Today I made a return to racing on the track after approx 15 years absence. The Northern Track and Field League was the reason and Clairville was the venue. Wearing the colours of my new second claim club "New Marske Harriers" I warmed up and soon realised three things:
1. I had missed racing on the track and was looking forward to giving it a blast!
2. The wind was going to hit me on the back straight for 12 laps so any thought of a time around 16:30 would be difficult in these windy and wet conditions.
3. I probably should not have done a track session Thursday (more of this later).
Eight of us lined up for the 5000m and it was clear from the start who would be a clear winner as Peter Newton of Morpeth (recent winner of the Middlesbrough 5km) lined up looking like he meant business (he eventually went onto lap the whole field and finish in a storming 14.44.2).
I decided to concentrate on my own race and aimed for 80 second laps which would bring me a 16.40. This was fine up to about half way when the wind took it's toll and I started to slip outside of this target. My thoughts then turned to the Scarborough AC runner in front of me (Ben Mukherjee) who went off quite quickly but then started to come back to me. In the end he proved too strong for me but I definitely closed on him in my final few laps...maybe it was the Thursday night session in my legs or more likely just a combination of being a bit track race rusty. At least I can use the old "I'm a V40 you know" excuse...I decided not to use this when I talked to Ben after the race and this was his second event having also done the 3000m chase! I finished in 4th place overall (3rd in A race) in a time of 16.51.8 (am going to call this a pb as it is the first 5000m as a Vet!).
Usually I would not consider doing a track session less than 48 hours before a race but to be honest I have felt sluggish over the past few weeks probably due to the half marathon recovery and felt I needed to get a decent session in before todays race.
My intention on Thursday was to do a set of 400's on my target 5K pace so set myself a target of 80 second laps. Unfortunately I got a bit carried away and ended up with a set that looked like this - 80, 78, 77, 76, 77, 76, 76, 77, 77, 76, 76, 77. That's what happens when you train on your own - nobody to keep me on the straight and narrow!
Next weekend my attention turns to the other side of athletics as I will be on the "official" side of things as I am Course Manager for the Redcar Half Marathon...this has involved many hours of recruiting marshalls, sitting in Safety Advisory Group Meetings and many hours looking at traffic management plans and lots of emails and phone calls. I know on the day it will be a long hard slog but it will make it worthwhile once the start is underway and we have a race on our hands. Athletics is a wonderful sport but without people "behind the scenes" as organisers we would not have races to blog about!
Early night for me tonight as I have a 5am diary date with one of the unsung heroes of the local running scene, Graham Hall, as we set about measuring the Half Marathon course. I have had a real insight into how a road race is measured and believe me it is not a simple operation.....Now that I better understand this process you will never hear the words "that course was long according to my garmin!".
Cant wait until my next track outing!