It feels like forever since I’ve pushed myself at threshold, but that’s exactly what I did at this weekend’s 5km Glenorchy Fun Run.
I had a goal, sub20, but as we lined up at the start and the wind began to howl everyone was shaking their heads and starting to reassess their race goals.
My plan was to hit the out hard for the first km, hopefully 3:45s and then try to hold sub4s for the remainder.
After the gun shot we took off. It was a strange wind, quite gusty and even though behind us for the first 500m it almost didn’t feel like an advantage. As we turned I was clocking about 3:50s and my heart rate was actually pretty good. With the strong head wind I pushed and panted as hard as I could but still only managing 4:15s. I persevered and as we turned down to the water I welcomed another change in direction and opened up a little.
A 5km race is a funny thing, sure it’s short but it means there’s also no room for error. That last km can feel like forever when you’re heart is beating so far out of your chest you’re surprised when your singlet is still intact.
Checking my watch every few hundred meters I keep the surge on and the cadence high. Remembering what works for me. Small, fast, low level steps. As we near the 3km mark it’s all the threshold feels, burning chest, breathless just to the point of control but the true measure is looming up in front of me. Toby and the kids are cheering from the side line and I’m surprised in my ability to let out a big smile and a breathless response to the “Go Mummy” screams.
I make comment to myself “so you’ve got a bit in the tank hey.” With this I run through the usual half way mark thoughts and quickly ascertain, not only am I sure I can hold this pace for the last 2kms but why not bring it home with no regrets and put the foot down.
I surged forward as we turned at 4kms, with fellow runner Fiona next to me I know I need to try and leave her behind. I mean, she’s doing the 10km and has a whole extra lap to go, I’m about to finish. With this thought in mind I gently coax myself to lift my game… and with quick little steps I push forward.
With 500m to go I’m both in pain and bliss. If my eyes serve me correctly I’m coming second female but without being 100% sure I keep everything focussed on that finishers shoot in the distance. I pump the arms to hit a final sprint and plummet across the finish line as I hear an announcement that Gabby from Runphoria is second Female a. I’m absolutely chuffed and scrambling to stop my Suunto I bend over to suck in gulp after gulp of fresh air.
I check my time and I’m genuinely shocked. 19:52 but how? With that headwind too! In absolute bliss I run over to cheer on the 10k runners and bask in the feeling of it all being over.
It’s not until later when I’m replaying the race over in my head that I realise how strong I felt. I had that mental edge that I haven’t felt in ages.
I don’t think I realise what a hit my confidence took after being hospitalised with heat exhaustion during the Devonport 10km in March. I haven’t really let myself hit threshold for longer than a km since but today I let myself go with the confidence everything really would be ok. And it was.
I’m ready for new goals and new ways of smashing them to build physical and mental endurance.