Running and racing so far in 2017

THIS week I start my next block of training. My target race is the Salford 10k on Good Friday where I am aiming to break 41 minutes and get near to my 40:31 personal best. But before I focus on my next goal I wanted to look back at what I achieved during my last block of training.

It started in December with the Percy Pud 10k. It was my first 10k in six months and I was a bit race rusty. I found the race tough. I ran 41:43, just squeezing into the medals with third vet 35. I was pleased with the time, considering I’d not raced for a while, and happy to be back racing. The other great thing about the Pud was that we were joined by Olympians Eilish McColgan and Michael Rimmer.

This is Eilish McColgan gliding into the finish.

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And this is me stomping towards the finish.

Later in December I managed to run sub 21 at Pontefract parkrun, something I’d not done for a while. I clocked 20:58. Unfortunately on Christmas day I could only manage 21:23. Rather than let this ruin my Christmas I decided my slowness could have been down to a slight hamstring niggle and a bit of a cold. A few festive drinks later and I’d forgotten all about it.

My first race of 2017 was the 5,000m track race at Dorothy Hyman stadium, where it was rather windy. I finished in 21:21.

A couple of weeks later, back at Pontefract I ran my fastest parkrun ever, 20:09. It was a year since I’d set my parkrun PB so, I celebrated with a curry and chocolate cake. Four days later I was back on the track for the 3,000m finishing in 11:55, six seconds outside my PB.

After a solid start to the year, I headed to the Dewsbury 10km confident that I could break 41 minutes. Unfortunately, the course was over-distance, so my time of 41:46 was slower than my test 10k at the Percy Pud. How disappointing was that after weeks of training!

It’s now a month since the Dewsbury 10k and I’ve just about stopped chuntering. The race organisers have apologised. The race has been logged on Power of 10 as a long course. Yes, it was annoying, but mistakes happen. I’m just about over it.

But here’s the evidence to show how long it was. This year’s and last year’s course.

Now that my chuntering has stopped I wanted to think about my own performance over the 10k. And I’m not very happy with that either. From the start, I just did not have the legs. From the first few metres to crossing the finish line, it felt like hard work.

What are the reasons for this?

Too much of a taper? Experimenting with my pre-race special? Bridesmaid dress shopping the day before? Two meals out before race day? Being too busy? Not giving the race much thought / mental preparation? Getting stuck in a four-hour traffic jam and missing my Thursday night leg sharpening session at the track? Weight gain (10lbs heavier)?

I really don’t know. All I know is that it wasn’t the race I wanted. I couldn’t respond when people passed me. I was hanging on and that’s not a good sign at all. Looking for the positives, according to Strava I ran 41:05 for 10k, faster than I ran for the Pud 10k, but overall I was disappointed. I just felt I was capable of more.

Not down for long, I decided to have a bash at the track 10,000m at Barnsley AC three days later. No PB here either, but I had such a good race, finishing in 42:10, and the atmosphere was great.

The next race was the Wombwell five miles where I finished seventh and first vet 35, only a few seconds short of my PB, but again there was something wrong. At no point in the race did I feel comfortable. I felt sluggish and it seemed ridiculously hard work.

After the race, I started chatting to a friend of Chris’ and mentioned how I was feeling. We talked about the training I was doing and how I felt slower even though I should be faster after doing a fair bit of track training. We decided that the 10lbs I’d put on after a few too many cakes and chocolate bars might be the reason for my sluggishness.

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So that’s the running year so far. I’ve been running okay. With a bit more work and possibly shedding a few of the excess pounds, I’m sure I can achieve my sub-40 10k goal.

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