Shit. Shit. Shit.
Sorry, I just had to get it out there. I’m just home after one of the worse runs I’ve done in a very long time and I’m so bloody annoyed with myself. I have excuses, but I’m not listening to them. Neither should you.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous day here in south west Scotland; the sun is shining in a blue sky, there’s not a whisper of a breeze and it’s cool, as Autumn days here tend to be. I love such days. I was so looking forward to a nice, easy 7 mile run this morning. I had new kit to try out, a Shock Absorber bra bought with much cheapness from eBay and a new vest top to boot. I was genuinely pleased to get out there.
In the week I’d updated my training diary with Jeff Galloway’s 10k training plan for someone aiming for a 59 minute 6.2 miles. In truth I’m only hoping to sub-60 minutes, even if that’s by a couple of seconds, but Jeff doesn’t have a training plan for that! I have the Jedburgh 10k as my target race, even though there is no way I can sub-60 on that, not with all those blinking hills! However, the training will do me no end of good. Jedburgh is at the end of the month so I counted back to today and labelled that Week 9 (if I’d been following his plan, week 9 is where I’d be at with a few weeks to go to the race.)
This morning I reached for the Jeff Galloway 10k training app on my iPhone. Looking at the first time and the improver settings there was no way the app and the book matched. No way José. Bugger. According to the app, whichever one I looked at, I was due for a 5k “race”. Well, the weather was perfect for it and I could run on a fairly flat route. Yes, OK, 5k it was then.
The last time I ran a 5k race was the Race for Life in July. I did the race in 28:17, beating my previous time of 30:12 by quite a margin. Last year I had a cheap sports watch and nothing to tell me how far I’d run. This year I had my Garmin. When I posted my time on here with a report one eagle eyed follower said that something wasn’t tallying. I said I’d check it out, but I forgot and just accepted my time as read. Today’s events gave me cause to have a proper look. I was devastated to discover that the Race for Life wasn’t a 5k at all, it was short by 0.23 miles. I ran 2.87 miles in 28:17. No wonder my pace was 9:52. No wonder it didn’t tally. Well done Eric for spotting it. In my misplaced euphoria I missed it completely.
So what happened today to make me look you ask?
Well, with Jeff Galloway in my ear, I set off from the village having set the app for a 9 minute mile pace (quite quick for me) and 4:1 minute run/walk rate. The first half a mile was meant to be a warm up. By the first quarter of a mile I knew I was in trouble. I had, sensibly, had two puffs of my inhaler before leaving the house, however these were having no effect. For all it was sunny and warm (I’d been hanging the washing out before I left in my running vest), the air was cold. A few intakes of cold air and my lungs couldn’t cope. I started wheezing and gasping for breath with every step. I gave myself a good recovery time after the half a mile warm up, walking up the hill to get as much of a flat route as I could for the “race”.
When I started “racing” I was not really any better. I was meant to be running around 8:30 pace and, according to my data, I was slightly faster than that to begin with. Maybe I was just running too fast at the start? I was listening to the music and running to what I thought was the beat, but that first run section had me running between 7:30 and 8:30 pace. That’s really fast for me and maybe this is why I couldn’t sustain it? I was struggling to breathe properly; I couldn’t manage a deep breath at all.
My first mile came in at 9.23.
I tried to keep my pace as constant as I could, hoping that my breathing would settle down. I’m not sure how many additional puffs I’m allowed on my inhaler. I’ve never needed anymore than a couple. Maybe I should start carrying it in my pouch as a precaution? Even as a reassurance? I also put in more walk breaks when my chest really tightened up. I wasn’t giving up on the run, but I had to make it manageable. My second mile running pace was still between 8:00 and 8:30 pace and I finished it in 10.02.
By the last mile my pace had started to slow. On my running sections it ranged between 7:55 and 10:08! I was walking less, but running slower and mostly uphill, albeit gradual inclines. Walking further at the start had meant that I was going to finish long before ‘Grant’s Hill’, the final hill before coming into the village. So why I was still running past my start point and on down the hill towards the dip I don’t know! As I came out of the dip I still had tenths of a mile left to do. I hate running up that hill at the end of a run – hate it!!! 3.1 miles didn’t come fast enough. When I hit the stop button I was devastated to see 30.32 as my time, totally devastated. It was meant to say at least 29 point something!
Overall pace 9:51. Hang on, something ain’t right here I thought. My overall pace on the Race for Life was 9:52. I’d just run a slightly faster pace and achieved a slower time.
It was a long walk home, feeling deflated and sore. My breathing still hadn’t worked itself out and I was still wheezing like an old accordion. My Garmin data revealed all:
This, then, was my fastest official 5k. To say I’m disappointed that I haven’t broken that elusive 30 minute barrier yet is an understatement. So close and so far away. It has taught me a lesson though. I must never trust race directors who say this is a 5k when it is far from it. I shall only, in future, compare like for like i.e. one race results with the same race results the following year. The fact that I bettered my Race for Life 2011 time this year by almost two minutes is good enough for me, providing I ran the same course, which I think I did. It does fit in with the fact that I ran the Gallovidian 10k a few weeks back 2 minutes faster than the previous year, following exactly the same course. 2 minutes appears to be the time I’ve improved 5k/10k wise. Which I suppose should mean that next year I will be easily breaking that 30 minute barrier. All is not lost!
So there we are.
I really hope that I didn’t offend anyone with my bad language. Truth be told, this was toned down! You should have heard me on my walk breaks if you think this is bad!