Leeds Abbey Dash was a disaster… it really was – So pants was it in fact, that I’ve stricken it from memory. I can’t even remember what my time was; only that it was 33-‘something’, and that’s a long way short of where I was hoping and expecting to be… I needed to take a step back and take a long hard look at my training.
So I took a step back – and with just a passing glance it was blatantly obvious where my shortfall came – lack of mileage. I’d nailed the sessions just as I had in 2013 – but my mileage was a good 20+ miles a week lower. Whilst 40-50mi/week may be enough for the lightweight track descendants, being as a Tank is to an F1 car, I need to be in/around the 70’s to be breaking 33min. As As obvious as it was to the eye, it definitely needed a spreadsheet or charts to illustrate how right my assumption was, so I employed the use of ‘training peaks’ to create some lovely charts which suitably proved my theory. I just didn’t have the training behind me for Leeds – whilst I’d increased the intensity of my easy runs, this fell a long way short of making up for the drop in overall mileage.
So instantly my original transitional training plan from Leeds to Telford went out the window and the focus shifted to mileage – trying to get back to the McCarkiss ‘Magic 10′ and averaging 10 miles a day, or rather 70 a week… This was nearly achieved with some consistency – there was an injury scare and a brutally painful sports therapy treatment/massage involved, but I just about held together and with a couple of sharpener sessions in the final week – I was ready to make another assault on sub 33.
I travelled to Telford alone – Absent was my brother, travel/race partner for Telford for the past 3 years, and also the rest of the McCarkiss lads, for a variety of reasons; McCarthy drinking dirty water and pretending its beer out in Saudi’ and Jordan was a last minute withdrawal due to school show prep’ and polishing his oboe.
Being alone can work well for me – no need to think about anything but my own prep for the race, no rushing around trying to get to the start line excessively before the start of the race to appease the frantic worrying nature of others (no names-named). My warmup was done, a few drills and stretches were done, I’d changed and was lining up with 5mins to spare – one of my earliest arrivals at a start line, and I was worryingly relaxed – enjoying a chat with Stevey Page before getting underway in my last 10k of the year.
So… sub 33 was the main target… let’s go.
Race underway and as always at Telford the first half mile didn’t require a drop of effort other than making sure you didn’t trip. The rise at the start of the main loop is the first inkling of how the body is feeling about the pace and things were feeling pretty tough. I was chasing Stephen Page and finding it far from easy. After passing Steve on the way to the switchback point, I was finding myself with a decent size gap forming in front and nobody immediately on my shoulder – I can’t remember ever feeling so close to other runners, but also feeling so alone – the 10m ahead to the next runner felt like a truly unassailable lead.
By 4km the negative thoughts were creeping in – it was feeling tough, I had dropped a place or two, it felt slow and I was shocked at the massive number of runners ahead of me. I was beginning to wonder why I’d bothered coming. Dropping out was never an option but who wants to batter themselves for a disappointing time? Anyway, it was nearly halfway – let’s just hope the halfway timing clock doesn’t read over 16:30!
5km marker approaches, and the clock ticks by 15:54, 15:55, 15:56… as 2011, I’d equalled my 5k PB of 15:56 through halfway… excellent… I mean I know every year I drop about 40-50secs on the second lap, but if I just kept motoring along, I could/would/should manage sub 33.
There isn’t much left to say about the second lap – it was just a case of grinding it out for a few miles – trying to ignore what was going on around me, people passing, gaps opening/closing…just running my own race and being hopeful of that sub 33 – it had to be in the bag surely?
Approaching the 3mi marker for the second time, there was about 400m to go – in a world first I was able to kick for home with the finish line out of sight and severral hundred metres away- I wound it up and flew past the guy who had been completely out of reach for the last few miles. Rounding the last bend the finish line came into site and I was metres away by the time I spotted the race clock… 32:26, 27, 28… WOW!
Shocked and amazed… only 8 seconds behind my PB. Yes please, I’ll take that!
I caught my breath (or part of it) and looked over my shoulder to see Steve Page had finished – having targeted a new PB and sub 34 run – he’d smashed it… he’d run sub 33mins – a cracking breakthrough run that at MCKEP HQ we’ve said for some time would come soon enough. Well deserved… a great run Mr Page; kudos! (Must’ve been that pre race pep talk…)
So that’s pretty much me done for the year – It also signals 10 years since I first started running in late 2005 – I can barely believe it! Attention now turns to base building and trying to stay in one piece… Let’s see what 2016 brings; most successful year ever… (just saying)…
Photo credit and thanks to Brian Smith of http://westmidlandsrunningscene.co.uk/