Tamworth 10k

Just when I thought things were on the up since Mykonos, I've had another set back in the last couple of weeks.  During a jog I felt a crunch in my tendon and it has meant I've been almost back to square one.  The foot has just about been runnable but I've avoided any outdoor sessions and just focused on gym work instead.

In the meantime I went back for the results of my MRI in the last week and I've been told that I've got Osteocytes which are basically some bony growths in my foot causing irritation in the ankle joints, which is then causing a cascading effect of issues that includes my tendons.  The bad news is that the bony growths is something that I will have to live with to some degree but the consultant is reasonably confident in the diagnosis and that I should be able to start running again properly in time.  So in effect the tendon issues is not really the cause, its the effect of other issues elsewhere in the foot.  I'm scheduled for a dose of steroids again, but this time in the area that the consultant believes is the overriding cause of the problem.

In the meantime I had the Tamworth 10k which is just down the road from me and I've done a couple of times before.  Last time was a couple of years ago when I won in 34.14 and I felt that was the sort of form I was in going into today's race but to be honest I had no idea what to expect.  The plan was to run my own race and largely ignore what other people were doing unless the pace was similar.

Start - Actually quite nervous.  Not knowing what the race would bring or whether my foot would hold out.

During the first km I slotted into 3rd, with the leading pair about 10 metres ahead and pulling away.  Both looked like pretty decent runners and I made a conscious decision to do my own thing, but towards the end of the first km I latched onto the leading pair who were from Tipton and Tamworth AC.  Quite quickly it was evident that the Tipton runner was breathing very heavily early on and so it proved when soon after he dropped away.  The first km was a pretty speedy 3.15 and although I felt ok it was more or less PB pace so it worried me a little as I knew that I wasn't in that kind of shape.

Over the second km, the Tamworth runner surged ahead but would then slow a little and then repeated this a few more times.  Towards the end of the km there was a small little climb before turning onto the canal and he suddenly just dropped away so I was now on my own.  The km was completed in 3.22 which was more along the lines of the pace I was expecting albeit a little uphill.

It was then just a case of making the move stick so I just tried to go at an comfortably uncomfortable tempo.  I went through 3k in 3.11 which was ahead of PB pace and then followed by 3.08 and 3.11 again so was about 3 seconds ahead of my overall PB pace at half way.  The one thing I noticed was that my Garmin was not lining up with the KM markers and as I went onto the second lap it was becoming clear that the course was going to be a little on the short side.  It was also clear that I was more or less guaranteed the win as looking back there was no one within a minute of me.

I was feeling ok but also like I was on the edge; even so the 6th km was done in 3.12 so I was still maintaining a good pace.  I was now starting to feel increasingly tired and when I saw the 7th km done in 3.20 I thought the wheels were starting to come off a little, albeit it is the only km with a gradual incline.  During the 8th km and back onto the canal section I was now starting to lap some runners.  Thankfully no one really got in the way and I went through in 3.13 and it was now that I was thinking 'hold on a minute this cant be too far from a PB' - although I was always conscious of my km splits I never really thought that the sum of these was more or less on or ahead of PB pace.  All I was thinking whilst running that I was doing far better than expected.

The 9th km was done in 3.15 and I now knew the wheels were not going to fall off, so just concentrated on cleanly overtaking all of the people ahead (probably 200 or so in the final 3km!) who I was about to lap.  In the last 90 seconds or so it was clear that I had a chance of sub 32 mins so tried to push on and I crossed the line in 31.48, around 2.20 ahead of 2nd.  On paper a massive PB but the course was a good 140 metres short.  Taking this into account I'm pretty sure I would have finished in about 32.18 so would have been a PB in any case by about 4 seconds, maybe a little more.  As its not a UK Athletics sanctioned event, I cant really claim it as a true PB either way.

Pushing on to break 32 mins.

Concentration. In the groove.


Regardless whether the course was short or not I'm really pleased with how the run went, it shows that despite having not done any road running since returning from Mykonos, the recent gym work has paid off and shows that I'm in far better short race condition than I thought possible.  I know that before my injury I was in far better shape than I am now, it was just a case back then that I hadn't done any shorter races to prove it.  In the coming weeks I need to do more intelligent training that avoids the longer runs and overall quantity that stresses the foot, in favour of shorter harder sessions and hoping that my ankle holds together enough.  More of the same I think!


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