Sunday, 18 January 2015

Scottish National Open 1500m


After running the Yuletide Meet 800m, the Miler Meet 3,000m, and training last Monday, this was my 4th trip to the Emirates Arena in a month.

It was also my 2nd attempt at running a 1500m race.  My first was 2 years ago when I ran 4:44 with a cold, so I was fairly sure I could beat that time.

My target time was 4:30, i.e. 3min/km pace, since I'd run faster than this at the 800m. My plan was therefore to go through 500 metres in 1:30, then press on in the middle 600m, and finish fast in the final 400m. In hindsight, I should have started running faster sooner.

I had hoped to be place in the same heat as John Thomson, so I could use him as a pacemaker. But John was in the heat before mine. When I saw that John failed to get under 4:30, this psyched me out slightly that I shouldn't be aiming for 4:30, since I know that John is faster than me.

Anyhow. It was slightly amusing trying to collect my race number and get into the call room, where the officials thought I must somebody's father, and I was told "only athletes beyond this point"!

I watched the Kelly Holmes video from Athens 2004 for ideas & inspiration (unfortunately very poor quality on YouTube), and tried to follow suit by lolloping along at the back from the start, and then gradually winding it up.

There were 9 other runners in my heat who all shot off from the gun way faster than me. I tried to stick to my task of getting to 500 metres in 1:30 before starting to chase them down. Things became a blur quite early on, and it was not that easy to read the clock at the finish line, to gauge exactly where you were, but time was running out so I made a big move, and passed all 9 runners ahead of me over 2 laps, such that when I hit 600 metres to go I was in the lead.  For a moment I felt pretty good, but then started getting challenged by Harry Nimmo of Giffnock with 400m to go. I held off a couple of attempts for him to get by, but then buckled with about 300m to go.  I could feel more footsteps on my heels, so really had to get up on my toes to finish off the final 200m lap without losing any more places.

I was pleased enough to get a PB of 4:39.30, but feel that I could get closer to 4:30 if I understood better how to survive that combination of pace and distance.

Photo: Bobby Gavin