Wednesday, 9 September 2009

It's Grim Oop.....

It's an interesting clubhouse that is forced to put up a sign saying "Do Not Spit in the Showers". At least, I fervently hope that that was a 'p' and not an 'h' - it wasn't clear due to the brown smudging around the edges.

I'd secretly been hoping to get a 5k PR at the Mansfield 5k although my confidence was tempered a bit by some proper Northern weather (rain and wind) and a course that had very few flat portions. My PR is a very modest 16:30 set a few years ago and as my recent 3k projects out to a sub 16:00 5k I was reasonably confident of at least going close, despite my poor stamina. Yet again, however, I felt my energy gradually leeching away during the race to the extent that by the end my legs had become comatosed and useless. My final time of 17:13 was pretty pathetic but that's about all I had, which is very disappointing. As the final slap in the face I got overtaken by a young lady so I came in as 19th male and 20th person!

In hindsight this will perhaps be the most useful result of the season. I'd had a suspicion that I'd backed off threshold and long runs much too early - partly because of a knee injury, partly because of the compressed year and crucially about 5 ill-timed hangovers. Next year I will make it a priority to ensure a long and deep base period and to carry on with the stamina work into the competitive phase of the year. There's no point having a good sprint finish if you are 600m behind the leaders near the line! I wonder what I could have run over 800m this year if I'd kept my stamina up to par......

Today is the final day of the season for me and it's back to a more realistic distance of 400m this evening at Watford. I hope to run in the low 51's and from there it's on to a few weeks transition before the next season starts in early October. No rest for the bone-idle!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Popping A Good One

Forgive the late update on monday's racing. Getting broadband out of virgin media has been about as easy as getting anything out of a virgin.

It was the Peterborough City games on monday where I was entered in the 800m at about 12:30 and the 1500m at around 4 p.m. First impressions weren't stellar as it was £6 to park, they charged me for safety pins for my number and there were no schedules posted (but, predictably, you could buy a program with them in it). I did fear they might try and charge me for having a shit but they did draw the line somewhere.

Having said that any nitpicking with the charges proved well worth it. The organisation was fantastic, timing accurate, results quickly posted and, in a rare break from tradition, trophies were really quite good.

There were 6 runners in the 800m a couple of whom had run quicker then me this year. I adopted my usual tactics of riding their coattails until the very last minute. I didn't put a watch on it but the first 200m seemed ludicrously fast and I was still in last place at the bell, which I took at about 59.4. I had forgotten how intense the 800m can be and it's only once I start my move that I actually feel that I can keep up. I think this is a combination of a shortage of speedwork and perhaps a lack of faith in my training as the season has been short. Even so, once I got going my confidence grew as the pain increased and I found a decent turn of foot down the straight to win in 1:57.12. Slightly surprised, but very pleased, with the finishing time particularly as I felt as though I was still carrying some stella artois dregs from the heavy friday night. That's good enough to be ranked 6th in the UK over 800m for over 35's which is satisfying after 7 months of training in a negatively split race.

For the 1500m my aim was to post a good time but once again the win was the priority. Given my speed the slower the race the better my chance, so I knew I had the race after a very slow first half where once again I found myself in last place. As the final straight was windy I had decided to take up the lead and stretch the field entering the 4th lap, slow up on the final bend and then quicken again on the final straight - the idea being that the other racers would have to close up / overtake into the wind. Suffice it to say everything went according to plan and I won fairly comfortably in 4:20.9. Not a great time and it looks like I've run out of time to post a good 1500m time before my season shuts down on wednesday.

In the meantime I've foolishly entered the Mansfield open 5k tonight where we'll see if I have any stamina left at all. At least the first kilometre will feel pretty easy!