The Wednesday night races are here, I’ll have raced every Wednesday in May, by the end of it! Light nights, great local races, local faces and a cracking midweek effort. Speed training has been put on the burner, it’ll resume once we get the chance.
This Wednesday it was the turn of the Worsbrough 5, a course that is a local favourite of mine. It’s featured plenty in training runs back in the day. Many parts of it anyway! The climbs aren’t pleasant, they’re short and sharp. Some big downhills are just as challenging all the same. It’s a course that has featured in the South Yorkshire Road League the past few years, myself first officially running it in 2017. Representing Penistone in the club colours for one of the first times. Off the back of marathon training and in mid April, a week and half after the Manchester Marathon. High mileage was the king back then, clocking a 28:45, finishing in 5th. Although the course went on Power of 10, as a ‘NAD,’ meaning Not Actual Distance. I was back again in 2018, struggling and towing between injury, illness and still not recovered from Manchester Marathon earlier in the month. High mileage wasn’t the king, as I highlighted in my Marathon Training post a few days ago. Running had taken a lull, I hadn’t as much motivation, I needed a kick up the arse from somewhere. I clocked 29:00. 15 seconds slower than the year before, finishing in 13th Place. It was an effort that eventually pointed me in the direction somewhere, whether it is the right one, I don’t know! My eventual kick up the arse and realisation coming from the Damflask relays a couple of month later in 2018.
With most of the Road Leagues going down on paper as NAD’s then my ‘official’ 5 mile PB comes from Wombwell 5, of 29:24, in 2018. The day after running that I was put on antibiotics for a chest infection, also opting that day to run Wombwell, instead of Liversedge Half Marathon, because I felt like crap. One of the rare occasions that I’ve skipped a race that I’ve already entered. The other being Barnsley 10k, skipping it the day before my running streak started, Barnsley being the 29th. My running streak starting on the 30th of November, 2015. Running everyday since then… ranting, sorry!
With my official 5 miler being 29:24 at Wombwell, my unofficial PB for 5 mile comes from Brodsworth, in the road league. Being 28:13, not a super flat course. But it is MUCH flatter than Worsbrough. A course I know all too well, the sharp rises and turns, the steep descents, the ‘fake’ flat on Haverlands Lane. The long uphill drag under both motorway bridges, and the long fast downhill, that definitely never feels like a downhill at race pace! Then there is the deceptive finish, that everyone forgets, running through the car park to finish somewhere near the mill. You may as well do a lap around the reservoir.
With it being a local race, the plan as always was to run there. After my weekend endeavours at the Calderdale Relay and then a ‘short’ drive over to Grantham for the 5k on the track. My legs have been a tad on the sore side, I’ve still clocked the miles, using my method in the madness. If you can run when you’re tired, imagine what you can do when you’re fresh! Anyway more about my weekend…
At the Calderdale Relay, you have to run in pairs; Me and Scott managed to cross the line in 4th Place on leg 1, in around 1:14 ish. Not bad for a race with 1800ft of climb. I’d recce’d it midweek with Shaun driving me over. Particularly enjoyed the challenge and having the chance to run somewhere different, also the challenge of navigating myself to the finish when out on the recce. The next challenge for Sunday was the short drive over to Grantham, stopping at Castleford on the way for a bit of a 4.5 mile RUNCH! Arriving at Grantham competing in the 5000m and crossing the line in 1st place, in 16:37 at the track league. For Penistone’s first fixture of the season. Ellie managed PB’s in the 100m, 200m, High Jump and Shotput. Also competing in the 4x 400m, 400m and Long Jump.
Anyway, back to the Worsbrough 5. My legs were still a little heavy come Wednesday morning, mileage hasn’t dropped, recovery hasn’t been the main priority, not in this period of my training anyway. Races aren’t a main focus, but racing heavy and racing tired. IS. That is what it’s all about at the minute. Ran 9 miles around the streets of Barnsley in the morning, planned a 5k run to the start and whatever was left to get back, so I’d round my evening run up to 11.5 mile.. it’s pretty much all down hill to the race anyway. Nothing like the uphill struggle to Penistone 10k or the Long Drag back from Travellers 6 or Cusworth 10k. I set off around 6 ish, getting there in about 20 minutes, stood chatting with the people who had already arrived. Keith Binney sent the numbers out before the night, I’d pinned mine to my vest and left it at home. Not wanting to sweat too much on my way to the race. Mum and Dad were bringing it down for me. Trotted to where they were parking, no sign of them. Back to the line, thinking of the scenarios, what would happen if my number didn’t turn up. Planning some sort of shirt and vest exchange whilst on the route. Anyway they turned up with 10 minutes to spare, vest on and now we race. Aches and pains had dissipated, psychologically returning. Keith signalled is back as he climbed up onto the wall, eventually finding a line where old tarmac meets newer tarmac on the floor. We’ll start here. Pointing his pistol and we were off. Fresh out the blocks and into the climb, on our way past the ship inn, upwards and upwards some more towards Wigfield Farm. It’ll level out a bit after there. The road feels like rough, loose gravel, spread by the council when they ‘resurfaced’ the road. One glance seeing Scott had come with me and David Addenbrooke, from the blue vested Sheffield RC. I looked at Scott and told him, he can run on his own today! Having run leg 1 with him at the weekend and finishing neck and neck with him at Parkrun on Saturday. Both clocking 16:52. Now at Wigfield, settling on the level. Bottom road of the ward green 6, for those that have raced that! Flying out, on the road, trees covering us, but still a slight head wind present. 5:28 for the first mile. Ticked, now the climbing starts! The true climbing anyway, up and under the motorway bridge, towards Rockley. Scott was in front, me holding 2nd with David on my shoulder, up and up. Used to run out and back on this bit, back in the day! Working hard for it, knowing at the top, the climbs aren’t truly over, even though your legs hoped they were! Hitting the top of Stampers Hill, clocking 2 mile in 5:53. Paved had dropped on the climb, understandable. Flying down the other side now, down towards Rockley Furnace and the remaining Engine House, reminders of the mining culture of Barnsley.
Making our way ahead, up under the next motorway bridge, the road getting sharper, a much shorter climb, but one of those that leaves you on your toes. The mile 3 marker will bring an end to it, waiting my time and hoping it would come quickly. I love an hill, I love this particular hill, I know this particular hill. The last time I ran on here, a proper summer morning, sun coming through the trees and all that, glancing ahead and seeing two deer at the side of the road, literally at the side of the road grazing. Galloping off as I ran by. Didn’t see any deer today! The road bends around the corner, if you aren’t from around here, you wish that it is over. But it goes again, just a little bit more. Seeing the mile 3 marker in the distance John Lawcock stood at the side cheering us on.
The climb was nearly over, all downhill from here. Thats what Judith Kippax said anyway! 6:10 for that mile, a bit hilly. A slight rise and then we was out and onto the main road, through Birdwell and back to Worsbrough. It looks downhill, but definitely never feels like it. Still working hard, looking somewhere for all that time you lost on the climb. Nearly there, the hard work is done. Letting the legs fly and gravity do the majority of the work, being careful not to ease up too much. Still racing you know. My legs recovered quick enough from the climb, a number on the vest works its magic. Before I knew it, I was banking around the bend, into the car park. Working my way through the trees and spotting the line.
Holding out and clocking:
A 1 second PB for me, on a not so flat course, all the PB’s count though, don’t they? Pretty tempted to look for a flat 5 mile course to see what I’d get on a different course. Scott held out for 1st place, some what slower than Wombwell 5 (4.2), I am not too sure why? As we made our way around to sit down next to the mill, then I made a mistake, I sat down. Leaving me reluctant to leave and make my way home, eventually mustering enough energy to stand and make the 5k run up home, up the beastly Hound Hill!
But that is what its all about, racing heavy, racing tired, being fatigued worn down, that is what this block of training is. It is all simulation, simulation for those final few miles of the marathon. So I can wake up and tell myself the story, surely I’ve felt worse. I’ve felt much worse but still managed ‘race pace.’ I’ve been in a position where I’ve thought, hang on a minute, I can’t do anymore; but I’ve gone on and done it. It works for me. Running is a mental game, as much as a physical.
Just Keep Running!