5000m APESG - Race Report

With all my years of running, I would I don't have much experience on the track, and 5000m definitely hasn't ever been a feature. At the end of last year I was struggling to find any sort of speed in my legs. To find the improvements I wanted, the 5000m was the perfect event to put me out of my comfort zone.

From all around Australia and from New Zealand, across the various emergency services 33 lined up on the blue at Lakeside Stadium. In my Ambulance Victoria colours I felt as ready as I could be. There was clearly a vast range of abilities and it was too hard to tell pre-race who would be at the pointy end. I was happy to see fellow ambo and semi-regular rival Mark Clarence in the mix.

We all crowded the start line, but once the gun sounded the spaces opened up immediately. Looks like my recent training had dialled in the pace and I moved through the first 1000m right on 3:36 as planned. This was my opening bench mark, setting up a reasonable first kilometre and allowing everyone else to do what they do. Position flicked around a little, but I found myself sitting somewhere just in the top 10. The podium positions were already out of touch and it was clear they were running at a higher standard. It was clear I wasn't going to be fighting for a front position with tactics. For my best result I needed to pull out the best time I could.

I'm middle of the shot, Mark a good 15m in front.

So I concentrated on the effort, trying to gradually increase my output in an attempt to at least maintain my speed. Mark was staying about 10m out in front of me for most the race, but I kept my focus ahead of him trying to push up my leg turnover. What stood out as a significant difference from longer distance events is I had very little head space in which to think. The higher intensity enveloped  my mind and left only a small percentage to use for anything that vaguely resembled thinking. I know  I kept increasing my effort, but unfortunately the speed didn't come with it. My first four kilometre splits showed a steady slowing, 3:36, 3:39, 3:41, 3:43. From around 3200m my found themselves in the acid bath.

First place came past me somewhere in these latter stages and my wife kindly pointed out I had been lapped. The kids cheering from the side melted into the acidic haze and the phrase embrace the suck swirled around the liquid mess inside my skull. It was enough.

Latter stages, coming up to lap some of the slower guys. I was oblivious to that guy just behind me.

Into the final kilometre and I managed to somehow get my speed up. This was territory my ultra marathon style legs were not used to. However, they did as asked. They continued to ramp the speed and with about 350m remaining I put in my big effort. There was resistance in the muscles, but I had the snap off the track I needed. Off the bend and I worked ahead of Mark. Then into the final turn and I pushed through the apex concentrating on getting every micro watt of power out of each stride as if it was my last.

Then the final 60m highlighted my lack of true speed as two competitors came flying past. I was getting everything out of myself, but compared to these two I may as well have been walking. Mark was one of them (I'll have to redeem myself at the half marathon). In the end my efforts were awarded with 7th place and an unofficial time of 18:09 as per my watch, but may be a couple of seconds faster officially. My final kilometre was my fastest at 3:28. This race certainly put me out of my comfort zone. It was great to mix it with the services and not talk much shop.

Trying not to collapse over Mark as I tell him he "sucks" for getting the sprint.

Comments

  1. Good report and race Jason. 18:09's not bad for an event rarely run. With a few 3000s leading up and more intense speedwork I'm sure you'd be down around the mid to low 17s.

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  2. I think you are right Ewen. I'm convinced if I ran the 5000m again in a couple of days I could get under 18 without any improvement in fitness. More of the faster work would certainly help. Of course that isn't where I am aiming. Good to do something a bit different, and I'm pretty sure it will help the longer stuff. It has given plenty to think about in my approach to training too.

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