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