Back to the Aztec West fast 5k again tonight. My plan was to aim for around 21 minutes, but if I really pushed I thought I might be able to get to 20:30. Pete was also going for 21 as he’s tapering for Rome and so was Harriet at her first Aztec race. We went off a little fast and I was surprised to see the first km at 4:01. It felt pretty manageable, but I was aware that I didn’t want to push flat out for the race, not wanting to risk overdoing it when London is less than 4 weeks away (there will be plenty of time to try for a pb at the May and June races). I eased it back a bit and focused instead of getting Harriet around to the end, and she had more in her legs and lungs than I did in those final few hundred metres, coming over the line a couple of seconds ahead of me.
Importantly for me for the series, my main competition was not here, which means two missed races for them and they are out of contention for the series prizes. This means I can calculate how slowly I can run in the April race (which will be two days after London) without losing the lead I have built up. I currently have a lead of around 27 minutes over the next person, which should hopefully be enough with 3 races in the series left and one time able to be dropped.
Last month’s running of the Aztec West fast 5k did not go so well. I was therefore not expecting great things from tonight’s race. The conditions were also not great, blustery with a bit of a chill in the air (and slick roads from the rain earlier in the day).
I put myself towards the back of the pack, which seemed a bit smaller, understandably so on such a nasty night. I had not activated the ‘predicted finish time’ feature on my watch and had no laps set up (either miles or km) so just took a brief glimpse as I passed the km markers. It turns out I had gone out a bit faster than I thought I had, but was able to maintain a fairly decent and consistent pace.
This was the race I would have liked to have had last month. There were none of the problems breathing or maintaining the pace and it didn’t hurt nearly as much (plus my heart rate was lower even at the faster speed). This lends weight to the proposed explanation of that result and the training session that followed as being hampered by my body fighting off some sort of bug (successfully). I’m going to take that as a confidence boost anyway (and the bottle of wine as a spot prize).
It seems like ages since I last ran a 5k in anger, actually it’s only been a couple of months when it was literally freezing. There was a bit of rain to contend with this time and a bit of a breeze, but it was actually pretty mild (the car said 10ºC). The warm up felt pretty good (though I appeared to be going round in the opposite direction to everyone else, something I would repeat on my cool down lap).
The race starts and I feel OK, there’s a bit of being boxed in and a couple of elbows but nothing too bad. I’ve set my watch to give me a predicted finish time for 5k and after about 400m it starts doing its calculations and giving me numbers. 20:36, well I’d be happy with that. 20:50, 21:14, 21:30. Oh dear, it’s all going the wrong way. Not sure what happened, whether it has been so long since I’ve run hard for so long and/or whether I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. It felt hard but it also felt slow and it was slow (for me). I managed to drag it just under 21 minutes, but it’s the slowest 5k I’ve done on this course for a while and I was only 5th in my age category (not helped by Chrissie Wellington turning up and being super fast). I’ll need to look at the results when they come out to see what it’s done in terms of the series.
I did get a consolation picture with Chrissie after the race, having obviously not seen her during it, but I did spot her when I was warming down (one of the benefits of going in the opposite direction to everyone else).