Yea, it's been a while since I posted (as I was reminded last night by club mates), so here goes...
Since the KAR12, I've been taking it a bit easier, only training 3-4 times a week (I usually train 5-7 times a week, including cross training). This is deliberate, as it's my "off season" and I want to be fully rested, but fit, before taking on marathon training again. Shortly after KAR12 I had a VO2 Max test done and got pretty good results - Fitness level 69, 82% recovery after 2 mins, and max aerobic HR was 149bpm. All good! I've been debating with several people whether I should now run at my max aerobic HR or 5-10bpm under it and when I should do that, no definite answers though.
Then along came the Jingle Bells 5k in Phoenix Park. I kept doing the same number of runs/workouts per week, some of the runs were intervals/tempo runs, but no great weekly distance. I was going to run with my OH to pace her as such, but the night before the race she decided she was going to use the iPod for the duration. That was my queue to do my own thing.
It was a cold, cold morning, probably 3-5 degrees, but no breeze and clear skies. On the way to the race we stopped for coffee to warm us up and I had a double espresso, not wanting a lot of liquid in my gut bouncing around. I have never had a coffee before a race/run before, in fact I hardly drink the stuff! We got to the park and jogged about 1.5k to the start line.
I was wearing the VFFs, I wanted to get back to them as I hadn't worn them much recently. There were areas generally marked off for "sub-16", "sub-20" etc. I hung around the "sub-25" bit, as I was just planning on doing this as a run, not really as a race. My OH went back to the 30 min area and I started trying to keep warm. I got a few of the usual funny looks, or at least my feet did...you get used to it.
Pretty soon the lead pack was off. I spotted a couple of guys running while pushing buggies in front of me, so my plan from then on was to finish before both of them or die trying! The first 1km was all about ducking and diving around the other runners. A total of 1,500 people took part, but it wasn't too crowded. By the time I got to the 2k mark I was running by feel and keeping a reasonable pace, although I never looked at the garmin from the start to the finish. Around this time I decided to treat this as a time trial, I know, my planning sucks!
Anyway, the race felt like it went really well. I never felt like I was pushing too hard and always felt totally in control of the pace and my HR. I realized as I was running that my upper back felt slightly hunched, so I made a concious effort to straighten it and keep my form in check. Before I knew it I was at 4km. Two Civil Defence guys were doing the course on bikes acting as first aiders, so I asked them for a lift...for some reason they declined :-(
The last 100m or so was a gradual incline, but when I came around that last bend I could see the clock (gun time) and instantly knew my time was close to my PB of 21:48. I put on a spurt and overtook a couple of other runners, one of which tried to overtake me again but never did. I crossed the line well out of breath but with a new PB of 21:39, woohoo!! Gotta love unexpected and unplanned PBs :-)
I got some water and bananas and my goodie bag. Two items of note, the first was the usual Jingle Bells coffee mug, to add to our collection...
So all in all a great morning's work. Here's a few more photos I took when loitering at the finish line...this one taken looking back with 100m to go.
And this one is just after the finish line, shows how good the weather turned out to be.
I doubt the espresso helped me get a PB, was it keeping my back straighter or was it due to less tired legs and more time doing intervals/speed work? Hard to know, but as it's the fourth time I've broken my 5k PB this year I hope it continues!
Since then I've kept at the same level of training and even went on a POSE Level 1 & 2 running course. Only trouble is, you may remember I got a neuroma inbetween two of the metatarsals of my left foot in Jan, well now I have one in a similar place on my right foot. So no running for the next 4-5 weeks. I guess it's not the worst time of the year to be injured though. I'll keep at the gym work, but can't use a bike, as the pressure on the ball of the foot is painful. So it'll be a rower and weights for me.
Looking forward to the 2013 racing season already!
I've had an x-ray of my foot last week and been put on anti-inflammatory meds. Hope to be getting the results back in the next day or so, looking like a stress fracture though 😞