Its almost a month since my last post and during that time I have raced three times and clocked up a decent few weeks of base mileage towards the main goal of the year (Chester Marathon).
At The Coast Road 5km on a balmy summer evening in Marske where I clocked 16:36 for 11th place. This didnt quite go to plan and I struggled a little with the intensity of the race particularly the start. I'm becoming increasingly aware and concious of people who start races like they are doing an 800m or 1500m race then come back to me after a mile or so and wonder at the end why did it all go wrong. There have been plenty of times when I have done that but more lately I have become a lot more disciplined with my pace judgement and take some pride in maintaining a steady (but decent!) pace and look to try and start the race at an intended pace and build on that rather than go for a fast start and hang on. This race was just twinged with disappointment as the last mile I just dropped off the pace and allowed two or three (Younger!) runners to edge me out in the final stages of the race.
This "steady away" tactic was definitely going to be tested to the full in the next race. I had built this race up in my head as an A race. Had a sensible pre training week and (apart from the hot weather) all seemed set to smash another Vet 40 pb. The race was the Sunderland 5km also incorporating the North East Champs. Some unbelievable results at the front end underlined how quick the course is with 18 runners going under the 16 minute barrier.
My own race was decent. Set off at a decent but sensible pace and avoided any issues at the start with a 5.13 first mile taking advantage of the downhill start. 2nd mile felt actually very comfortable with a 5.17 so all that was needed was a sensible last mile and I was home and dry. I think in my head I must have relaxed a bit too much and then realised my legs felt dead coming off the back of the lake. A slight incline was enough to send my legs to jelly and a group came past me. A last mile of 5.23 and despite a fast finish I clocked 31st place in a time of 16:32. The positives were that this was equal to my time of two years ago (proving the ageing process is not slowing me down!). The negative is of course the feeling that maybe just that slight loss of concentration was the difference. Its a fine line but onwards and upwards.
Sunday saw me toe the start line of the New Marske Victorian 10km. I had never really saw this as a target race so was contemplating using this as a marathon pace test. That is until I realised there was a decent field assembling for this race and there might be an opportunity for me to test myself against some quality opposition as well as (I confess!) not lay myself open to be "scalped"
"5:30 miling all the way" was the aim and to some extent this was achieved. First mile was a crazy affair with a mass of runners ahead of me. I counted about 25 at one stage as I went through the first km. First mile of 5.24 despite being a cautious start meant that there were a few people who had clearly set off too fast and would pay for it later on. Miles of 5:29, 5:26, 5:32 and 5:30 gave me some daylight on those that were paying for early exertions and those in front who possibly ran a more sensible race. The last mile was a bit of a harder effort and unfortunately I slipped out of the intended pace and clocked a 5:40 to finish 9th overall in 34:24. Not bad as I predicted a 34:30 on the start line (quietly of course!). The 10km at Abbey Dash remains my post Chester Marathon aim!
There is no lying sometimes when it comes to pace judgement and knowing where you are. You know when you feel good, you know when you just don't feel right. There are a fair few people out there who need to take a step back and look at themselves and ask the question. Is a five minute mile appropriate for me at the beginning of a race where my average pace overall will be almost a minute a mile slower? I suspect I know the answer to that but please continue to test that theory out as I like working my way through the field and picking you off one by one!
Anyway I wont be racing for a few weeks as I build up another block of mileage for the marathon. Sensible disciplined running for me now as I build up the mileage and avoid the injuries that plagued my unsuccessful Autumn Marathon training last year. 74 days to go as as I write this blog.
I'm going to be road testing these over the next few weeks. Firstly I definitely would not normally contemplate the price of these. Secondly I am not easily taken in by gimmicks but I do like buying new shoes!
That said its an interesting concept and I'm willing to give it a go. My first run definitely felt quicker and less effort needed to run fast. Lets see how they go over the longer distances over the next few weeks.
Finally another plug for the Redcar Half Marathon. Here are a few of the exciting things that as a runner I feel is taking the race forward:
1. Chips in the number itself - no messing about with chips on shoes!
2. Water pouches that are easy to use and more runner friendly
3. Quality goody bag, T-shirt and medal
4. New race website http://www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/halfmarathon
For those yet to enter but thinking about it please enter early. As a race organiser it makes life so much easier and we don't need to spend as much of the race fund chasing runners to enter. Secondly this race is in its 31st year but as with all public sector led events under so much scrutiny as councils feel the pinch of the recession.
Happy Running everyone :)