After the crushing disappointment of my limp performance at the Olympic Park Half marathon, I was somewhat trepidatious about returning to the scene of the crime. In fact, I wasn’t terribly keen on the prospect of going to a race at all. I worried that I was back on a downward slope towards the painful, shuffling 40 minute plus 5k of the summer and that my Garmin 645 would never say anything nice about me again.
Knowing, however, that after a disappointment one must always get back on the horse as soon as possible, I pulled on my voluminous finisher’s t-shirt and headed off to the park. At least I could meet friends in the cafe for a bit of a post mortem. Even better, I bumped into Louise, who had taken a medium t-shirt at the finish but was quite happy to swap it for my large (“as I am at least a foot taller than you”). So I started the race in a much better fitting t-shirt.
My plan for the race was not to have a plan and simply see how I felt when I started running. Rob had also come down for the race but had decided to walk as he had a bit of a sore knee after the half, and I fully expected him to walk faster than I can run as usual. However, as we took off I overtook him, and this fact spurred me on a bit. (I realise being delighted at overtaking a walker with a sore knee is setting the bar a bit low here.) My back did not hurt and my legs did not hurt and nothing hurt so I decided to run as fast as I possibly could and see what happened.
There are currently some building works in the Olympic Park so the Chase The Moon route that I am accustomed to is inaccessible. Instead, there’s a new route which is in the shape of a snail, going up and down the usual paths, round the stadium and cutting a bit of the random wibbling around the South Lawns. It’s not a bad route but I prefer the old one – this one missing out some of the nice undulations and the bit around the stadium has a few trip hazards and feels awkward. I couldn’t quite reach my PB pace but it was not far off (again, it was one of those “if my Garmin measures this course as short as I think it’s going to I’ll get a P…. buzz!!! … oh bollocks” moments) but as I crossed the line I was still really pleased to see I had finished in a respectable 35:27. It was my fifth fastest non-track 5k ever (the four faster ones being two trips to Bromley parkrun, one to Dulwich and my last Chase The Moon), and definitely the fastest 5k I have ever run in the immediate aftermath of a half marathon.
At the end of the race I saw Shona from The Internet who complained that I was not as slow as I had claimed to be on Facebook. This made my head swell a little bit.
As you can see below, it was not a good night for flattering photos. I must have been concentrating so my feet that I forgot to close my mouth.
I went home feeling a lot better about myself. My running career is not in tatters after all. The Garmin, however, is still telling me that my training is “unproductive” and that my fitness is in decline. My Garmin will find itself getting sold on eBay if it does not stop this constant negativity.