Sunday 6 June 2010

Warndon Villages 5k - another team win for Evesham Vale

The Warndon Villages 5k & 10k is basically a fun run around a neighbourhood in Worcester to raise money for the local community centre.  It has a nice 1k downhill start, an unpleasant 1k uphill finish, and some nice flat tracks in between.  Last year it was my first sub 20' 5k that I can remember (anything from before I was 18 is lost to age and good whisky).

My running calendar doesn't include many 5k races.  I don't really like the distance (it hurts, but not really for long enough to come out the other side), there aren't many around, and I would usually rather be in the hills on a Sunday.  But, in June, there are a few 5ks to be had in the area, and I like to support our local races when I can.  I had a sub 19' finish in my head when I put the race into the diary.  Over the last 2 weeks, it became apparent that knocking 50 seconds of the previous year was never going to happen.  I dropped all of my speedwork in March and April, trying to just stay fit for my marathon.  Added to my traditionally slow cardio recovery time (1 day per mile just doesn't cut it!), this meant that I would struggle to get a PB.  I've been able to do the 800m reps as desired, but maintaining pace for more than 1k just isn't happening yet.

Knowing all of this and feeling slow, I knocked back a cup of cold coffee with 20 minutes to wait, warmed up, and headed for the starting line.  I managed to avoid the rush of pre-teen boys sprinting away from the line and headed down the hill.  I didn't feel as fast as last year, but I felt more in control of where my body was going.  As expected, the second mile hurt and had me breathing hard.  The third mile was a bit of a blur, really, as I spent two or three steps in ten with my eyes closed trying to push the pain in my chest out of my mind.  I saw the finish line approach but didn't have the oomph to put in a surge for the line.  Result: 5 seconds slower than last year. 

I was pretty gutted with the time, until I looked around.  Because the 10k race is two laps and the 5k only one, and I was a bit off the pace at the front, I couldn't tell how many of the top 10 went on for the second lap.  My team-mate Mark (3rd overall) was waiting for me, and he said he hadn't seen any completed teams finish yet.  We waited, and another Evesham runner turned the final corner.  Sheila pushed for the line and finished 1st Lady.  Unfortunately, she was the lead on the "B" team, so her time didn't count for us.  Luckily, our third runner, Paul, had been pacing off Sheila and wasn't too far behind. So, for the second race in a row, a painful run that felt slow and laboured was greatly improved by being part of the team win.  Thanks, guys!

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