It was the final BMC Grand Prix of the season, and host to English and Northern 10000m champs. Last year’s experience here of the wiley 25-lap discipline was of a very bleak, lonely, and frustrating 31 minutes. It was exactly how you expect a track race in Manchester to be. Wet, cold, and miserable. This year it wasn’t wet.
We also decided it was also the LTC 10000m championships – very hotly contested. 6 prominent LTC members were in action, and I considered myself the least favourable based on this summer’s’ training and racing. Nevertheless, I was more prepared than ever to give it my best shot.
I went into the race with a plan. A plan of three simple steps: conserve energy, work hard when it gets hard, and deal my situation after 20 laps. And, I knew if I followed that plan I would do my best, and give myself the chance of running 29:50 odd (and a new PB).
Writing this, I still have mixed feelings. I was delighted with my performance. I was delighted with the other lads’ performances. But, disappointed I wasn’t able to play closer order to my teammates.
I looked up to see 24:16 on the clock. 10/20 seconds down. I knew I was in for a rugged endeavour.
But, I’ve seen Aaron naked, so surely I could handle the final 5 laps.
The week leading into the race, I was extremely confident I could achieve the sort of time aforementioned. The day before was a huge contrast. I was in a foul mood, and my confidence took a huge hit. I can’t help but think things may have been different if it wasn’t for this. However, perhaps it’s one of those subconscious, self-sabotaging, need-to-avoid-failure traits in the build up to a significant race.
As always, though, the 2 hour drive from Lincoln to Manchester always provides a great pre-race ritual of anecdotes, training masterclasses, and discussions on why we’re not yet breaking world records. This always fuels my mood to race.
The warm up was a pretty usual experience for me – getting dropped by the lads, feeling shoddy, and wondering how much toilet paper to save for the race.
During the race, I didn’t want any time-based influence until the later stages. 8km to be precise. That was when I was hurting, and in a whole new world of trouble. Phase 1 and phase 2 were complete, so I looked up to see 24:16 on the clock. 10/20 seconds down. I knew I was in for a rugged endeavour. But, I’ve seen Aaron naked, so surely I could handle the final 5 laps. Within 100m my mind was everywhere. First – “I can’t do this” to “I can run a 5:40 2km” finishing with “just f***ing hold it together”. I did not hold it together. At least, not for the next 1km. Post-race analysis revealed lap splits of 78, 79, 77 for 8400, 8800, 9200.
Even just a solid performance was dramatically slipping out of my very sweaty hands. And, the silent drive home was quickly looming.
I salvaged a PB in my final two laps. I rose from the abyss with a blistering 73, and 69, to run 30:30 and a 2 second PB! It’s brutal how 20 laps of composed and efficient execution were nearly ruined by 3 dark, dark laps of hell.
On a humorous note, I’ve managed to run a quicker 10000m than my two 5000m races combined! (15:30 and 15:11). Another year, another daft Po10 year to add to my profile.