Firstly, and this cannot be understated; what an amazing event!
Highgate Harriers, Ben Pochee and everyone involved in the organisation deserve huge kudos. I haven’t experienced atmosphere quite like it and doing my last few strides before the start (through the beer tent with the live band) I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I was paranoid the week before the race, I was struggling to shift the cold that I had picked up before going to Estonia (For the World Championships test races – they went pretty well and it was nice to visit the area where the races will take place). The cold wasn’t bad enough to make me feel ill through the day but running brought out a nasty cough and I wasn’t able to train exactly as I’d have liked the week before the race. That said, I was getting a good rest and feeling better every day.
I flew down to London the morning of the event (A 4am alarm call) and spent the afternoon napping in my hotel room. I felt OK, but didn’t know how I’d respond when the race started. I arrived early enough to soak up some of the atmosphere and whilst this was inspiring, the stiff wind at the track was not.
I’m making lots of excuses here but these were just the things that added to my paranoia before the race. The race itself went well. I didn’t rush off with the front group, rather I settled into a pace that felt comfortable and tried to run my own race. I did some good turns setting the pace and the group I was in cooperated well. Going through half way in 14.31 I felt good, but there was still a lot of running to do at that point! I waited and waited before pushing on but, when the time came, my legs refused to cooperate. It was all I could do to hang in from there to the finish, sticking in and trying my hardest not to get dropped.
I finished in 29.05, a new PB but not quite what I thought myself capable of. I set myself tiered goals before the race (because I genuinly had no idea what was realistic):
- Minimum: 29.15, a new PB
- What I want: 28.59, a magical sub-29
- If the stars aligned: 28.49, the commonwealth B standard
I achieved what I set out to do, but on the day didn’t quite have the legs to push on and go after it in the second 5km. Slightly disappointing as I managed this very well in Glasgow a few weeks ago, off a slower first 5km. This makes me think there is a little more performance to squeeze out in perfect conditions, but I’m still over the moon.
It hasn’t passed me by just how far I have come in a year. This time last year my PB’s were: 3k – 8.29, 5k – 15.19, 10k – 31.47. They were a bit out of date and I suspected I had a little more in the tank but I never would have thought I’d have run the times I’ve run over the last year: 3k – 8.07, 5k – 14.03, 10k – 29.05. In total, that is 4 minutes and 20 seconds difference..
What has made the difference? I can’t be sure what has made the difference but I’m putting it down to getting the basics right consistently.
I think I’ve been good at the bread and butter of training consistently, eating well and having a good daily routine and this consistency has been paying dividends. I’m certainly not planning on changing much anytime soon!
I’m aiming to fit in another 10,000m before World Champs if I can, but I don’t think I’ll find one quite like Highgate!