I’d been starting to feel like I’d achieved my ‘lifetime best’ for 5km. It’s my favourite distance, but my PB was a few years old and I never seemed to be getting close to it, even if I felt like my fitness was there. This year I decided to race them less frequently (parkruns don’t count – they’re not races), and give myself an all out effort, to see what might happen.
After Jetty2Jetty I laid out a basic plan for the 6 weeks until Bridge to Brisbane: 2 weeks easy running (recovery), 2 weeks with lots of km (base) then 2 weeks with some speed work introduced. Weeks 1 and 2 went to plan (running easy is pretty easy!), then I increased the kilometres for weeks 3 and 4 (nothing crazy), plus some harder running – 2 tempo runs (one 10km tempo, one parkrun) and some longer intervals. Weeks 5 and 6 moved back to shorter intervals plus a parkrun. None of the speed training was very intense, just enough to remind the legs what they need to do.
I wasn’t sure if I’d done enough, but I felt confident I’d race well with whatever fitness I was at.
I’ve got my routine for the B2B 5km pretty well sorted now. It starts late by Brisbane standards (they allow all 10km runners time to finish first), and I knew it was going to be a really hot day. There’s no such thing as seasons in Queensland – we have a couple cooler months, then it’s pretty much back to summer temps! It’s a point-to-point course, so I parked at around halfway and walked to the start. I made a decision to not really warm up, because I didn’t want to overheat before the race even started. Just the walk to start, the long hot wait on the sun for the porta-a-loo, then some leg swings. I even poured some water over my head before the race started, to try and keep my temperature down.
The actually don’t remember much about the race. I felt like I was running quick, but not too quick. I made a decision at the start of the race to not concern myself with the weather, other than trying to tip water over myself whenever possible. When we reached the ICB hill (at around 3km) I told myself “I love hills” and aimed to keep my effort steady. I run a lot of hills generally, and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to overtake people who went out too hard. Definitely a confidence boost if you’re still feeling strong!
As I was getting closer to the finish line I could here the announcer saying that the 20 minute pacers had just finished, and that we were all running around 4 minutes per km. I didn’t quite believe it, but I picked up the pace and tried to stay strong. The time between hearing the 20 minute pacers cross and when I actually crossed myself felt like an eternity. I did not have a clue what time I’d run until I got the results later that day – I was expecting anything between 20:30 and 21:30. When I finally discovered that I ran 20:24 I was in shock. And very, very happy!
I originally planned to run back to my car when I finished, but I was pretty shattered. Walking back was more than enough effort. I have been feeling pretty sore all week – short races cause DOMS for me, whereas long races cause more of a tired, achey feeling. Both are good reminders that I’ve run hard 😉
Now I’m taking a couple weeks off. I’ll still run a couple times, because I’ll go nuts otherwise. The only times I normally take a full break from running is when we’re on holidays, so not running while I’m at home may be a challenge!