Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kerry 5k Road Championships

I only heard about the Kerry 5k road championships being on this weekend last Friday, and my first reaction was to groan. Actually, that was my second and third reaction as well - I knew straight away I wouldn't be in any real shape for a 5k just one week after the Tralee marathon.

Things like that have a tendency to become self-fulfilling prophecies of course; if you expect to run badly you are virtually guaranteed to do so. Maybe I should have gone to a sports psychologist rather than training this week.

My legs kept feeling better each day this week but as soon as I tried to run a few strides on Saturday I could immediately feel that the hamstrings were not going to cooperate. Jogging at 8-minute pace was fine but as soon as I tried to spin the legs things felt off.

Nevertheless I decided to go ahead; I guess I felt obliged to represent the club. I sacrificed my planned long run today, but did 5 miles in the morning to give me a few extra miles and I also tried to test the legs again with 2 or 3 strides, but once more I found the hamstrings less than cooperative.

After a cloudy start it turned into a lovely day, so at least the weather was cooperating. I lined up at the start, had just about time to set up the watch before we set off and then at first just tried to hang on to the back of Declan. He had beaten me at a race recently but I got my own back in the next one and I figured if I managed to stay close to him I was doing alright. Unfortunately it soon became clear that I did not manage to stay close to him, so at least I tried to keep him within a reasonable distance. I always felt slow but in fact the first mile was pretty fast in 5:43 but things fell apart during the second mile when it got a bit hillier and I was sure we travelled into a headwind, even if that must have been exceedingly light. During the third mile I kept swapping places repeatedly with another runner, me being stronger on the uphills but unable to spin the legs properly on the downhills so we kept leapfrogging each other in quick succession on the undulating road. That should have boded well for me at the finish when we had to climb up towards the village again before a flat last quarter mile but somehow he managed to find another gear and I did not and I ended up a second or two behind him. One look at the watch confirmed that I had indeed run as badly as expected, 18:40 being the slowest 5k in quite some time (actually, since last year's championship).

Ah well. I still got two medals, one for third M45 and another one for the team coming third, so it wasn't a complete wash-out, and even with a PB I still would have ended up in the same age group position, so from that point of view I hadn't lost anything.

Later on that day I added on another 5 miles on the treadmill while watching the Manchester derby, trying to make up somewhat for the missed long run (or maybe I was just trying to make up for Yaya's lack of effort). The legs felt rather unwilling at first but after 3 miles or so were actually feeling much better, though I kept the pace and effort very easy and stopped after 5 miles. I guess it was the first recovery run after yet another race, with more to come of course.

18 Mar
8 miles, 1:03:06, 7:53 pace, HR 139
19 Mar
10 miles, 1:21:23, 8:08 pace, HR 138
20 Mar
am: 5 miles, 39:31, 7:54 pace, HR 142
noon: 7 miles, incl. 5k Kerry road champs in 18:40; 6:01 pace, HR 173; 3rd M45
pm: 5 miles, 44:26, 8:54 pace, HR 147; treadmill


  1. Good going though, all things considered...

  2. Congrats on the medals. That's a pretty good result on legs that didn't feel at all like racing a 5k. I'm always amazed at how much faster we can run in a race even though the warm-up feels slow and terrible. You went from 8 minute miles to 6s in the race. Quite a difference!