Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Race Report #6 - 5000m Track Debut (17m 22s)

To be honest I didn't expect much of this race. How could I after a weeks holiday after the last race?

No speed training for almost 3 weeks, no long runs, probably only three 8 mile runs in two weeks, a 12 hour flight only 4 days previously.... I couldn't expect much from this, but I had to see where I was at.

And where was I? Well I was at the track but it appeared my legs were still on holiday. I tried to kick start them but they were having none of it. We can't always have days like the last race where by the end of it I could have kept on running, we'd like to though. Not this time I'm afraid.

Right so, the race build up.

Summer finally hit London on Saturday so the racing conditions were probably perfect. Before the race I got a good warm up in. My coach told me to be sweating at the start and that's what I did. The warm up comprised of about a half an hour jogging around with a few 50 to 100 metre bursts every now and again. I then gave myself 10 minutes in the shade before the race started.

This was probably the smallest field I'd ever raced in... there were about 10 of us! Guaranteed a top 10 finish from the start was always going to be a bonus. The plan going into this race was to not start too fast and go with it. This was always going to be interesting as I have a habit of starting like the clappers, slow off for a bit and then find my rhythm. This time I had to start controlled.

On the gun I immediately placed my behind the leading two with one lad on my shoulder. The pace for the first lap seemed very comfortable, my breathing was easy and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself at all.
This is going to be a daddle! Clearly I'm a natural.
At the end of the first lap one of the officials was calling out the times as we passed. 1 minute 15 seconds. Shit! This is the same pace I used do 15 x 400m at the height of my training last summer with 1 minute rest. There was no way in hell I was going to maintain this for 12 laps.
Stick with it... you'll be fine

After the second and third lap continued at this pace I knew I had to let the guy behind me overtake me so I could pace off him. I slowed ever so slightly to encourage him to pass. He did and I stuck with him. Unfortunately I didn't stick with him too long and from there the race was over and it was me against the lap indicator now. Every time I got onto the final 100 metres there was a huge relief to see the 7 had changed to 6, then to 5. Then it was all in the head
4 laps... it's just a mile... easy... now 3... phhh that's nothing
This continued until I reached the bell, got around one last time and crossed the line and just began gasping for air!

All in all, track racing? I loved it! Every second of it up there. I may have been a fair whack off my 5km road time and the time I hope to post by the end of July (more on this soon) but there was something about racing on the track that just seemed to work for me, that just felt right. Maybe it's having grown up watching different games, Olympics, European and World Championships; being glued to the TV like every other Irish person as Sonia O'Sullivan was racing around Barcelona track; maybe it's that connection that made me love my first outing onto this track. Or maybe it was the fact that 12 and a half laps seemed a lot shorter than when I did it on the road! Who knows?!

So it seems the arrival of May has brought about the arrival of the track season for me... and tonight sees the arrival of my first track training session of the year. After a few weeks of no real tough training sessions I have to be completely honest... I can't wait for it!
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