Saturday did not go how I had planned. Was just one of those days where nothing went to plan but looking back at it, the time I got was probably accurate time of where I am currently. The speed endurance is there as I have shown recently at Podium 5K but lack of track sessions means my top end speed isn’t where it was the last time I raced on the track back in 2018 when was running 4:33.38 for 1500m.
Since Podium my training has been OK but I had a down week straight after Podium, so low mileage and only one proper speed session. This was at my request so could spend some quality time with family, as it was my wife’s first week off work since Christmas. Anyone who has family knows you have to find a balance, so making family time was more important then running that week. Right now I’m trying to get the balance right with running, racing, football and family. I have a bad habit of going a little crazy and doing too much, that’s why I have Sarah & Jo to make sure I don’t over race or over stretch myself. Sometimes I can’t see the wood for all the trees.
Anyway originally the plan was to do 800m but I was in Wales when entries opened and in the end got the 3000m. Now I last raced a 3000m in 2017 and 3 years is a hell of a long time between races but I felt confident of having a good race. Last week was another low mileage week but unlike Podium come Saturday I felt tired and sluggish and with race not till 4:50pm in afternoon it meant another day of hanging round clock watching. I had done a 200m track session Tuesday knocking our consistent sub 37s reps but then talking to Jo my aim was to go sub 10:00 minutes. Now back in 2017/2018 I would have felt this was a comfortable target, basically sub 80s 400m splits. I have done in several times before and after seeing the 5 others in my race I also felt I could potentially win my heat.
However, what I had not taken into account and in hindsight was silly that I had not taken my recent Podium split into account. I had run 3:33, 3:33, 3:34 for first 3K at podium that gave me a 10:40 splits but I had paced it based on my target time perfectly. My aim was to run 3:20 or quicker per 1000m that is a big jump in terms of speed. Realistically I should have been looking at 10:20 if everything had clicked on the day…….
So we arrive an hour before hand. I had forgotten that you need numbers front and back so that meant I only had 2 pins for either number, not good when it’s windy as well. The wind also concerned me as was so blustery. Once I picked my number up the tannoy announced the 3000m heats had merged. So I had gone from heat 4 into heat 2 and was running with 6 runners in the quicker heat 3. This again threw me as now I was more concerned about getting it wrong early doors etc. I found we (family and I) was only ones wearing masks and my wife dislikes track meets at best of times as she finds they are not well organised, so she never seems happy. Without her I am unable to race so making sure she is happy is paramount but I sensed she was on edge soon as she had to pay to watch me. So that also threw my head.
I left the girls to do 2 laps of Longford Park then plan was to do my drills on track. By time I had got my spikes on and sorted my numbers the track officials called us early, I also saw I was one of only a few in spikes (not done anything in spikes in 2 years) so maybe doing a 3000m in them wasn’t a good idea and I could defo feel the lack of cushioning towards back end of race and feet are still sore this morning.
We lined up and I didn’t want to get boxed in so almost stopped to let others get in front. Then had to work around outside to get where I wanted to be. First couple of laps felt OK but wasn’t going fast enough. Usually you have someone shouting the 400m times out but instead officials were stood chatting and the clock was blocked by the lap counter so was hard to see. The watch was no help as GPS is useless on a track. All this and build up meant I just wasn’t relaxed and wasn’t running my own race. I went through in around 3:20, (3:21.47 by time I pressed button watch) but I had pushed on but could already feel myself have to really work hard. With 4 laps to go I was hanging on and the places I had made up (was 7th at one point) I was losing the two ladies that past me and I couldn’t respond the 2nd 1000m split came and was 3:28.60 on watch and by now I was a spent force. I was just trying to keep going. I hit the bell with 9:00 on clock but took me 87.45 to do final lap as had nothing left in tank. I crossed the line and it felt like hardest 3000m ever. I had come 2nd to last and posted my slowest ever 3000m time.
I was gutted, my legs felt like lead, my feet were burning and was annoyed it had gone so badly. Yet over weekend my view changed. I was wrong to assume I was in 10:00 shape as nothing in training indicates that. Had I gone into race looking at sub 10:20 I would have paced it differently and things could have been different. The track is unforgiving and conditions on day didn’t help but it has made me hungry to put it right. I can’t finish track season with my slowest time, so going to talk to Jo this week and plan some more races and hopefully in next few weeks find some speed!