RACES: 1 Mile Handicap

Yesterday’s 1-Mile handicapped start race at Crusaders went very well for me. I felt rusty getting warmed up; so much so that I didn’t complete more than one stride during the club warmup (I did do 3x200m with 1:36 recovery at an easy sprint pace instead, however). I was afraid I’d have nothing left in the legs.

I was started off mid-group after my, at the time, dismal 5:53 performance 4 weeks ago, and planned to go out pushing the pace running just below 80 seconds per lap, which would yield a result in the range of the 5:15 I was hoping for. The wind was incredibly strong up in Irishtown, however, and the general consensus before the run seemed to be that this would be no day for fast runs.

Yet I still immediately started passing people out, which is always a great feeling, even in a handicap race on laps (how the mind is easily fooled!). Because of the incessant passing out I must have pushed pace a bit as I finished the first 400m in 73sec, second lap was on target in 79 seconds, before I had a strange drop in pace (that I didn’t notice) on the third lap doing it in 86 seconds before finishing with 80 seconds. Every time I hit the windy side, I lowered my cadence and increased my stride length which seemed to somewhat reduce the energy lost running into the wind.

The end result was a very solid 5:21, or 3:19 pace (18kph), which is as fast as I’ve run in a test. I’m confident that I would have hit 5:15 without the windy conditions, and now take it as a given that if my training keeps being consistent and uninterrupted by injury, I’ll break the 5-minute barrier within a few months, I certainly didn’t feel like I was running to the limit of my abilities at any stage which feels a runner with insatiable hunger for more!

It’s funny to say so, when you’re running hard, because the experience was certainly not “comfortable” on the other hand, I’ve worked much, much harder in races than I had to do here on the track, so I am always tempted to do a 1-mile race simply to see how hard I could run in a more “serious” situation. That I could do 3:04min/km (19.6kph) pace for the first 400m was also positive as I wasn’t all out sprinting, so this seems to be a genetically achievable pace for me over longer distances.

To cap off the day, myself and Gavan Doherty went out to do a further 4x200m, and Gavan proved a very able pace-setter, pushing us to do the hard efforts in around 37 seconds, which is 3:05 pace, or 19.5kph. With a bit slow running around, I managed to squeeze 9.9km into the session on the track and left if feeling, oddly, fresher than before the session. A perfect night was capped off with my team winning the club table quiz and some great Mizuno running tees, thanks to Shane for arranging the event!