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Golden Gate Gallop

Running is a roller coaster I never want to stop riding. After the highs of last months track championships, it’s been a big dip since. No sooner had I won the medals, I was hit with a nasty cold. Now usually it goes after a couple of days or it develops into a chest infection. This time I stopped running for 4 days to try and give it chance to get out my system. While it didn’t develop into a chest infection this time, it took me best part of 3 weeks to get rid of it.  It meant I missed out on the Leeds Golden Mile, my aim was to go sub 5. Since then training has been very poor.

The cold took more out of me then I’d admit to myself and it means I lost a bit of fitness, A few sessions have shown promise but I’ve lacked consistency. While some runners are happy with just one or two races a month. I’ve found I’m like a footballer who needs match fitness, I’ve found I need a few races to get race sharpness and my body tuned to what I want it to do. With the Abbey Dash on the horizon time is running out in terms of getting race fit. Last week both my speed sessions showed that I had some work to do, the high winds probably made the splits look worse but I decided I needed a tune up race, more for my own sanity then anything else.

I was under no illusion about going there for a personal best or win. It was a case of racing it and seeing how it went. So I saw a 5 mile race down in Elvaston South Derbyshire. It even had a video of the course. It was multi terrain, so I also felt it would benefit me with the pending cross country coming up to do some off road racing. We arrived in plenty of time, picked up my number then did a 2km warm up. I feel it would be worth mentioning I prefer everything in miles but last week I decided to trail switching to kilometres and decided to race still trailing KM. I knew 3:32 would be on target 10k pace, however I also though sub 3:50 would be ok, however that’s plus 6:00 minute place and only learnt this AFTER the race. Proper rookie mistake and I should have known better but I trailed it and now know I can still target KM splits but pace using miles not km’s!

So after my warm up, a few locals raised their eyebrows at me, I’m used to it now and after a short walk from the finish to the start, the race director tried to spray a white line on road to mark the start, I love races where there just estimate the start/finish lines! We was soon off and I settled into a pack just off the lead two as we raced down the access road round towards the castle, we turned left over rough ground and headed away from the castle on the trails. We had to dodge walkers, dogs and kids on bikes. By this point I was in 4th spot and clocked 3:32 for first KM and felt ok.

The leader had pulled away and then 2nd and 3rd places had switched hands. I was still just off the back of these two with a further two runners behind me. The 2nd km looped round and back up the other side of the castle grounds. The route was all on trails. This was my fastest split with 3:27 however the lack of decent training started to show as in next KM I dropped to 6th as we continued to snake round the park, some tight turns and uneven paths meant you had to watch where you put your feet. As we hit the access road we was sent left on the gallop bit. This was a long stretch on a cobbled path/grass that had a hidden dip up to the turn and then back down. The 3rd KM came in 3:43. The gap opened up between me and the leading 5 on this bit as my lack of off road ability showed. I hit the road as we again turned left back onto the access road. By this point I was now racing on my own. The runners in front had opened up a gap of about 60m and I had an even bigger gap back to 6th. I should have kicked on as I hit the road but I again felt the pace was faster and mis-reading the data didn’t help. I raced passed Sarah and kicked on for the second lap.

The second lap was harder as seemed more foot traffic in my path and seemed to be weaving it and out all the time. I had to almost stop as horses just crossed my path. By now I was running just under 3:50 pace with splits varying from 3:48 to 3:51, I though these were ok but as I mentioned there were not. However with just over a mile to go I began to catch 5th place, he seemed to be pain with a stitch and then he just stopped. I carried on and then had to contend with the 2 mile fun runners so more weaving. I hit the road before we had to do a loop of the cricket pitch before one final tight turn to finish.

I crossed line in 5th place and watch said 30:17. Official time was eventually given as 30:15. I write this and I’m still not sure if I’m happy or not with it. I felt it went ok but time wise it’s a long way off where I was and should be, baring in mind back end of October 2016 I clocked 28:54. So you can see where I am compared to where I was. However I think it’s just a case of a good month before I’m knocking on this door and a good winter will see me better in 2018.

I’ve got a full on 5 mile road race penciled in before the Abbey Dash, hopefully I will be in a stronger position by then with another couple of weeks of training.

  • 5th in 30:15
Kit used in race
  • Zeon Lightweight Race Vest
  • Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
  • Adidas Adizero Adios 3
  • Sockmine Griplock lightweight running socks
  • Garmin 220

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