A Day at the Races

As planned, I had a much easier week.  After two higher mileage weeks, I wanted to ease back and give myself a chance to recover a little.

I still ran a 20 mile day on Wednesday by run commuting to and from work.  This included a dark, cold 14 mile slog on the way home, with the first 8 miles run into a freezing headwind, interspersed with bouts of driving snow and hailstones at my face. Apart from that it was a lovely run.

I had a big black tie event to attend on Thursday night, hosting two tables of customers and bigwigs from London, so Thursday and Friday were written off running wise. I wanted to run an easy parkrun on Saturday, but as there was still some ice on the ground and a bitter cold wind, I missed it and had a gentle mid-morning jog around the village instead.

The easy week served as a bit of a taper for a tilt at the Dewsbury 10K this morning. I like to set myself a mental target for most races I do.  However, I didn’t really know what I was capable of today.  It’s been ages since I did a road race with a number pinned on and I didn’t run particularly well at the Northern cross country last weekend, so I wasn’t feeling very confident about my condition.

Mentally, I set 37 minutes as my goal before the start.  However, when I arrived in Dewsbury with a couple of teammates, we were soon aware of the piercing and cold northerly wind as we parked up.

The route is an out and back, running pretty much South to North and slightly uphill for the first 5k, so I knew the first half would be a slog.

A 37 minute 10K requires an average pace of 3:42 per km. My first 4 kms were 3:36, 3:49, 3:54 and 3:59 and it felt tough.  I was trying to seek out and big bloke to settle in behind and shelter from the wind, but no suitable candidates appeared.

Although I was running hard, pretty much at my threshold, perhaps mentally I was holding back knowing that once I got to the turnaround it would feel a lot easier coming home.

So it proved. I turned at 5K in 19:23 and immediately felt the joyous double whammy of the wind at my back and a gentle downhill gradient. I gave myself a kick up the arse and I decided to ignore the watch and start racing a few fellow competitors.

I could sense the huge improvement in speed as I increased my stride cadence and started picking off runners, steadily bridging from runner to runner and from one little group to the next.  The kilometre splits were now a lot more respectable – 3:29, 3:28 then 3:33.  I spotted Valley Strider teammate John up ahead and I knew I was gradually reeling him in. Seeing him gave me a welcome visual incentive as I started to feel the pace.

I passed John at about 8.5ks and he gave me a nice word of encouragement, so I pushed on to finish in 37:05.  The second 5K was covered in 17:42 – which would be a lifetime PB for a standalone 5K race.

I know it’s good to run a negative split, but a 19:23 / 17.42 10K is perhaps pushing this a little too far and maybe I should have gone a little harder in the first half.  Overall I was pleased with my effort and I really enjoyed the sensation of running the second half so quickly.  If only all races were downhill with the wind at your back.

Lots of Striders ran and there were many great performances including some huge PBs, so perhaps I am using the wind as too much of an excuse.

Back to heavy training now – hopefully I’ll do at least 60 miles per week for the next two weeks, although I have the second part of the beetroot treadmill trial at the University to run towards the end of the week and I ought to mini-taper for it  as I did for the first effort.

CM -17 weeks
Weight 11st 5.6lb
40 Miles
parkrun – none

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