Father's Day 5

I don't have a history of doing too well in straight 5km races. That's probably one reason I've stuck to the longer events. Previously I have found that I haven't had the ability to turn the legs over any faster, even though the current pace feels comfortable. Often I haven't been able to push the pace and feel that intense burn that should signal the accumulation of hydrogen ions in the muscle and blood stream. This morning was a different story.

Racing flats on, warm up completed and lined up at the front ready to begin. It was time to put my plan into action. I took it out much faster than I normally do and as the runners spaced out over first 100m it became clear who the top few contenders were likely to be. Two young guys pulled in front followed by a third just off their pace. I decided to tuck in behind these three and keep in contention. Another runner pulled up on my shoulder and we stayed that way over the first kilometre.

My breathing was through the roof, as my body demanded as much oxygen as it could get. My legs had sent a memo highlighting that the pace may be too quick. I filed that information in the bin. Past the 1km sign the front runners picked up the pace slightly and opened up a gap of about 150m. My goal now was to make sure they didn't pull further away. Increasing the pace I dropped the guy off my shoulder and hung on.

The 2km sign was now only a few metres behind me. This is where my legs decided they were going to control the day if the rest of me was going to insist on such ludicrous action. I felt a massive wave of burning flood my legs. A burn, that I struggle to remember feeling in the past. I tried to ignore it, but soon my legs were losing coordination. The ability of the muscles to fire correctly was rapidly becoming eroded. Despite my best intentions, there was a noticeable drop in pace. Everything still hurt just as much, I was still working hard, but a lot of effort seem to go to fighting my body's effort to come to a complete stop.

I dug in and attempted to hold good form. Instead I simply felt like I was muscling my way through the run. Naturally with a fall in pace I lost a few positions. Over the final kilometre my vision was getting slightly off. It was as if everything had been lit up by blindingly bright halogen lights. The burn from my legs had crept into my back and shoulders. This was intense. I did everything I could to pick up some speed. I thought my legs were going to tangle up in each other and send me falling face first, but I managed to stay upright. Somehow I managed to put in my fasted split over that last 1000m.

Crossing the line in about 6th or 7th place I was happy, but feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, gotten caught underneath and the driver hadn't stopped yet. My time was about 18:05, give or take a few seconds. Have to wait for the official results coming out tomorrow. Bending over to remove the timing chip from my ankle threatened to send me falling forwards. Balance wasn't really my strong point at this time. A walk through the finish chute somehow found me holding a couple of show bags and a water bottle. Time to have a chat with the other runners.

Well the chat only lasted a couple of minutes before my stomach had other ideas. With a quick "excuse me," I ran over behind a tree and had a second look at breakfast. It just doesn't look as appetising second time round. A true testament that I hadn't taken the run easy. In the end it was far from an even paced run, but I don't think I would have run this fast if I had of paced it correctly. Checking my heart rate file I reached and sustained my maximal heart rate for most of the time between kilometres one and two. For the majority of the race I held it at around 92-95%.

Great day, great event. Right now my legs are feeling really good, but I have the worst headache I ever have had. Maybe a relaxed swim will fix it. Train hard and train smart.


  1. Good to see you living your credo.

    Great run and a great time.

    Well done.

  2. Nice race Jason. You should try some 1500/3000s on the track if you want to repeat the burn.

    I've got to disagree about that being the best way to run a PB. Isn't that why they have rabbits to do even pacing for world record attempts? ;)

  3. I agree with you Ewen, even pacing is by far the most efficient and most likely way of achieving a PB. For myself in this particular race it was more about the mental effort. I have a history of pacing very even races and training runs. In this case I if I had of maintained an even pace from the start, then I believe I would likely have chosen a slightly slower average. In the end it was exercise to put myself out of my comfort zone.


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