Monday, January 01, 2007

Tom Brennan Memorial New Year’s Day 5k

It’s only 4 weeks ago since my last 5k, and since that had been just 5 weeks after the Dublin marathon I was confident that a new PR was in store today. There’s just no better way to start the New Year than with a PR, isn’t it? Since it’s out of the question to get a childminder at New Year’s Eve it meant Niamh and I took it easy on the booze the night before, and unlike the rest of the country we awoke without a hangover.

I had done the race last year and was therefore familiar with the location and the race course. The one change from last year was the later start; it didn’t start until 1pm, which I guess was due to the organisers bowing to the demands of the New Year’s Day sufferers. It also enables me to bring the whole family for a change, Niamh and all 3 kids were there to admire Daddy. Unfortunately the weather turned nasty just 10 minutes before the start with rain and sleet coming down, and the wind picking up. It stopped soon enough, before the starting gun, but it meant my personal fans were frozen and miserable even before the race had started. In the morning I had said to Niamh how I don’t like 5ks, because they hurt a lot for the whole duration of the race, and now I was going to test that. My previous best had been 20:47, and I was hoping for 20:30. Despite this I started at a measured pace, it felt slower and more controlled than on previous 5k races. I still managed some decent pace early on, which I could tell by the fact that ever since the first few hundred meters nobody overtook me, but I kept going past other runners throughout. I got to the first mile marker in 6:18, which is a lot faster than my usual 5k pace, but I felt good enough and confident. The course is over two laps, and soon enough I passed the spot where Niamh and the kids were screaming and waving. Unfortunately this was also where the lactic acid in the lags started to be truly noticeable. I tried to push on as hard as I felt prudent, but the second mile marker did not appear until the watch said 13:51, which would make this a 6:33 mile. That is still faster than my previous PR pace, but quite a bit slower than the first mile. Having said that, a good bit of that mile had been into the wind, which explains at least some of the difference. I pressed on and kept overtaking a few more guys. I kept being afraid of anyone passing me (not sure why), and each time I heard someone behind me I just pushed harder. We soon turned the last corner, from where it is about half a mile to the finish. There was a guy about 10 meters ahead of me. I kept thinking if I started my sprint now I might catch him, no wait, maybe now, no wait, no wait, no wait, .... damn, now he’s accelerated himself. I tried to push as hard as I could, but try as you might I couldn’t close the gap. I was just about to be really annoyed with myself for delaying my final burst when I managed to glimpse the official timer as I crossed the line. Wait for it: 19:52. What? I couldn’t believe it and had to check my own watch. There it was, 19:52, and that was gun time, my net time was probably more like 19:50 or even 19:49. Wow! Even Niamh realised that this was a lot faster than I had anticipated and asked “was that really your time on that clock?”. She and the kids were frozen throughout, and while the four of them were cold and miserable despite being wrapped in scarves, gloves and hats, I was happy, ecstatic and feeling the inner warmth despite being in shorts and t-shirt. It meant I really could not ask them to wait a bit longer so that I could cool down properly; we had to march straight to the car, pack everyone in and leave. Never mind, I don’t want to put them off the experience. Lola said she wants to race with Daddy in future, but she might have to wait a few more years.

As far as I know the race distance was accurate, and it certainly was the same distance as last year. If anyone thinks it was short, don’t tell me. I really want to keep my sub-20 5k time.

Just yesterday I was thinking about (running) goals for 2007, and the thought of a sub-20 5k did cross my mind. But you only better your 5k time by a few seconds each time, so I decided it was too ambitious a target for this year, and 2008 was more realistic. Gracious me, was I wrong. What next? At the moment I don’t care, the glow is still there. Happy New Year!

1 Jan: 5 or 6 miles including 5k in 19:52 (gun time), 6:23 pace, avg. HR 179


  1. Thomas,
    I wondered what that bright glow on the horizon was. Little did I know it was you, beaming all the way from Ireland! Wow! Double wow! What an awesome time! Such a great start to your running New Year!

  2. Thomas,

    You are a speedster! Were your shorts of fire or something? Nice PR, I posted my 5K PR when I was 48 years old so you can't rest on your laurels just yet! All that said it sounds like you are in for a stellar year of running in 2007!

    Happy New Year!

  3. No surprise here Thomas. Great job on the new 5k PR. More miles usually equals better race times and I think you are reinforcing that in your races.

  4. Simply amazing but predictable too as Rob says. What a great start to the year! All that hard work is paying off.

  5. Congratulations Thomas! Wonderful performance.

  6. Holy crap that's fast! Great job Thomas.

  7. holy moly thomas! woo HOO!!! what a way to kick-start 2007!!!!!

  8. Congratulations on a great performace, what a way to bring in the new year!

    All the best with the training.

  9. dude! amazing. what a way to herald in the new year! you are an inspiration :)

  10. What an amazing start for 2007, you're going to have an incredible year!

  11. Dang! This is awesome! It's especially great as a fresh start! Don't know why, but it rings well:)

  12. It will only get better.

    Congratulations and Happy New Year!

  13. Way to go thomas! Sub 3:30 Marathon adn Sub 20 minute 5K. I want to be like you!

    Uh, but I don't want to spend that much time training! LOL Priorities.


  14. Congrats! I'm sure your frozen family appreciated every second saved.

    Good luck in 2007.

    Arizona, USA

  15. Can you imagine what will you get on 2008? Woow! Keep going!


  16. I was thinking about breaking 20 minutes too, in my New Year's Day 5k. Oh, I meant driving to the start in under 20 minutes.
    Well done!