BMC Grand Prix Solihull 5,000m -

13 May 2017

The summer is all about speed and I'm determined to break my 5 and 10k PBs over the next few months and get a few more LBAC records.  I think I've got the marathon out of my legs and have been gradually building up fitness again.  My ideal plan would have been to have had 2 weeks off after London to let my body properly recover and then target a race about 4 weeks after that.  Unfortunately, the best athletics event of the year (the Night of the 10,000m PBs at Parliament Hill track) is on 20 May and there was no way I was missing it!  

The BMC Grand Prix at Solihull fell a week before the big event and looked a good idea to see what kind of shape I was in.  I knew it would be tough coming just 3 weeks after London, but I thought it was worth going for.  I ran 15.25 last year, but knew I wasn't quite in that shape yet so the aim was to go somewhere between 15.30 and 15.50.  When the start lists were announced I was a little concerned there were only 2 races (last year there had been as many as 4) and the pacemaker was running at 14.30 pace, there was no way I was keeping up with the pack.  

Frustratingly I picked up a little bug towards the end of the week and really didn't feel good on Saturday, but was determined still to run.  The track was conveniently 2km away from my brother in law's and their family so it meant my wife Sarah and daughter Lexi could travel with me, spend time with family and then all have dinner together after I'd raced.

I knew I was in trouble after about 5 minutes of my warm up jog to the track.  It was a warmish day, but I was sweating profusely; not good!  As a BMC member now I was able to get free entry to the race and just had to pay the £5 stadium entry (everyone has to pay this even spectators).  I went for a second warm up jog with my friend Alex Bellew of Leeds City AC and the time flew by.  

I knew the pace of the race was going to be quick and I'd even accepted even if I ran a great race there was a good chance I was going to come last so had planned to sit towards the back of the pack for as long as possible and see what happened.  Straight from the gun I settled into a nice rhythm and we floated round the track a couple of times; we clocked the first KM in just over 3 minutes and I thought to myself "surely this isn't going to last?".  I was right, it didn't.  I kept my pace consistent, but the pack disappeared away from me and the nice wind cover was gone.  I clocked through 2km in around 6 minutes, but knew now I was on my own it was going to be very very hard.  The remainder of the race was not fun and I was purely playing countdown of how many laps I had left to go to get through it.  

I finished in 15.46 and felt absolutely terrible, it was within where I expected to run, but was not a fun experience.  One minor victory is that the winner (Jamie Dee from Shaftesbury Barnet in 14.33) didn't lap me; in the end I finished 24th out of 25 finishers, the quality of the field was very high indeed.  

Once I'd recovered and refueled I was actually pretty happy, I've set a marker for the summer and clocked a solid sub 16 minute time on first attempt.  This time last year I was desperate to get under 16 minutes and this year I've done it even when being under the weather and only 3 weeks after the marathon.  

I've got some exciting races coming up:-

20 May - Night of the 10,000m PBs (aim to break 32, but would be happy with sub 33 breaking the LBAC record)

27 May - Barnet & District Club Champs 5,000m (hoping to get much closer to 15.30 than at Solihull)

29 May - London Vitality 10,000m on road.  I've got a championship place so should have a real opportunity to break my 10k PB of 31.55.