Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

- T.S. Eliot -

Marston Forest 5k

One of my aims for 2013 is a sub 20 minute 5km run. To be more specific, I aim to run sub 20 minute, 5k at a timed event and not on a training run. Trying to achieve this aim, on Friday I found myself at the Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers, Marston Forest 5k. I had been told it was a flat course and would provide a good opportunity to achieve one of my goals for the year.

The weather during the day had been rather changeable, ranging from blazing sunshine to torrential downpours. As the day went on it looked like the race would be run in dry weather but the wind was blowing pretty hard at times. The course is generally pretty sheltered, the only exception being a short section in the final third of the race. There is bit of a back story too, I’ve not raced for quite a long time. My knee has been too sore and I’ve missed a few events that I had hope to race. Furthermore, I’m racing the Windsor Triathlon on Sunday so I was caught between ‘racing’ and ‘running for fun’. As usual, when the start gun fired I went hard and any plans of taking it easy disappeared!!

In the past I have found 5k a rather challenging distance, basically due to the fact that the race is over before you have really got going. A comprehensive warm up is therefore pretty essential to prevent injuries. Back in my football days, a warm up would have involved touching my toes a few times, booting the ball about a bit and jogging about a bit (whilst puffing my cheeks out). Nowadays, the ageing process dictates a slightly more comprehensive approach. My warm-up was done, I was sweating a bit and I stood on the life waiting to go.

5,4,3,2,1 honk….go. My first thought was, keep it steady, your not racing tonight, just jog round. My second thought was bloody hell this hurts!! The pain continued for another 20 mins and 22 seconds. I had missed the 20 minute mark again, but I wasn’t too disappointed. I took my foot off the gas at about 3k, my knee was complaining a little and the wind was blowing into my face. I realised from the pace distance on my watch that I wasn’t going to go sub-20 min so I relaxed (and probably went quicker).  Such is life, there will be other 5k events when I’m in better shape. Roll on Windsor!