This race wasn’t planned, heck it wasn’t even on my radar. I knew about it but given it’s location I had not considered it as I didn’t think I would be able to make it on time. I hate relying on others to take me to races, last time I did I was let down and it cost me a race fee and potential for a very fast 5k time. However, after doing North Lincs, I was speaking to my good running friend John, who sent me the link. After a back and forth conversation he offered to give me a lift to do the race.
So I entered, this series is the same as the one in Leeds. Pay your fee, enter the A or B race. Turn up, race hard, go home. No medals, no bells or whistles just plain old racing. I love it. Don’t get me wrong I also like the big city races but sometimes you need to strip back all the add-ons and just race. I paid £8 to race and next time (oh! yes I will be back) it will cost me just £5 as I keep my race number. My journey started at 3:15pm by walking to the bus stop, a journey down to the tram stop in Middlewood took till 3:55pm. The tram then took a further 53 minutes to reach my pick up point at Meadowhall Retail Park. I met up with Dawn and John who had both decided to race as well. The trip up the M1/A64 was pretty smooth a bit of traffic in places but we arrived at 18:49 at the Yorks Sports Village in Heslington. The set up here was excellent, plenty of car parking places. Changing rooms and toilets. We all picked our numbers up and proceed to relax before the race.
It was at this point John explained to me there was a parkrun here, which for someone who only does fast parkruns, it was music to my ears. I love York but lack of facilities puts me off going as I need the loo at least twice before I run hard. Anyway, as we did a warm up John explained the route of the parkrun. I said it was on my radar but only if it wasn’t windy as the venue was very open. We then watched the B race set off, with race consisting of 5 x 1k laps of the cycle circuit. It was as flat as you was going to get for a 5k and with a clock every lap it ticked every box. After getting kit on and feeling the nerves we all hung around talking to others who was running. Chatting away helped me settle my nerves. My goal was to run sub 18. At the moment I just want to get regular times under that, then as I push on getting my ultimate goal of sub 17 will seem slightly easier.
So come 7:55 we were lined up under the arch, the official explained the route, sounded the horn and bang it was go time. My method of racing 5k. Go off hard and hold it for as long as possible…..
the best pace is a suicidal pace and today looks like a good day to die Steve Prefontaine
….. So off I went and after a crazy half a lap, I soon settled into what felt like a fast but controlled pace. The route sends you round to the left before you head along and slightly down to the far end on a large arch before a tight left bend sends you back on yourself, then the route bends slightly up and around to the right to bring you back to the start/finish straight. After things settled down into a pack with two Nidd Valley runners, with a few other runners just in front but all strung out in a line. The first lap was pretty quick in 3:23.
As I mentioned I didn’t have an actual time goal except hold a sub 18 pace. I was feeling good plus I knew it was only early doors. I felt stronger then I had in a while as I begun the 2nd lap, usually I have a wobble midway in a 5k but this time I held a really good pace, going through the first mile 5:28.9. On a flat course I was happy, you also have to bare in mind. I had raced Sunday and already done 35 miles up to this point already during the week, so the legs weren’t exactly fresh. Plus I still lacked track speed in my legs. Anyway, I held the position as I completed lap two in 3:29. The 3rd lap I started to feel the lactate build up but I kept pushing and tried to think of things to push me to sustain a quicker pace. I knew I was having to really work as I came round again for a 3:33 lap. Soon after the watch buzzed for mile 2 in 5:37. It was the 4th lap that I struggled on, it was down the back part of the lap that I just let my foot of the gas and one of the two Nidd Valley runners took me. It was a blessing really as it gave me a kick up the backside and I re-focused my efforts. Was a little two late to rescue lap 4 as it was my slowest in 3:38 but I really pushed hard on lap 5 but so did everyone else and the other Nidd runner out kicked me on the final tight bend. The watched buzzed for 3 miles as we arched round to the right in 5:50. I then kicked and gave it everything over the line and just couldn’t get it under 17:30 as I crossed the line on the night in 15th position in a chip time of 17:34. A season best and only 4s off last years best time but with 7 months left to improve on it. I was over the moon to record that time.
I know where I need to work on before the next one. I also know more consistent training and getting back down to the track on a Thursday. I don’t think I would be wrong in saying, if I can continue to stay injury free, train smarter for the next few months, I do think I will set a PB at either this race or the Leeds one. The fact I can do both every month up till November means I can continue to chip away and track how training etc is going. John had a good race to say it was his first short sharp race of the year. We worked out on the way up he has finished 1st at 42 different parkruns and his wife Dawn has finished 1st lady at 52 different parkrun venues. I have to say it’s bloody impressive by both of them. After finishing we made the journey home, the A64 was closed for repairs to the central reservation, which meant it was gone twenty past 10 at night before I got home. So 7 hours out the house for a 17:34 race…. You know what it was worth every second as it was just what I needed.
So the next 5k race is 23rd May up in Leeds. Aim for that is to beat last time I did there which was 17:51.