I am not one for resolutions. The list of things I wanted to achieve in my running this year are more of a set of goals, targets. I am not resolving to change anything about my habits really. I may train a bit better. I may eat a bit better. I may drink less Coke. I may run more. But these are not resolutions per se. And so I listed a set of goals for 2019.
- 5K PB by 2 mins
- 10 PB by 5 mins
- Half PB by 10 mins
- Mara PB by 30 mins
- 50K PB by 1 hour
- Hit 50 Marathons in my 100MC attempt
- 1000 miles for the year
- Beat 2018 time at St Illtyds Ultra
- Beat 2018 time at Green Man Ultra
- Beat 2017 time at Portland Coastal Marathon
- 50 parkruns total, with at least 10 new events
Not a bad set of targets, even if I do say so myself. And the best thing is that I am pretty slow, or have been since taking up running in 2012. And I am ok with that. I make up for my speed in other ways. I am a determined bastard at times. I will challenge myself and I will berate myself for not living up to the challenge. As for times, I know I am not as fast as you, or you, or you (you nippy bastard), or you, and I am faster than you, but then you doctor your Strava results (never trust someone who just manually enters their times when they wear a Garmin).
I put this out there, not because I think that I am going to achieve all these, I will, if I am honest, be happy with half of the list ticked come December 31st, I publicised this list to be held accountable. I am not a fraud. What I did I did. What I do I do. My best 5K is 24.43 achieved at Parkrun in Hove the day before my last Masters graduation in September 2017. My best 10K is 51.38 achieved at Runthrough Victoria Park on January 13th 2018. My half is Brighton officially, even though it was measured short, 1:55:55 from 2016. My full is Manchester from 2016 too and is 4:34:16 and my 50K PB is one of the three from last year, the 2018 Amersham Ultra where I pootled around in 8:02:15. And I am currently on 31 marathons or above that count towards the 100MC and am on 40 parkruns.
So there you have it, it is all hanging out there like the back fat of an overweight stripper sliding down the pole at a backwater strip joint somewhere in the deep south of the US. Times and targets.
The 5K PB – attempt 1
The 5K PB will get a good hammering this year, what with parkruns. I think I am booked on one half (The Big Half) and one 10K, and that will involve Lewis and beer (Beat the Boat), and maybe a couple of RunThroughs to see if I can give it a go without the sauce. But today I made the attempt at Victoria Park, home of my 10K PB (at this event last year), and 2 other 10K PBs at Pride in 2014 and 15.
As I said before, my target was the PB for the distance ran at the Hove Promenade parkrun in 2017. Here is the proof. “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.” But as far as races and times go I am ALL about the evidence.
The race format is familiar. The half marathon of 6 and a half laps started at 9.30am, the 10K and it’s 3 laps at 10.05am, 5 minutes after the 5K.
HOW I DID?
I was actually nervous about this. My HR was elevated as I prepared for the start. I guess that is the heightened anxiety caused by a race actually meaning something more. But I calmed down as parts of my body (the extremities mostly) started to freeze in the funnel. I had the brilliant idea to wear just a tee and shorts, adding gloves later to the mix. The idea being to stop my body overheating under all those layers as I sprinted to glory (knob). And then, with a countdown from 10 we were off.
My lungs have been feeling a bit ropey over the holidays. It feels like I am breathing through lungs made of sauerkraut. I need to ramp up the music to stop the sound of my Darth Vader impression putting me off my stride. And for this event I created a special PB playlist.
To quote Mikey Forrester (Irving Welsh) from Trainspotting it was “Custom fucking designed for your needs.” Every one a barnstormer. A tubthumper designed to keep me going, regardless of cabbagey lungs.
The First KM was fine, the aim was to simply try to stay under 5 minutes per KM, and hopefully the maths would add up. 4:24. Not a bad start. We did hit the half marathon runners though, and needed to dodge regular park goers too. Second KM done. 4:42. Still on target. The third KM, around the 800M mark the sheer build up of phlegm as I ran, mouth open, like a English bulldog, caused me to choke, and I had to slow to a walk to stop myself gagging and unleashing unholy hell from my guts onto the course. 10 seconds of a pause and I finished KM 3 in 4:57. Still somehow on target. But now I was all phlegm, lung and self doubt. I walked around the half way mark of the next KM and finished it in 5:10. Still on for a PB. But then the wheels came off. A brief walk needed to clear my airways and then, on the last part of the conventional lap I took off my sweaty gloves and then dropped my Racecheck buff. It had started on my head keeping my ears warm then was moved to my wrist as a sweatband, as per usual. I was 10 yards away, and stopped, turned and jogged back to get it, before having to pick up the pace again. My brain then did something annoying. As I started up the last L shaped piece of the course, leading into the finish straight my brain said “Hey, isn’t your PB 24:13?” I didn’t know. I was staring blankly. “You are already over that, buddy?” Not sure why my inner monologue had the voice of the Cat from Red Dwarf but it did. And so I slowed down on the mud, enough to finish the KM in 5:08 and the whole race in… 24:56! 13 seconds off my record.
But, despite having the energy levels of a newborn sloth, and my lungs resigning their commission and informing me they no longer wanted to be party to the madness, and regardless of 4 short walks and dropping my racecheck buff (and going back for it) I really think I did okay, for me anyway. I am normally mid-pack, so top quartile cheered me somewhat.
So goddamn close. 13 seconds slower than my PB. 13!!! Now it may not be fast, but in reality the only person I am in competition with is myself. I do feel that if I wasn’t breathing through lungs that feel like sauerkraut, and I hadn’t dropped the buff when I took the gloves off, and if my brain hadn’t gone doolally at the end and convinced myself my PB was 30 seconds faster than it was and therefore I could take my foot off the gas, I may well have done it. Meh! I should be happy with that.
And I still I did beat Gerard Butler too.
parkrun will allow me to best this record. Certainly getting rid of the cold and being in better shape as the year progresses will too. But hey, I did try. Next time I will just do better.