Friday night and a return to York. The scene of my 5K personal best (17:06 set in April 2019). I went into the race feeling in great shape (besides the week leading up to it, the COVID jab making me very tired all week). Training as I mentioned in my preview had gone really well since Podium 5K. I honestly felt I was in shape to post a quick time. Going into it all week I had the usual internal mental battle but come Friday I was ready to race. However the weather gods didn’t get the memo as all day we got wind and rain! Not ideal but wasn’t going to pull out due to the weather. It did make the task at hand even harder though.
Going into it with the weather minimum goal was to beat my Podium time from last August, then the time I set last month, then to try and PB and if everything went to plan the dream goal of sub 17. I decided to set my goal and to run sub 3:25 pace per lap (the track is a 1K loop) Aim was to do as many laps as possible at this pace and see how race went. After a decent journey up, we arrived in plenty of time for the race. I left family in car as didn’t want them out in the rain and wind. A good warm up including catching up with a few people I knew helped settle the pre race nerves. Due to Covid runners were set off in batches of 8. I slotted into the 3rd batch as a few was aiming for 16:30.
Go time and was back of the pack early on but stuck with a Rotherham Harrier. You could feel the wind on the slight downward section to the bottom corner. A very tight turn I found hard to hit a pace due to the Alphaflys height but early on I felt good, watch buzzed for first split in 3:19 but noticed it had buzzed before I crossed the line.
At the time I didn’t worry about it but did notice no clock to keep eye on overall time. I focused on just ticking the laps off I felt strong and watch told me I was well under pace. I kept working hard as some runners slowed but faster runners caught me up. I made a point if someone got on my shoulder I tried to stick with them as long as I could and bank some extra time. Again the wind meant I felt I was working hard on what is technically the fastest section of the course but I went to push past the Rotherham runner but he worked hard and retook the spot meaning I had to go wide then tucked in behind back up to the start finish line. Watch buzzed for the second KM in 3:21. Wow I was flying (however had not taken the GPS inaccuracy into account as was actually already 10s down on what my watch was telling me, although didn’t realise this at the time).
So I continued to keep working at same effort as I ticked off the next couple of laps, continuing with my plan of working off the quicker runners including one I knew from Bridlington who was a regular 16:30 or quicker runner, on the watch the 3rd and 4th K splits were 3:24 and 3:26. This meant I went into last lap with watch telling me I was on for a sub 16 pace. By now it had dawned on me that watch was out, I just wasn’t sure by how much, I still felt like that pace was good and then after the bottom bend I kicked to the line. I crossed the line thinking it would be close. After catching my breath looked at the watch 17:22. WTF watch had been well out and when results came out they rounded my time of 17:22.218 up to 17:23 giving me the exact as Podium.
I was in a weird place as on one hand I knew I had run in tougher conditions and produced a better performance and know a few tweaks and I can achieve that goal time. But on the other hand I was annoyed that I had let the watch dictate pace. When I thought I was on goal it transpired I was around 5/6s down per lap. Had I worked this out from the first lap then maybe things could have been different. Good thing is to take the positives from the race, stronger performance in tough conditions for example and learn from the lessons in race. I know my exact splits from that race now as well as the splits from my PB time in 2019. We (my coach and I) have decided to go back in June to have another crack before the marathon training kicks in from July. I’m already planning my strategy for the race so I know my splits going over the mats each lap.
For those wondering here are my watch splits compared to my official splits
- 0:23.8 (additional time till I finished)