Knowing that you are doing a 10k the next morning, on trails, the last thing Mr Smith wanted was rain the night before. Surely that would ruin any chance of a PB? Find out how Mr Smith got on at Mels Milers 10k…
This is the latest in a series of race that were either not done or badlay affected by the ankle injury & surgery last year. The season is about hitting those races again and seeing what can be done.
After the evening of rain, not heavy but enough for everything to be wet, it was a lovely morning for a run. Perfect conditions, no breeze and the right temperature, but how would the underfoot conditions be? The big decision of the day was the shoes to take, road or more of a trail shoe. Road was chosen and fingers crossed it would not be too wet.
The confession is that the pre race preparation was not great the night before, maybe a glass of red to many, so the feeling in the morning was not great. Mind you, it had been a decent nights sleep for once.
After the normal breakfast there was a period of stretching out, but mainly the roller on the calf and hip flexors to try and loosen things up. Generally the legs felt good so it was time to head off to the lovely Christs Hospital.
The advantage of a local race, 10 minutes in the car and you are there.
Number collected, changed and ready to run.
As we all lined up Mr Smith made sure he was not too far from the front to avoid any potential issues with being stuck behind runners.
Then it was off. A lovely run round the school grounds on the paths, a bit narrow in places but no major hold ups. Then it was off down the Downs Link. The first part was fine, compact ground but a bit muddy. Then as expected a section that was muddier and puddles, but as this was a race it was just a question of picking your line or just straight through the middle.
The pace on this first section was surprisingly quick with the first 4km all under 4:30 pace. Surely this was too fast? The feeling was quite good, but thoughts were about backing off a little bit.
Turning off the Downs Link and heading through Southwater the 5k point came up in 22:20, probably the second fastest 5k ever! Checking the watch against the km points though it looked like the GPS was lagging behind a bit, not surprising in the trees, which meant that in reality it was probably even quicker!
Getting towards the 7km point it was time for the part of the course that was going to be tough. knowing the route from a lot of cycling in that area Mr Smith knew that going up through the field would be a bit tough, but luckily it was not as muddy as it could have been.
However, by this point the body was starting to suffer, and the mind! Feeling like the pace had been too hot to start with Mr Smith eased off a bit and put in the slowest KM of 4:56 (but this did coincide with the tought part and was more up than down)
The return back along the Downs Link was a bit muddier than the outward route. No surprise with 300 runners having gone over it. This meant the pace was not as high as the outbound, but Mr Smith gave himeself a kick up the backside at about 8.5km to try and push on towards the finish.
The mind had definitely wandered but the focus was back. There was not going to be a chance of a sprint finish, but the pace did pick back up to 4:20 per km for the last KM.
Looking at the watch Mr Smith knew this was going to be a PB, assuming the km markers were accurate, even if he just trotted it home. However, it was going to be close to 45:00 minutes, which would have been the seasons goal, but Mr Smith knew that would be a little too much to ask in the last km, but it would still be good.
Turning back in to the school grounds and all of a sudden it was the last 400m and running down to the Quadrangle for the finish the pace was as high as possible, but not a sprint. Seeing the official clock it was just ticking over 45:00 and through the line the watch was stopped at 45:13 (official time of 45:16).
That was really quite remarkable and unxpected. This was not a target race, the underfoot conditions were definitely not condusive for a fast time and the training has been focused on half marathon pace.
This was the instruction from the coach pre race:
“I don’t think you should be too caught up on specific pacing as to be honest we are stepping a little into the unknown – you know you are in great shape and racing well. We haven’t done loads of 10km focused sessions though so we are running this off the back of half marathon fitness. I think you can lay down a great time but you need to go in there without too much focus on the watch. For you right now you should be able to sustain a strong threshold effort for a whole 10km so after the first 1/2 mile or so its 4 word answer effort the whole way, running strongly and consistently and lets see what time pops out”
Instructions nailed and a great time popped out! 2.5% improvement on the race 4 weeks ago, which was on tarmac and flat. Threshold zone was achieved just under 1km and stayed there until the end.
It was definitely tough towards the end, but a great feeling to get such a good time on the course. Even better was how fast the recovery was post race and that the legs feel great, plus then meeting up with friends at the end who had also done a great PB. Gret to see them finish and cheer them through the line.
The GPS did measure the course about 170m short, but as it is an officially measured course it is assumed that it was just the trees that caused the issue, which can be seen when looking at the pace analysis as at times the pace really slowed, which did not happen in reality.
The positives of the race:
- It was fun
- New 10k PB
- Fastest KM recorded on the watch of 4:11.14
- Fastest Mile recorded on the watch of 6:52:06
- 50th place out of 300, top 17%
- 14th out 47 in the category, top 30%
- Both 5k splits were quicker than any other 5k split in all of the other 10k’s
- The period were the mind lost focus a bit (this will be worked on)
That is now 5 races with the coach and 5 pb’s so far, it is definitely working!