Summer in England is a strange concept. It constantly feels like it’s around the corner; you wait, and wait; ready your summer vests; dream of a golden tan and yearn for the long days that stretch into one another. And then you receive the phone call that awakens you from your hazy slumber: relays are here, are you available? Cue winter’s icy grip. Welcome back reality.
For myself, this summer has represented a strange period in my running. It’s been the most consistent training and racing period of my life. A PB of 14:25 over 5000m in the monsoon-like conditions of Belgium was satisfactory, a fast-finishing 3:51 over 1500m in Loughborough was also satisfactory – with more races I felt like I could attack that 3:45 mark. But I felt like training indicated I was capable of more: Stretford 10,000m was the main summer goal and an opportunity to revise my PB of 30:18 from earlier in the season awaited.
I completed a number of sessions that filled me with confidence; the highlight being 7 x 800m in an average of 2:10. Running was starting to feel easy. I felt sub 30 was possible.
In the weeks building up to the race, I completed a number of sessions that filled me with confidence; the highlight being 7x800m in an average of 2:10. Running was starting to feel easy. I felt sub 30 was possible.
Race day came and the typical British weather accompanied it: wind and rain. Fortunately, as the race crept closer, the winds and the rain eased and the stage was set. I warmed up as normal and I felt horrendous; no change there then. Into the race, I quickly settled into a group with fellow LTC athletes: Aaron, King Lucian and James. We clicked off 72’s but I didn’t feel great- the pace felt awkward and my legs felt heavy; together with tightness in my lower back, I had to force myself to switch off. 3k passed in 8:58 – still on pace; I still felt terrible. Again, I told myself to ignore my body and push on. At 5k, which was passed in 14:59 (editors note – it was 15:01), the tightness in my lower back increased and I felt I could not carry on at the pace required to break 30 – my sole aim for the race. So, at this point, I made a conscious decision to stop and turn my attentions to Cardiff 10k in early September. I knew that a trip to the physio would ease my symptoms and allow me to run more freely next time round. The rest of the LTC boys carried on bravely and were rewarded with some impressive PB’s (Lucian 30:09, James 30:09 and Aaron 30:15 – a SB). A special mention must also go to Shane who ran strong to record a time of 30:30 – a strong showing given his recent injury and out-of-shape problems.
Driving home, I felt positive about the decision I made to drop out. A night out in Kinky Disco and a trip to the physio on the Monday saw me right and I made the choice to race at the final Lincoln Wellington 5k race of the season. A solo run around a twisty course saw me take the win from Notts AC’s, Ben Livesey in 14:47 – I felt good and strong and had taken down Bowser’s course record! I decided to ride on this new wave of confidence and raced the Richard Belton 5k in Nottingham a few days later. After being led through 3k in a touch under 8:50 by Ali Watson, I pushed on to record a time of 14:32 – another pleasing, confidence-boosting performance.
Next for me is Cardiff 10k. I’ve decided to forget about chasing times and just run hard. My back feels good and I’m excited to see what the race will bring. Looking further ahead, the relays are fast approaching and we have a strong team of 8 guys all battling it out for a place on the team.