RACES: 5000m Meet

My first indoor track Meet completed and another classic story of good and bad decisions written. Going proved a good decision because I learned a good bit about how much damage had been done since I set the 5:11 mile 2 weeks after picking up my injuries in early December.

Almost 8 weeks of poor training later, I am setback, but not fatally.

Today's race went off according to plan initially, I just hung on to the back of the 20 strong field for the first few laps and felt good and relaxed finishing the first 7 200s in 41, 41, 43, 43, 42, 42 and 42. Not bad considering my goal was 42 seconds per lap.

Then the wheels started to come off, the last runner passed me out and actually broke a hole which demoralised me a bit, at the same time I was struggling to quite keep pace completing all of the next seven laps in 44-45 seconds.

Looking at my watch I saw I was closing in on 10 minutes and would be needing at least 40 second laps for the remainder to stay on course for 17:30. This being 3:21 pace, I knew it wasn't in the cards and I faced the ignominy of pulling out at the end of lap 14 rather than being just another obstacle on the track for the serious runners going about their work. (winning time on the day would be 15:11, with the field all between 15-19 minutes, meaning some must have faded much more towards the end than I had anticipated).

At the time I dropped out I was doing 3:45min/km (45 sec 200s), could I have maintained it I would I have run 18:22, a 23 second PB, but to be honest I wasn't feeling well and this was odd as I wasn't particularly tired later and easily completed another 8k cooldown, a lot at a brisk pace.

Had I been more awake I would have realised than one more lap would have given me a new 3000m PB. I have a slow 11:13 PB on the 3000m from last Spring, and and with 10:07 on the clock at 2800m, I needed only a 65 seconds 200 to break it (walking in racing terms, or 5:25 pace, something that would be slow even for my recovery runs at the moment).

I didn't realise though and missed out on it, so what did I learn:
  • Racing with bad preparation (long night, few drinks) is unlikely to yield much enlightenment
  • My first mile was run in 5:38, my third fastest ever, and I almost PBed on the 3000m
  • I had reached TPL of 23 late November, but have regressed to a TPL 25 or 26. A realistic target for today's 5k would have been 18:20-18:38 (still PB)
I have a lot of work to do over the coming 12 weeks to return to 23 and then start looking forward again. Tomorrow I am planning a 2 hour long run in the cold and then a few hours cross-country skiing to really get back on the horse again and put two months of misery behind me.

On the good side, I have been training at TPL 25-26 for the last few weeks, so my own feeling of where my regression places me exactly matched reality, of course I didn't take the logical next step and pick a realistic goal but instead went for the best possible based on previous performances.

Oh, and I need to work on my racing head...