The Welsh International was billed as one of the biggest pre-Olympics athletics events, and it didn’t disappoint. I was lucky enough to be part of an event that had over twenty countries involved on a cold and windy night in Cardiff, which has been part and parcel of our summer thus far.
It was a rarity to be competing in front of such good crowds at the Cardiff International Stadium, where Olympic fever had hit with over 3,000 turning out to watch. I was in the B 800m, in a pretty solid field, so the plan was always to hold off and see who I could pick off, considering I had the slowest PB by two seconds.
The pacemaker told us in the call room he’d go through in 54, which was great as I could sit off of that and just relax. In reality, he went through an extremely blustery first lap in 56 seconds, and I followed in 58. The pace really felt like it picked up from then on, and I managed to pick off 4 of or so athletes to finish around halfway in 1:55.5. Not the most ideal 800m in the world, but negatives splits (58, 57 second laps) and a PB by a whole second. I know there is a lot more to come over two laps, with more specific training next year but job done for now.
The race can be seen here - http://www.athleticos.org/video/649928-National-Mens-800m
The rest of the evening was filled with some real world class athletics, and two Welsh All-Comers records were broke on the night too.
Just three days later, and in a miraculous change of weather, I headed to Solihull for my final attempt at a 1500m the summer in the fourth Nike British Milers Club Grand Prix Series. The weather in The Midlands, and i’m sure the rest of the UK was hot and still, so pretty perfect for fast times.
I was again placed in the 2nd fastest ‘B’ race out of 8 races, so could just sit off the early pace then try and hold it together for the final 400m. I thought warming up i’d have some affects from the 800m days before, but the legs had some pop in them again and was ready to race.
The race panned out pretty much identical to 14 days previous in Manchester. I sat off the early pace with the first lap in around 58 for the pacemaker and 60 seconds for me. I then focussed on trying to close any gaps that were opening up around me and found a good amount for a confident finish. The bonus this time was coming out with a0.18 second PB of 3:46.79, for 7th place out of 16 in the race. It was also nice to beat a number of athletes who have ran in the Great Britian colours this season on the cross-country and track. What I found easier than Manchester though was being used to the pace. I was almost running into the unknown with each lap two weeks previous, but I felt far more in control this time around. I think I would have been pleased to have just consolidated my 3:.46.9 , but to beat it again was great and hopefully shows that it wasn’t just a freak run.
With the Olympics looming many of Great Britain’s middle distance hopefuls were involved in the ‘A’ heat of each distance, so it was great to see how they approached those type of races, and hopefully next summer i’ll be a part of the fastest races in the series.
Since Saturday I have kept this week pretty easy, with just one race left. My only real workout was 6 x 400m on Wednesday evening, off of 2 minutes, where I hit 59 seconds for each effort. The remainder of the week has been slow, easy running with a few strides this evening.
I am heading to Oxford tomorrow for the British Milers Club Festival of Miles, and am lucky enough to be place in the A race Saturday night, against Australian 2012 Olympian Craig Mottram among other top athletes, a perfect way to sign the season off. I think I am a few seconds away from the prestigious sub-4 barrier at the moment, (which was broken on the very track the race is being held on, Iffley Road) but i’ll certainly chase it!! Luckily I just have to cross the finish line to make it 3 PB’s in the space of 10 days as I have never ran a track mile.