Wednesday, 20 August 2008

When is a race not a race?.............

............when there is no pain (well not much pain) ... and that's exactly what I had for the Army/Navy 5 Mile road Race this evening. I took it easy (that's a relative term) because this is a cut back week and yesterday evening I had completed my scheduled 4 x 1k @ 5k pace at the track and two speed sessions back to back is not recommended. I set out this evening to run a tempo pace run in lieu of tomorrows scheduled 3.5 miles @ 10k pace. I signed up at the Haulbowline Naval Base on the south side of Cork Harbour just after 7 - the place is a rabbit warren of old nineteenth century buildings, some derelict. I hadn't much time for a warmup before the 7:30 start time. I settled in to the middle of the pack about 10 back from the start. 06:30 to 7:00 pace would do fine, closer to 06:30 if I could - listen to my body! .and we were off. I took it easy over the first mile covering it in 06:47. I knew there was a steepish hill during the 2nd mile and kept the pace even covering it in 06:57. The benefit of setting off in the middle of the pack was than I continued to pass runners in front of me. I began to aim for sub-34 minutes by counting the seconds below 7:00 for each mile. "13 + 3 = 16" "Hmm I'll have to crank up the pace a little to build the cushion to 60"
Mile 3 in 06:40. Past half way, time to crank up the pace a little. Despite this, one guy went flying past me midway through mile 4. No problem, leave him go. Mile 4 in 06:16. The effort was hard but relatively comfortable. Up the bridge back towards the Naval base - two guys in front - "these are the last guy's i'll take and i'll coast into the finish". Down the other side and pull alongside another guy "don't worry" I said "i'll run in with you, 2 minutes to go". I should have said nothing as 100 yards down the road I hear a guy coming up behind us and I take off. Looking at the Garmin tells me that I have a minute to go so I accelerate....two guys ahead.... past them and around the last bend - my best sprint finish by far as I past under the clock in 33:04. 5th mile in 06:18 with Garmin recording 6 seconds for the last 0.02 miles (i.e. measured 5.02 miles). Average pace of 06:36. Close enough to my 06:30 target and more importantly no pain at all (breathing normal after 10 seconds) - came in behind the guy who passed me in the 4th mile. The race felt no more difficult than last weeks 5.6 mile tempo run. Well why would it - that run was at 06:32 pace. Still I was only a minute down on my 32:06 PB. I know, that PB should be closer to 31 minutes. However my fellow runner "Miley" who runs similar paces to me (recent 5k of 18:35) finished in 31:50 and bust a gut trying to get 31:30. This was certainly a more comfortable and enjoyable race than i'm used to. Why don't I run all my races like this. There's only one reason I could think of........because I know I can do better and if I don't push myself i'll never know. I followed the race with a 3 mile warmdown and a shower. By the time I got to the refreshment hall (one of the reasons for coming - heard the refreshments were the best) all that was left was tea or coffee. Better eat first the next time. The most difficult session of the week was my 4 x 1k @ 5k pace at the track last night. I just didn't feel like running fast and thought about throwing in the towel after the first 2 reps. However I took a longer recovery and the 3rd rep felt a bit easier so I continued and completed the 4th. I took Saran and Ani to the track to sign them up with Belgooly Junior AC. Saran took to it like a duck to water but Ani sat it out (maybe next week). My longer recoveries were spent attending to her - thankful for an excuse. Time (Recovery) - Pace (1.04k - lane 3) 03:46 (02:56 R) - 05:49 03:47 (04:00 R) - 05:51 03:48 (03:28 R) - 05:52 03:44 - 05:46 Mon 18th Aug Day Off Tue 19th Aug a.m. 2.5 miles in 19:44 (-07:53 pace @ No HRM) treadmill at the gym. p.m. about 5 miles with 4 x 1k @ 05:46 to 05:52 pace. (no Garmin - low battery) Wed 20th Aug 8.84 Miles in 01:04:16 (07:16 pace @ no HRM) with 5 miles in 34:04 (06:36 pace) There is another 5 miler coming up in Liscarrol on Sunday that Thomas reminded me of. As my programme calls for a 10k race this weekend this would appear to be the nearest equivalent (the other options being the Ballycotton 5 Miler the following thursday or a local charity 11k on Saturday that a guy at work told me about). I'll see.


  1. Hi Grellan

    Great race report and it sounds like you are still getting better and better. The body is an amazing thing because even as we get older, it can still get better if we are willing to put in the work and deal with a little bit of discomfort. Congrats on 6:36 pace as there just aren't a whole lot of people who could do that.

    Best of luck.

  2. Awesome! That's some serious speed. Great job and best wishes for part II this weekend.

  3. Well done Grellan. Looks like 'holding back' the first couple of miles helped you run a controlled race and enabled you to crank it up at the end without cashing in all your chips.

    A little rest before Sunday and you'll smoke the 5 miler in Liscarrol.

  4. Congratulations on the race even if it was just a hard tempo run. It's always nice to feel in control and relaxed.

    Good luck this weekend if you go, three w/o's in one week?

  5. Nice 'non-race' Grellan. It's good occasionally to use a race as a tempo run - certainly more interesting than a solo effort. Good luck on Sunday.

    The kids should enjoy athletics - they may have inherited some talent!

    Your 1k repeats makes me nostalgic for when we used to run them in 3:20. These days 4:00 feels like 3:20!

  6. Nice job Grellan. Those tempo races are still great training and you can maintain a faster pace easier than alone. Still cooking though!

  7. Hi Grellan.I loved your your race report from the are approaching your race the best way and keeping your pacing even which is so important.I heard that army 5miler was pretty tough alright. I think there is nothing worse then bombing off at the start of your race and burning up along the way and having nothing left for a decent finish . That even pacing will build up your strength and it will only get better, the more often you pace yourself. Those track sessions are certainly tough alright but pay off as you know..Niamh Roe