My legs have felt really tired and quite sore since the club champs on Wednesday night, on the back of what had already been a hard block of training so really wasn't sure what to expect tonight. However, for once this year, the weather was virtually perfect for track racing - warm and nearly calm.
Last year, there was a sub-5:15 race between the sub-5:30 and sub-5:00 race I think, but with reduced numbers it was just the latter two this time round. I'd put 5:08 down as a predicted time so was slotted into the sub-5:30 race, but seeing the disparity in numbers between the two, nearly asked to get put into the faster race, so I could chase rather than potentially lead. Got talking to someone though, the moment passed and decided just to get on with it.
Not sure exactly, but there was well over a dozen in my heat I think, including some always enthusiastic youngsters (as well as two fast clubmates Alex and Mike who had just run the 5k), so decided as I was likely to be in the top few anyway, I'd get out hard for the kerb to avoid getting involved in any shenanigans. Required a near sprint, but job done and I settle down leading the first lap in a fraction under 76 seconds, which was almost bang on target. One of my quicker senior lady teammates from Charnwood was one of three who came through during the course of the next few hundred metres, but was happy for now to tuck in and hang on to them.
About 2:34 at 800 (and 9) metres, so was keeping the pace up better than recent 1500m races, if not quite as much as I'd hoped with a target of 2:33. A Caistor runner began to fade very slightly over the next lap and a bit, and I was up into 3rd at the bell in between 3:53 and 3:54. Again a couple of seconds down on target, but whilst working hard, feeling quite strong and well in now for a sizeable PB - previously 5:15.9. Moved up on to the shoulder of my Charnwood teammate as I began to squeeze the pace up the back straight, and was closing on the leader as we got on to the brow of the final bend. Working hard, but feeling strong I close the gap, move on to his shoulder too, and then try to kick hard as I drift into Lane 2 as we hit the straight. Pleased to find there's bags of life left in the legs and accelerate away, taking nearly 3 seconds out of him down the straight to finish in a 7 second PB of 5:08.9.
Very pleased with that as it trumps my 1500m PB according to both McMillan and age grading, puts me provisionally 28th on Po10 for V40 over the Mile this year, and all this with ongoing nerve / drop foot problems and feeling there's more in there this year if I'm prepared to hurt myself a bit more, and get similarly favourable conditions at the BMAF Mile event in Birmingham next month.
Oh, and I won a prize for winning my heat - bottle of wine, cheers!
I enjoy the day-to-day running - could do with a bit at the moment in fact, as it's nearly all been sessions or recovery runs since I got back from holiday. Nevertheless, by instinct I'm exceedingly lazy, and without the motivation for my competitive instincts of the racing as an end product, I'm pretty sure that before long I'd start finding excuses and simply get out of the habit.
McMillan actually recommends longer than 2 weeks. I'll be having some time off in the autumn - might be by the end of September, or if I'm still feeling the energy and enthusiasm, I might try to tag a block of slightly more 5k specific training on to the end of the track season, and have a shot at a sub-18 parkrun somewhere.
BTW - I won't, however, be doing the Shelton 10k either, Tommy. I've got a family commitment that weekend now - I think a raced 10k would (as it was last year even though I PB'd there) be a fairly nasty experience after a summer of reduced mileage anyway, so it's probably for the best! Hope you're feeling a bit more comfortable today and the pain is easing off. No doubt the boredom and frustration is already rising though.
Good luck with the 10k racing this weekend Skinny, Charlie and Muddy. Looks like a decent morning for parkrun too, DT - 19:15 and champagne for supper I reckon. I'll be trying to convince these tired old legs of mine that they are in fact fresh enough for one last hard effort from this training block before taper, with a Mile at Harvey Hadden around 8pm tomorrow night. Any other racers?