Sometimes not racing

Over the last few weeks I haven’t raced much. Having run quite a few events throughout the year I felt as though it would be good to have a week or so not pushing myself and to relax a little. I have still been running around 60 miles a week including track which is pretty big and I did a few long runs with friends on the Sundays between the Isle of Wight Fell running series and now.  Two weeks not racing was good, it was a little strange but it was actually great fun to be the other side of the barriers cheering on friends at the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 11th October. Myself and Lorna used the app to track everyone and make sure we were in the right place at the right time to see everyone fly passed. Having taken it relatively easy for a couple weeks I decided to have a weekend of 5ks. I had already signed up to the Battersea Park 5k on Sunday 18th and also decided to do the Hilly Fields parkrun on Saturday.

Since joining The Running Works/ Run Fast and finishing Race to the Stones 100k I have been going to Mile End Stadium for Track Tuesday consistently, sometimes just a couple days after a race. My times on track have been coming down and therefore I knew I was due a 5k PB at some point. This was mainly because I hadn’t done a flat fast 5k in a while. I went to Hilly Fields parkrun on Saturday because I knew it would be great fun, having been a few times over the last couple years to promote the London Marathon Store when I was working there. As well as being fun I knew it was Hilly as the name suggests so wasn’t aiming for a PB but a course PB. Feeling well rested I went out with the lead pack and managed to hold a good pace hitting the inclines. I guess the training weekend on the South Downs Way, running over Seven Sisters and doing the Isle of Wight Fell running series has helped me in terms of getting stronger running up hills. I was pushing the pace but felt good so went with it. I managed to open up a gap at the front and finish in a time of 17:05. I love runs when you surprise yourself, this was one of those runs as I felt strong and managed to get a personal best by one second. 

   Having clocked a new PB I was wondering whether I would feel tired for the Run Through Battersea 5k or whether I would feel stronger because of the hill running. Luckily I woke up on Sunday feeling good. A few friends had signed up to the race, Jonny & Mark (aka Freya) for the 5k and Anna doing the 10k. Jonny has been training for Dublin Marathon and therefore is in great shape at the moment. Due to having to pay the same amount of money for the 5 or 10k not many people do the 5k so I had a feeling it might be me and Jonny running together at the front.  

 We sped off pretty quick, we were running at about 5:30 min/mile pace and ran together for most of the first lap. Having done 18k the previous day Jonny couldn’t quite hold the pace so I pulled away a little and managed to keep a consistent pace for the race. Generally when I’ve raced in the past I sit on someone’s shoulder and then try and take them near the end but on Sunday I wanted a PB and to push myself well under 17 minutes so I went for it. It was good to have Jonny racing, I felt under pressure to hold the pace and get across the line first. I managed to finish in 16:34 knocking 31 seconds off my 1 day old personal best. 

I felt relief that I’d managed the sub 17 and that the track work and reasonably high mileage was paying off. Jonny finished in second in 17:09 which was a massive PB too. Mark knocked one second off his PB as well; basically what I’m saying is if you want to run a PB you should run on track and get involved in the next Run Through 5k/10k in November. If it fits in the race calendar I’ll definitely be back again.

Basking in our glory, a few friends (Emily, Michalis & Mark) met us in Battersea Park to add on a few miles and head for food. We went along the river banking 8 or so miles and rewarded ourselves at Byron burger which is becoming a bit of a regular thing.  

 Around the 5ks at the weekend I chilled out and I now feel ready to take on the Bristol + Bath Marathon at the weekend. There won’t be a PB but it’ll be a nice run and great to have family up from Devon to support me. Luckily I have a week off work next week to recover and then I’ll be gearing up for another marathon, the first of the Trailscape race series on Saturday 31st October.

I would give people shoutouts for incredible achievements over the last couple weeks/weekends but this blog post would be the longest ever. You know who you are, keep being awesome and inspiring!

See a lot of you soon

Steve 

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