It’s been an inconsistent and somewhat frustrating month; training and performances have ranged from good, average to downright terrible. Over the past five weeks I’ve been ill twice and have to deal with the return of plantar fasciitis in my right foot, thus the mileage over those weeks have been erratic to say the least; 80.5, 50, 89, 90.5, 33 and last week a dismal 28.
June got off to a good start; after being ill I was back into decent mileage of 80-90 miles-per-week and starting to get good track speed; benefitting from the Tuesday night sessions with the club, where Tim Raynes has been really pushing the pace. In fact, the whole group is looking very strong, I think Tim will break 15 minutes for 5,000m very soon, we’ve also got Joe Monk and Jack Hindle improving rapidly, rattling off pb’s on a regular basis.
I had my first races on the track this season in the Northern League at Sheffield on the 5th June. I was pleased with a solid 2:03 in the 800m B race in 3rd and a win in a closely contested 5,000m race against Tim and Preston’s Dave Rigby in 15:21. I only won by half-a-second but I was very happy with my final lap of 65 seconds. Training continued to go well for another couple of weeks until I aggravated my right foot in a track session; I have been getting on well using spikes in training again, but I pushed my luck on this occasion. I was meant to do 10x 800m (90 sec recovery), but was late after work. I joined the session halfway in and implemented my own type of workout; I did 2x 1200m (30 sec rec, each in 3:39), 3x 800m (90 sec rec, 2:24, 2:22, 2:23) and then a hard two miles in 10:05 – it wasn’t wise and I paid the price for it. I could barely run the next day and took 80 minutes to run 11 miles. I didn’t run on Thursday, which helped ease off the foot only to find I had gone down with a cold again. Still, I felt okay on Friday and was still determined to stick to my plan; race Podium 5k to dip under 15 minutes and defend my title at Freckleton half marathon on Sunday.
I managed the first one, I mainly ran from the front to finish just ahead of Tom Adams (15:02) and Tim Raynes (15:04) in 14:59. The foot was bad again after that and I had to take Saturday off. I wasn’t confident of winning at Freckleton, though even I was surprised at just how badly it would go. I figured that if I could get away with a slow start, I could still have a chance of winning and initially that was how the race went in the first couple of miles. John Mason and Dave Rigby were at the front looking strong and it was only by the third mile when I began to realise that I wasn’t going to play a part in contesting this race. I don’t think the pace increased much, but after four miles, I was off the back of Rigby and Mason, with Rob Danson moving past me into third place. My foot was uncomfortable, but what was more alarming was how terrible I felt; I’ve never run with a hangover, but I reckon this must be what it feels like, I guess I was more ill than I thought. As the race progressed I just got slower and slower and slower. Chris Barnes was spectating on the bike and offered me a lift back in his car at six miles, but I wanted to at least finish. As I had won it nine times in a row, the last thing I wanted was to be bundled off in the back of a car and disappear; it would be very unsporting. I had mentally given in by halfway and just focused on finishing, which I did in 75:16 coming 6th… what a difference in just two days!!! Dave Rigby won, with Rob Danson 2nd and John Mason 3rd, I expect that those three will dominate the podium places over the next few years. Rigby has improved considerably over the past two years, with Danson taking over the mantle of legendary Steve Littler as Wesham’s next top class runner. It was a tough day for John Mason, who’s had some injury trouble this year, but he will definitely be back and certainly deserves to have his name on the trophy at some point. Also worth honourable mention is my club-mate, Jack Hindle, who at 19 has set the course record for a Junior (previously held by Rob Danson), finishing just a few seconds behind myself.
I had planned to do the Potteries marathon again in July, but I’ve decided that I won’t do much racing over the next month or so; I’ve had enough of racing when I’m not 100% and last week proved that there’s very little to gain from doing so. I hope to get some track races in before the end of the season and then switch my attention to road, but I’ll have to see how things go before making any commitments. At the moment I just want to focus on getting out of the rut of taking one step forwards and two steps back.