I ran 5,000m on the track yesterday. This was only my 2nd 5,000m on the track since November 2005 (the other being in February 2009 at the Dome in Ottawa). Come to think of it this was only the 6th 5,000m track race of my life!
Anyways, I ended up winning the race in 14:04. The result is a far cry from my goal going in, but there a lot of positives to take from the effort (and a few small negatives, that may expand to huge negatives depending on how things go the next few days).
Over the past 5 weeks I’ve been able to steadily progress, gain fitness and confidence in my potential to run some decent track times this summer by running 1 solid track session each week. My first time out I struggled to run 3xmile at anywhere near a respectable 5k pace. But 6 weeks on I’ve really been able to nail some decent workouts. So, when Reid Coolsaet emailed me a couple weeks ago to tell me he would be pacing Rob Watson and co. at the Runner’s Choice London Distance Series, I could not resist the temptation to drive the ~450km down the 401 and see where I was really at. The pace was set for 8:15 @3000m(later changed to 8:12!). Regardless it was going to be plenty fast for me and my goal was just to hang on as long as I could.
Once the race actually got going I felt pretty good cruising along at ~13:40-45 pace. Prior to starting I was a little concerned about a sore flexor digitorum longus (some muscle than runs from in behind the calf down around the achilles, into the foot (as a tendon), and stops at the big toe) I have been dealing with for the past week or so. It gradually got more and more tight as the race went on, but otherwise I was feeling great, so tried not to think about it. Rob passed Reid just after the half-way point, and we were bang-on pace, and I was gaining confidence that I would be able to hang-on. When I felt Rob slowing a bit, just after 3000m, I decided I would take over and try and maintain the pace. Unfortunately, almost immediately upon taking the lead my fdl got extremely tight, to the point where I contemplated (then and for the remainder of the race) whether I should drop out. I was able to throw in another decent lap from 3200-3600m, but by 3 laps to go, I knew if I wanted to stay in the race and finish I’d have to slow down quite a bit because I could not properly push off with my left leg without feeling like my calf/fdl was going to explode. I figured at that point I still had a decent one going, and maybe even a PB, and it was one heck of a long way to drive to not get myself through the finish line, so I would try and stick in and just get to the finish without doing further damage to my leg. Unfortunately I slowed a lot more than I thought I would (admittedly I was getting pretty darn tired too, but it didn’t help that I couldn’t actually dig deep and try and surge to maintain a decent pace). By the finish I could have cared less about the time I had run and just wanted to stop and give my leg a rest.
As of writing, things are still a little sore, but better than I thought. I think a few days of cross training will be on the cards, and I’ll take it from there.
The positives from this race were that I felt amazing for the first 3000m running at 13:40-45 pace. I did not feel, for more than a few fleeting seconds at a time, that I was in over my head. I know I’ve still got some work to do to get an end result in that range, but I am confident I am not far off. In the grand scheme of things (qualifying for national teams, carding, etc) running a time like that is of no real use. But, I think this is a good phase of training and racing for me to be undertaking at the moment to achieve my ultimate goal (running a Olympic qualifying time in the marathon). Plus, I am having a lot of fun going through the training process for the 5,000m. It is very different from training for the marathon, and feels like a very fresh/new process to me. But, it has been surprisingly hard on my body; many more little niggles to worry about day-to-day than when I trained for the marathon.
Anyways, once I see how his reacts to some acupuncture and ART treatment over the next few days I’ll determine my plan for the rest of the summer.
Hopefully I can update with more frequency over the next month or so leading up to Nationals.