I got up hill I sweeped round the top bend and gave chase to the lead pack going downhill, looking at strava as I went downhill I was hitting sub 5 minute mile pace. If only I could sustain it! anyway, I passed under the bridge and really kept it strong going along the straight section to the bottom of the course. It rises slightly as you again turn left and then left and right, back over the start mats and back up the hill. The watch buzzed to give a 5:34 first mile. Boom, I was buzzing inside. However, I relaxed a little too much as I eased off a little too much on the second climb, dropping to 6:40 on pace on the uphill. However, I didn’t drop any places and managed to pull pace back on the downhill section. Again as at this point I was racing on my own, those in front had pulled away and those behind me I could hear but not close enough to race against. I think the second mile could have been a lot better and something I will take into the next race. I hit 5:52 for second mile. Still faster then any mile at Hallam.
The final mile I seemed to get my second wind because as soon as hit the top bend, I seriously attacked the final km. Hitting 4:43/mi pace going downhill. I could sense the chasing pack had pulled me in but I was determined not to let anyone pass. The 3rd mile buzzed for 5:51 then I kicked and I could sense at least one other behind me. I didn’t look I just keep increasing pace and managed to dip first over the line. Guy behind me was given same chip time and lad behind him was 1s behind, it was that close. Was chuffed to out kick them as they had the advantage coming off the final bend. I was even more chuffed to not only beat 18:26 but to run 35s quicker and dip under 18 minutes. I didn’t expect to be that quick so soon but it just clicking on the night. I reckon come May or June I can seriously trouble that 17:31. I know I lost too much time in the second mile but I can work on it.
If I can combine my Hallam and Even Splits times I’m well under my 37 target I’ve got for Derby. I’ve got another parkrun and hopefully Podium 5k before the 15th April to work on my race fitness. I also raced in my adidas takumi sen 4 for the first time and boy are they light. Not sure if I’d run a half in them but I’d defo run 10k or under in them.