Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas summed it up nicely after stage 19 of this year’s Tour, “sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. Today I was a shitty little IKEA nail.” Today was one of those days for me.
On the warm up I felt empty, nothing there. But you push on & tell yourself it’ll be fine once the race gets underway. I popped a gel at the start line and got ready to smash it.
The first mile can be difficult to get into a rhythm unless you start near the front. I was about half way back, so slowly made my way through the field and wasn’t disappointed when I went through the first mile in 7:34. I hadn’t wanted to start out too fast, having learned my lesson from the Brig Bash in July. I got into a group with a couple of club runners (Dundee & Wee County Harriers) and we got into a steady tempo. After 4km I started pushing it on a bit to test the legs. Nothing there. Shit!
The second half of this race was going to be damage limitation, and just when I should have been pushing the pace closer to 7:00/mi, I found myself going backwards. Not good. In your head, your mind is telling you to give up, slow down, walk like those others. That’s when you dig deep and push on. It wasn’t pretty, but I managed to hold a 7:30 pace for the next couple of miles and soon we were into the last 1.5.
Mentally I wanted to go faster, but my legs were having none of it. FFS! So we plodded through mile 6 in a pedestrian 7:33, then finally my legs agreed to play, running the last 0.2 miles in 6:50 pace. Too little too late!
So I crossed the line in 46:28, not what I’d be hoping for (sub 45), but that was the best I could do on the day.
Back to training this week, 3 weeks until Linlithgow 10k, see them all as stepping stones. Ultimately I do this for fun and in a weird way I enjoyed today. As G says, sometimes you’re the nail. You learn to suck it up and take it, grind it out, do the best you can, live to fight another day.