“My whole feeling in terms of racing is that you have to be very bold. You sometimes have to be aggressive and gamble.”
227 Days till the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon
6 Days since the Doncaster town centre 5k
3 days since the Crich Monument Race
12 Days till the Great Grimsby 10k
Nearly 2 weeks has passed since I last blogged and a lot has happened. It all started with me deciding last minute to go to Hillsborough parkrun, the run I founded in 2013, instead of the usually faster Hallam parkrun I had planned. It was Hallams 7th birthday which meant larger than usual crowd and the slower reverse direction so I made my way to Hillsborough. It was warm already but despite the very slight breeze a potentially fast running day. A quick warm up and chat before we were off. I set off fast before settling in. the first lap felt ok in 6.07. i needed to go faster but had found myself alone and just pacing off the guy in the distance in front. 2nd lap and the pace had dropped a little as the morning warmed up. 6.26 the legs were feeling the weeks training excess. The 3rd lap is always about digging in, embracing the pain and I gained a second though was having to weave through the throng of slightly slower runners. 6.25 for lap 3 and I sprinted over the line in 19.21. I was a tiny bit disappointing but after realizing the rest of the top 10 excluding 1 had gone slower than usual. Still with hopes of 18.40 at Doncaster the following Wednesday it was still a little underwhelming. I expected to go faster but a decent sharpener none the less. After I warmed down to make the 40miles for the week.
The following morning I ran an easy to tempo progressive 5miles to keep speed in the leg turnover. This brought me to the ‘easy week’ of training. I say ‘easy’ despite the 2 races I had planned during it. It was easy because I wouldn’t be running over 7miles in one run during it. A short speed session Mondy on the treadmill before no running Tuesday to get freshness in my legs. Me being me, I did go to the gym and do a short upper body weight session instead.
So, Wednesday evening I made my way by train to Doncaster. I felt in very determined mood and the legs felt good. The upper body though was a little sore from the weights. I did a 1mile warm up going the race loop in reverse. I cheered on the people I knew in the Vets race. Finally time came for the open senior race. Potentially my last open with me becoming eligible for the Vets race 30min before the open from August. I know its a fast start so I would need to keep some control. I sped down the road keeping myself behind people I knew were slightly faster knowing they would pull away eventually. Up Silver street and then down towards the markets. The Garmin beeped for 5.25 but I felt ok depite this being my fastest mile of 2017 off the treadmill.
I thought to myself if I can dig in I could go sub 18 but then I panicked and decided to slow down to get energy back. The 2nd lap I had dropped to 6.02 and tried to pick it up but I felt myself feeling the 1st mile. Going up silver street for the 3rd and last time clubmate Ben Wilkinson (in the glasses below) caught me up. He’s in the same place as me being a little out of PB shape at present. I followed him up and around where he found some pace and slowly pulled away.
Down back towards the markets and I kicked. Ben had by my counting got a 13 sec lead which by the marketplace entrance had gone down to 10sec.
The gap was reducing but when it came to the sprint finish he seemed to match me step for step and I thought Ben crossed 10secs in front but the results revealed it was 5secs. I ran 18.20. A full minute faster than the Saturday before. A great nights work and signs I may be regaining old strength and pace.
The idea now was to still train a little while trying to keep some racing freshness in my legs. Easy runs Thursday and friday meant I did indeed find myself in Crich for a race results showed in past years I could, as long as no one really pacy decided to turn up this year for a change, win or at least place. I had seen the entry list and actually google stalked on power of 10 some of the other club runners. A couple showed near results but none seemed quicker. I must have missed Darren King of Clowne runners name but there he was in the field. Ok I may not win today. lol. After too many pee’s before the race in too few toilets, I got in the start pen and while the race director tried and failed to be loud enough for only the few next to him give instructions. The gun went and I set myself high up the field and out of the park we went into the housing estate.
We exited the estate and up the road into the hills, I settled in to a pace and pushed up through and around a field of cows. A runner went past then seemed to slow on the descent getting some derision from me about going past and not having the guts to downhill. I eventually went past in the woods and we hit a big downhill. The jiggling of the downhill running caused me to need yet another wee. I had obviously over hydrated. Ive done this before. must learn the lesson. Pit stop done and a lot of runners had gone passed. I chased and took quite a few but perhaps pushed too hard. It was obvious I wasnt going to place now so I settled on an hard training run instead. The flat route at the side of the canal parallel to Cromford Rd seemed to go on for ever but that was probably because I knew what was coming. Finally we made to the end and it was time to climb up through the woods, up the path, over the tram track of the tramway centre and up the gravel path to the Monument. I had walked for periods and the monument seemed to just appear at the top after turning a corner.
I knew it was downhill from here so shot off down the drive and could see a marshal but didn’t hear what he said, I asked what he said as I passed and waited for a reply. He just pointed this time. I was confronted by a front door down a drive. Ha ha ha, I had taken the wrong path. I corrected myself self and went down the hill. I hit the road and realized we were going past the car park and was only 1/2mile to the finish. I rushed on but the terrain through the fields was bumpy and I kept misplacing my feet and couldn’t get any rhythm. I finally made it to the parish church and from here it was mainly downhill road and finally in to the finishing field. I had been having a tussle with one guy, he passed me then I retook him but a young lad shot past and just out sprinted me to the finish.
An hard effort with a monster hill or 2. 50.25 which is 3min slower than I wanted but that is because I was so unsure of the course I didn’t push when needed or desired. I was that tired I fell asleep on the journey home.
Hopefully these two races will help when it comes to the start line of Grimsby 10k. Go out of my 30s with a bang.
Anyway Bye For Now
“There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.”
-Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor