Posted: 21/07/2014 at 23:52
Cheers for the kind words chaps. I am very chuffed indeed. I think it's testament to what can be done with focussing on one distance for a while and gearing everything towards that distance.
Bus, you would have thought I would be, but I know of at least two faster planners just in the south!
So I had been using 15:45 as my goal pace for training. Initially I did this because I train well compared to how I race, so the target was still 15:59, but as training went on I started to think 15:45 might actually be doable. Plan was therefore to set out at 15:45 pace (3:09 per km) and try to hang on.
Course and conditions were perfect. Perfectly flat, 2 laps, and only 4 corners in the entire race, with the rest all being gentle curves. I don't mind a bit of heat for a 5k, and it was all shaded.
Bit of a stampede at the start, and then when the dust settled there was a group of three out front with me a few metres adrift. A little annoyed that I hadn't managed to position myself in a group. First mile in 5:00 dead - a little too tasty and I was already feeling it. As the first lap came to a close I started to feel really fatigued, but gritted my teeth. Second mile in 5:10 - not fast enough. Determined not to let the pace drop I chase the person who's dropped off the leading group, and overtake with just under a mile to go, moving into third. Absolutely shattered now, but got to keep the legs moving. Someone moves up onto my shoulder with a km to go and moves past. I try to go with him, but I don't have the legs. In 4th now, and I know sub 16 is in the bag, but I want more. 500m to go and my legs have gone, my form has gone and I feel awful, I'm all over the place. Third mile 5:06. Try to sprint but I can't, and cross the line in 15:42 for 4th.
Feel elated but sick as hell afterwards, a feeling I've only ever had after marathons. I think that means I squeezed everything out I could possibly get. A pleasing thing to know.
It was a strong race as well - top 7 under 16! Highly recommended for anyone seeking a fast 5K in the south.
Jogged back to the tube (1.5 miles) then, because bus times were rubbish, also jogged the 3.5 miles back from Reading station. Felt OK by then.