Tuesday night was a strange one and writing this I’m still undecided if I’m happy or frustrated. It was a tale of what could have been. After Hull, the plan for the week was to do 1500m on Tuesday night and then on Thursday travel up to York for the 5k again. However Sarah managed to finish work early so I made the call to do the 3000m instead as it would have meant it wasn’t two late nights in the week for everyone. So fueling everything was in place to race at around 6:45 knowing I would have been at my best in heat 2 off the 3000m at worse heat 3. We set off in plenty of time to arrive at Stretford for 6pm. Giving me time to then enter, warm up and be ready to race.
The trip over the Woodhead was fine and it wasn’t till we hit the M60 did the shit hit the fan! I had googlemaps on and the ETA was rising rapidly. Turned out there had been an RTC where the M60 and M56 met. This meant 3 lanes were closed and we sat in traffic for nearly an hour. Finally getting through the accident (one lorry and gone into the back of another, the cab was squashed). By the time we got to the stadium the car park was full and it was gone 7. So not wasting the night I went back to the original plan of doing the 1500m due to start at 8:15. It meant my fuel plan was out the window but with it being a 1500m I wasn’t worried. However it turned out to be a mega busy evening with 4 3000m races alone and then 11 800m open races, not including the 800m BMC races. It meant it was running way over schedule. Then when it was finally time for the open 1500m to start, they lost the start list. So opted to run the first two 1500m BMC races first, then the first open race, followed by the 3rd BMC race. I then got to race in the 3rd open race. This was gone 9pm. I had begun my warm up before 8pm and had done everything with a plan to go at around 8:20. It meant I had cooled down and was now hungry and tired.
I lined up but having expected to race 3000m, I had forgotten my target splits and my head wasn’t in race mode. Being a parent/husband I was also concerned that they hadn’t had tea and had been sat for nearly two hours waiting for me to race. It wasn’t fare to them. Had I stuck to my original plan to race 1500m we would have arrived later and they would’ve had tea before we left. Basically the whole night had been a farce from the get go.
So waiting for gun, then bang off we went. Sluggish I then hit my stride running down the outside to slot into 3rd place as we ran down the bottom bend, remembering I wanted a 55s 300m if was to run my long term goal of sub 4:30 for 1500m. As I came down the home straight I honestly felt strong, I saw clock say 48s for 300m and I panicked, I had gone off way too fast! Looking back I felt in control though and should’ve had the balls to keep going and lead from the front. Instead as I said I panicked let the 3 behind me cruise past and let them pull away. Big mistake.
The next lap was a blur, I remember going through 700m in 5th place. I’m sure the timekeeper at 800m shouted 2:26 but I then had another lapse in concentration on the back straight between 800m and 900m and let another 4 people cruise past. I hit the bell and it gave me a kick up the arse I needed and gave it everything on last lap. I could hear someone behind me and someone yelling to them they were on for 4:3x but need to out sprint me. That was all I needed as I kicked and gave it everything and crossed the line in 8th place in 4:37.64. Agonisingly so close to a PB! 0.7s to be exact. I can honestly say I haven’t been as annoyed with myself after a race then I was on Tuesday night. I got it wrong in the race and I know if I can get it right I will destroy my PB. Firstly I should have stuck to my original plan of doing the 1500m instead of changing my mind at last minute. I should have been prepared better to race the 1500m if I couldn’t run the 3000m. Then in the race I should have kept going at the front and I reckon even if I faded later on I would have been in better position for last lap and had runners to race off.
What’s strange is last year I would’ve snapped someones hand off for a 4:37.64 but I feel fitter and faster then ever. The good thing is to be in this position at it’s still only June, so still got plenty of the track season to have another crack at it. Plus it still served a purpose as a warm up for the Manchester Mile next Wednesday where I chase my long term goal of running sub 5 minutes. Even if I run like I did Tuesday I should get a 4:57 mile. I just need conditions to be good and to get it right on the night. Plus come Wednesday I will have my splits stamped into my mind.
I will finish with, it’s true what they say – ‘You learn more when things don’t go right, then you do when everything clicks’. Onward to the next race.