Kika run, Spaarnwoude (10km)
I ran Kika in Spaarnwoude back in 2008 (43:44) and this year, one week before the race, decided to do it again. On Monday I did some fast intervals 7x1km with 4' breaks in between. I averaged 4:10 in them -- not too bad; if I managed to keep such speed on the race day I'd end up with 41:40; just 18 seconds shy of my current personal best (41:22). But actually I thought it was more realistic to try to aim for a time around 42:00 and that was my plan for the race.
The last preparations were really not going well. On Saturday, the day before the race, I went to play squash with a friend. Afterwards I was planning to go to the gym for a training, but I was dead tired after the squash and the gym was simply not an option. Actually I felt something I didn't feel for a very long time, but recognized immediately: clear signs of over-training. I was in fact so tired that I took a short nap during the day -- something I almost never do. But in fact it's no wonder, when I thought about it, I was just ending a second week without a single rest day without any training -- not good.
The night was terrible. First I couldn't fall asleep. Then our cat gave me hell. All in all, I spent ~9 hours in bed, but not more than half of that time actually sleeping. So when I woke up in the morning I was not sure anymore whether I can do 42:00.
I got there well in advance. The weather seemed to be good. It was raining few hours before but it already dried out and it was pleasantly cool. The only problem was wind -- too hard not to cause some problems.
There was plenty of people taking part so the start was slow. The first two minutes I spent crawling behind people in front of me; then I started overtaking on the side of the road, so that I managed to get a decent 4:15 split on the first kilometer. Shortly after the 2nd kilometer there was a hill, where I lost some seconds, but regained them downhill and kept steady pace afterwards. I was going at a speed good enough for 42:00 and if I didn't break before the end I was hoping to end in that time. I had few weak moments but managed to keep that pace and at the end even to work it up a bit. Thanks to that I ended up with 41:05 -- my new personal best and a result beyond my hopes.
I was so damn happy with breaking my personal record. The last time I did that was back in 2007 when I set my previous 10K record (my marathon and half-marathon bests goes back even further, to 2005). Now many of you (ok, there are not many of you reading this to begin with, but you guys know what I mean, right ;-), especially non-runners will wonder whether this 17 seconds improvement means anything. Well, to me it means a lot. First of all I'm running for almost 9 years and during those years I took part in 10 10K races (ok, not so many but still) so my previous best was there for a reason and the fact that I improved it means I'm on top of my form. Secondly, it's a great motivation/confidence boost. And thirdly, I'm only starting my summer starts, so if everything goes well chances are this is not my last word in this season ;).
Next start: again 10K, probably in 3 weeks. Oh, and by the way, with this result McMillan gives me 3:12:48 in a marathon; not too bad ;)