Last Thursday something I had not achieved since January 2017 happened. I set a brand new personal best at a road race! Going into the race I felt good and knew I had a decent time in me after my recent performance at Elvington. I knew the course having done it twice last year where I posted 17:13 (my 2nd quickest 5k time ever, till last week). Training wise everything was going great and the solo speed sessions on the TPT I felt were making me stronger. However, while I still dream of running sub 17 for a 5K my goal was simple, to beat my previous 5k time I set last month at the World Kidney Day 5K.
With the race not till 8pm, I did an easy 3 miles after breakfast just to tick the legs over and I felt myself constantly holding myself back. Which I felt was ready to race. The journey up to Heslington was uneventful for a change with little traffic and I arrived with nearly 50 mins before the race! After picking my number up I chilled in the car as it was cold and only getting colder. There was an easterly wind that made it ever colder due to the wind chill.
We had opted to let Molly go to grandparents for the evening so Sarah had to contend with the cold on her own. She helped me with my race number as I was proper dithering. I did a lap warm up with Phil Taylor who I knew was a low 16 minute runner. It allowed me to workout where the wind would play a part and it was on the back part of the course. I said to Sarah ‘tell me to push at lap 4’ as I knew that’s where my time would be won/lost. We was lined up and after instructions it was go time. For once I didn’t go with the early pace setters, instead I held back and let them shoot off, I got myself safely round the crowded first bend and slotted in behind the early group. The first lap felt comfortable and made sure not to push the pace. I knew from previous races I always slowed down from bottom bend back to the start, so subconsciously made it my mission to push hard every time coming off the bend. It would be a tactic that helped me enormously!
After the first lap I was on my own as those in front were all drawn out and I assumed same behind me, so I had no one to work off. I just continued racing hard, I kept an eye on my watch as I looped round the back part of the course as this effected my pace by about 10-15s not much but I felt I was working harder on this part then attacking the course back to the start from the bottom bend. On the second lap my pace on back part was 5:40+ going back to finish it was 5:11, so there was a real difference in my pace. It was a good job I did attack the back part. The first mile seemed to take ages to come but it buzzed at 5:24. Exactly want I wanted. My idea was to replicate the first 3 miles at Elvington (5:27, 5:35, 5:37). I was on target now usually at 5k I start to slow after a mile by around 10-20s and again for 3rd mile. However, I pushed on, keeping each lap hard around the back and then pushing pace back to the start/finish.
I also noticed that no one had caught me and I was slowly gaining ground on the others. As I completed lap 3, I heard Sarah shout support. I watched the clock say 10:3x (still waiting for the official lap splits) I really pushed hard and managed to gain ground and as watch buzzed I looked to see 5:30. WOW I was on for a fast time if I kept it going for one more mile. Mentally over the winter I have seen big improvements and I really pushed hard on the 4th lap and I saw clock again for final lap say 13:30 (I think) I kicked and caught a runner on the final back part of the loop and soon as I hit bottom bend I made my move. I also could hear other runners making their move but I pushed hard and it was an all out sprint for the finish, I’ve never finish as hard in a race as I did here I could see the clock still say 16:xx but despite hitting sub 5 pace I crossed the line in 17:06 the same time as 3 other runners.
I was done, I had given it everything and I had gotten my reward with a new personal best of 17:06 a 6s PB. I had never run a race so well paced and tactically I got it spot on attacking the back end of the lap worked perfectly. I still think that I can run a sub 17 and now I know its 7s to find. Maybe later in year when its not as windy I can have another crack at it. However, I feel it is a benchmark to push on and start breaking some more personal bests. Plus as I bet my previous 5K time I
- Position: 12th
- Time: 17:06
- Strava Record
- Kit Used: Xempo Vest, Adidas Base Layer, Arsuxeo 2in1 shorts, Sockimine Black Griplock Lightweight socks.