Track Season 2018

I’ve not posted in a while so this is an accumulation of the whole track season summer 2018.

That sounds impressive, but it was only five races. I run more distance in a lunch run than I ran the whole of my summer races.

This was kind of my first full season in the track since school days and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a few lessons on the way and have set some goals for 2019 already.

My first race was in Ashford at the impressive Julie Rose stadium, seeing it all lit up late on a spring evening was very exciting.

The race was a 1500m. As I’m no where near as fast as some of the others in my age category, I just ran the race as non scoring. Fine by me as no added pressure.

I arrived with plenty of time to spare so I could get ready and register. That however had its own downside, with lots of races I was waiting around for hours. I was still carrying an injury and it was not long after the London Marathon my warm up was very limited. Still, it was a warm evening so hopefully that would be enough.

Fortunately, I had company for the race, both Neill and Alun were running, it’s always nicer having a friend to talk to beforehand.

I don’t consider myself fast enough to have or need a race plan but I thought I’d stick with Alun, who was running well and try and finish strong.

The race started and I soon settled in to a good pace. After the first lap I saw Neill was 30 metres ahead and in the lead. I remember thinking he has this sown up. I kept just behind Alun for close to 1300m, maybe a little too long as with 200-150m to go I overtook him and felt very strong, I overtook a couple more and crossed the line in fourth place for my age category with a time of 5:14.

Having not done many races this distance I didn’t really know if that was ok or not. I found out Neill had come second, to a very fast clubmate in Justin.

Now I’m the type of runner who, no matter what time I’ve run, I’m not satisfied. If I ran a 2:01 world record marathon, I’d be annoyed for not finishing under 2 hours. When analysing this race I picked a few faults, and something to learn from my next race.

Race two of the season was another 1500m, this time in Bromley. My car was in for MOT so I had to borrow a friend’s car, a very uncomfortable Vauxhall. I was aching by the time I had arrived. But I was early enough to get a good warm up and ready for the race.

This time, Alun was in a different race so I got talking to another runner. A guy called Nick, he said he ran 5:04 in Ashford. I’d targeted 5:10 before the race so I decided if I could keep him in sight then I was in with a chance of sub 5:10. Nick was about 5-10 metres in front of me for most of the race and I was tucked in behind Ada from my club. With about 200m to go I was able to kick and had enough in me to overtake Ada and get a time of 5:04, much quicker than I’d expected. Again, fourth place in my age category.

At the end of the race I had mixed feelings, a really good time but just one second a lap quicker and I would have been sub 5.

Gillingham 800m

Again, another warm evening run. Tonight’s race is an 800m. I raced this last year and ran 2:36, but like May’s 1500m, I had no idea if that was good or bad. It did mean though, I had something to aim for. With the added satisfaction, anything quicker counts as a PB. I ran a solid, maybe slow first 400m and remember feeling this is fairly comfortable pace. I picked up in the second 400m and again, finished fourth in my age category with a time of 2:32. Which counts as a PB.

Gillingham Chris Newman 1500m Handicap

This is a completely different run, we all give our season’s best to Lin and run off that time. Example; I’d run 5:04 this year and Barry had run 4:52 so I start 12 seconds ahead. The idea it’s an even finish. Gareth, Sean and myself all put in the same time so we could run together. The night before the kids and I had been up most of the night with a bug so I wasn’t feeling 100%.

The first three laps we were all together, then I think my lack of sleep kicked in and I faded. Sean sped off leaving Gareth and I to battle for 2nd place in our sub group. We both finish close and I think I managed another 5:04 again, although this was an unofficial time.

The final race of the season was the Kent Masters Championship. As this is also an open meet, I was able to choose what event I wanted. After plenty of deliberation I went for the 800m. For a few reasons, one, last year there were only two runners in my age category so even if I’d been the slowest I would have got a medal. Two, I’d not run a 5,000m this season so I didn’t know where my fitness was at. And finally, three, I’d ran a solid 800m a few months earlier and thought this was my best event of the season.

Looking at the rest of the field, that is when I started to get scared. There were a total of eight other runners, all with a much faster time than I’d ever done, certainly in the last 25 years! My plan was now to come last but as close to the pack as possible.

The weather was perfect, slightly damp and cool. Unusual for races I’ve done this year.

As we lined up, I thought I’d just go as fast as I can for as long as possible and see where that takes me, if I can hold on for the last 200m and not be 50 metres behind I’ll be happy.

The race started and by the first 100m, Craig Sharp, the fourth fastest v40 in the UK this year was already 5 metres ahead. But that was to be expected, he has run 2 minutes dead for an 800m earlier in the season. I was towards the back and by 200m everyone had overtaken me. I did however, feel OK so I stayed with them.

At the bell I looked at the clock, it just turned to 1:08, my aim was 70-72 seconds for the first lap so I was up. But by 500m I was gone. My lungs were screaming and every limb had lactic. I had to slower the pace, which I did for 200m or so, with the hope I’d have something left for a good finish. With around 150m to go, I saw second but last place ahead of me, I was catching him. With 60 metres to go I passed him with ease and started to catch the guy in seventh place. Unfortunately for me he just held on and finished ahead of me by 0.05 of a second. I finished the race actually pleased with myself, that was until I saw I’d missed out on seventh by so little and a sub 2:20 by 0.08 of a second. Like I said, never satisfied.

So all in all, a quite pleasing summer track season. Plenty I’ve learnt and lots to enjoy. So much so I’ll definitely be back again next year and without the marathon miles in my legs, who knows?