Sunday, 3 February 2008

A rather odd day in the office...

Today I ran in the Dewsbury 10k, a super fast 'pb' course, with every intention of continuing my nine month winning streak of personal best times... As I've already said Dewsbury is a super-fast course and warming up I felt great, I was 5kgs lighter than last year, much fitter, had just smashed my half marathon time and all my mates who I run with have 10k times in the low 36's, I started well, paced it perfectly, felt strong, gave it everything and...

was ten seconds slower than last year :( finishing in 37:40 :( :(

I don't think I've ever had a race quite like it. Everything went brilliantly from the build up to the race itself but for some reason the clock just didn't play ball?? I'm normally pretty good at predicting my times and had expected something around 36:30, in fact if I hadn't had a watch on I would have laid money that that's what I'd done, but for some reason the speed just wasn't there... even thought it felt like it was?? odd!

To briefly run through the race... I was using a Garmin GPS for the first time and had set it to bleep every 0.5k with the aim of averaging 1:52. Running through the first 500m at what seemed like a slightly too fast pace I was a bit concerned to see that I was bang-on target and would therefore need to keep the hammer down for the next 19! Still, pushing on I felt comfortable through 2 & 3 km and was confident that if I could could stay within reach of my 3:42 per km through the uphill 4th and 5th kms I'd be looking good for the downhill second half. Reaching half-way in about 18:45 I knew a decent 5k would see me under 37 for the first time and felt confident that it was on. At the 7k mark I'd clawed back to about 5 seconds down and was still passing people with ease but frustratingly the wind decided to show its face. A 15mph headwind all the way home, compounded by the fact I found myself running solo,
saw me slow through 8, 9 and 10 to cross the line in 37:40.

So where did it go wrong?

First of all why was I slower than last year? Although I am undoubtedly fitter and stronger than 12 months ago today came at the end of 14 pretty hard days as opposed to last year where I'd had a comparitively easy build-up. This race was never a major goal and consequently I'd trained right up to yesterday with a hard two hour turbo. Secondly, I think the wind probably played quite a large part... to live up to my 'statto' nickname, the top few times were considerably slower than previous years and I actually finished 22 places higher (82nd v 104th) in a slightly larger field. I would still expect to be faster though as two weeks ago I finished within a minute of TonyB over double the distance compared to two minutes behind him today.

DID it actually go wrong?

Actually I'm pretty please overall. To get so close to my 10k pb when I've not trained specifically for it and haven't done any speedwork for at least six months isn't too bad. I've also felt strong all the way through and was very comfortable on a 40 mile ride in the Dales this afternoon. The bottom line is I think the wind cost me around 30 seconds and my lack of speed work probably another 30-45... I'd have been over the moon with 36:30-36:45. You can always tell when you haven't found that extra bit of speed when your legs don't hurt after the race, and jogging back to the car today they felt no different to jogging to the start line.

Most importantly I'd set myself the goal last week of crossing the finish line today giving it my absolute all right to the line and definitely achieved that. Although I seemed to have some kind of 6-minute-mile 'rev-limiter' fitted to my legs I really couldn't have squeezed another second from anywhere.

What was also great was the large number of Virgin Active Road Runners and Leeds Bradford Triathletes I saw out on the course. Well done to everyone, particularly all those who pb'd despite the wind and thanks for the amazing shouts of encouragement along the way.

Finally, I couldn't think of a good picture for today so typed 'not enough speed' in to Google and that was the first thing that it found!

Speak soon,

T ;)


Khara Mills said...

Hey Tom
Impressive blog time, hope you got to bed soon after! I just had to post a comment seeing that picture - I hope you don't feel as bad as that plane! It's still great to hear about your training progress, and you're obviously making loads despite the race today, it really must be down to the wind. Keep up the hard work, I don't know anyone as focused as you and you continue to be an inspiration.
See you Tuesday
Khara :-)

Jevon said...

Hey Tom
Here's what i think. I think that the curve has to level sometime. We can't go on forever improving. Your acceleration from excellent athlete to near pro standard has been dramatic. That has to slow sometime - it does for all of us whatever our level.
Also, I think we forget that the body is an extremely complex system of organic entities and that often times all the planning and science in the world can't overcome a body's over-riding state. I think you should accept the slow down in the 10k and take it as a chance to reflect on the massive amount you've achieved. Allow yourself a period of stabilisation where you're not looking to break records. Think of it as an Everest Camp 3 before entering the death zone. Rest up, train well, but emerge from your 'camp' in a couple of weeks full of vim, vigour and then start to build to new PB's again.

Thanks for the post on my blog. Yeah, pleased with training at the moment. Down to 93kgs too so going well. Will be in touch about that bike ride. Assume weekends are when you do your long rides?