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York 5k Race Series

Season best but a case of 'what if'?

After a break from racing for 10 days, last night I was back up to York. My original plan was to do Leeds 10k Sunday and then follow that up with Doncaster 5k Wednesday night. I was put on standby to do the inter-areas on Sunday and with the heatwave I opted to give Leeds a miss, in the end I wasn’t required for the inter-areas but least putting my name out there will help with selection in future events. Doncaster 5k was moved to the 18th due to the sodding football, which meant another year of not doing it as it now clashes with other plans. Thankfully was able to get my money back. This all meant I was looking at a free week but having looked at the forecast I signed up to do the York 5k race.

At £5 for a chipped timed race it’s a steal (£17.50 for Donny 5k!).Having done 17:09 the other Saturday at parkrun I was optimistic of doing a fast time with my planning all aimed at sub 17. Having run 5 x 1 mile all under 5:30 pace Tuesday, I know it is a case of getting it right on the day. Now my plan going into it was to beat the following splits; 3:23, 6;46, 10:09 and then dig in for last 2k. With it a 5 lap course I went into it like a track race and had Sarah ready to give feedback each lap. My plan was a good first mile, try get second under 5:30 and then try and dig in for last mile. At parkrun I had run 5:14, 5:33, 5:51. Paying for going off too hard. My plan was to get a fast first mile in but not as fast so I didn’t blow up.

A few runners turned up including Mark H from Barnsley who had put 16:59 down but didn’t let on his aims for race. As Sarah tells me to run my own race then if it works fab if not we go back and try again. The hooter went and I ran around the outside and soon found myself up to 5th, problem was I was in no mans land, the lead pack as we head around the bottom half of track were too far ahead for me to work off and no one was around me. I could sense a runner behind me but he never seemed to want to get past. What I didn’t know was further back was a pack of runners all working together. The first lap flew by and I went through in 3:16 way too fast.

There was a head wind and felt like I was working harder then I needed to at this point. It felt like I was running a time trial as there was no one in front of me to work off, it would come back to cost me later in the race. I went through second lap in 3:22. So was 8s up on my target time (I had done splits for 16:55, to give me some breathing space). The first mile had been covered in 5:16, damn it, again I had gone off too fast. I wanted sub 5:25 but that was way too fast. As I entered the 3rd lap I knew I was in trouble. I was working flat out to sustain pace and the group that had been behind me, caught me up and spat me out the other side. I failed to respond, instead I should have tried and got on back of them, grabbed a breather and then worked with them. The person who had used me as a pacemaker for half the race did just that and I again was left chasing my own shadow so to speak.

I went through the 3K split in 3:27. So I had already lost 4s off my early advantage. My 3000m split was 10:05. I still was 4s up on my target time. However, I was in a world of hurt now. I tried to keep going but again I had failed to respond when had chance to work with others and was now on my own. The 4th lap was so tough and even my daughter urging me on as I came round the final bend I couldn’t find anything in my tank. I hit the final lap with a 4k split of 3:35. So I had lost my 4s advantage and gained another 4s in just one lap. I was just handing on now and I managed to pick it up as I round the final few bends but lost a few vital seconds having to go round lapping runners. I crossed the line and I was spent. I can honestly say I have never felt so exhausted after a race then I did last night. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to talk. In the end my time on chip was 17:13. This was a course PB by 21s, a season best by 10s and just 1s off my all time 5k PB. I was happy and frustrated at the same time. I know I have a faster time in me, I know I have a sub 17 in me but I got it wrong on the night by going off hard and then having to pretty much race on my own for 5 laps.

I need to learn to pace myself better in future races and learn to respond when I have people pass me. I need to get on behind them and let them do the work for a bit. These little tweaks will be different between 17:13 and 16:59. Good thing is I’m in my strong position at this time of year ever. Usually I don’t start racing fast times till Oct/Nov so to be hitting some of my fastest ever times, consistently in July, only bodes well for the autumn. Trick is to keep doing it right, not get injured or over train. Thankfully I have a break in 38 days with family which falls just before my autumn racing begins, Plus I’ve only one 10k pencilled in between now and September and that’s York, again weather permitting.

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