Today was my first race of the year, a lovely 5k run around the paths and trails of Leverhulme Park in Bolton, it is also the first race in our club championship. I felt I did too many races last year which was all great experience but this year I plan to be more focussed with my choice of races, going for quality over quantity!
Anyway back to today, and I was really interested to see how I would get on as it was my first race since I made adjustments to my running style and moved to less cushioned shoes. In the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with niggly injuries of my calves and ankles and consequently not feeling as fit as I would have liked, having not been able to train as much or as intensely as planned. Nevertheless I went out to give it my best shot.
I opted to race in my new Xero Prio shoes for the first time. The Xeros are the shoes I bought as part of my running style transition, they are zero drop with minimal cushioning, a complete change from my favoured New Balance 860s with their 10mm drop and 25mm of cushioning. Near perfect running conditions greeted us on arrival and after a quick registration I opted to do a longer warm up than normal to loosen up my ankles and calves finishing off with some dynamic stretching. Then after a short race briefing we were off. The race starts on a track before heading off on the paths around the park
which means with a field of c350 there is very little bunching and you can hit your stride nice and early. Last year I set off too quickly so today I tried to hold back a little so I could finish strongly. I don’t know about you but when I’m racing my brain is constantly assessing my progress to see if I’m on track for a PB or specific time. It is often said that races are won or lost in the mind and it’s certainly true for me as mind quickly told me that I wasn’t going sub 20 today as I passed the 3km marker. With some 35 club mates running and plenty more dotted around the course cheering us on there was plenty of support and with 600m left coach Ian shouted at me “just 2 minutes of pain left” which funnily enough did spur me on!I finished in 20.39, 8 seconds faster than last year (#fasterasigetolder). Before the race I had told my wife, Debra, that getting round in one piece would be a pass, beating last years time would be a merit and going sub 20 would be a distinction – so I was happy with getting a merit and beating last years time, especially with how I was feeling ahead of the race. My time placed me 5th M55, a good start in the championship and our team came 5th too.
It’s onto the next race now, the Trotters 5 miler in two weeks time – I am racing less I promise!