Flathead – the Drumpellier 5k 2018

Disclaimer: The mellow Marko of late is replaced today by the older irritating one. This is an honest account of how I feel after this week’s racing and I know many of you won’t get where I am trying to come from, as although I write, and a lot, I can’t always adequately put down in print what is running through my mind. I guess even with a relative improvement we can still disappoint ourselves.

I’ve done the Drumpellier 5k the last couple of years finishing 5th and 6th, so had joked prior to this one that the aim had to be 7th to continue my steady decline.  It’s a decent wee course, not flat but not too hilly, undulating and interesting and while not one that I regard as PB potential, it was my fastest 5k in what was a year of personally honking 5ks last year. I entered it this year as a stepping stone towards trying to go sub 18 this year, but having done that last week I was now neither up not down about it. Again I’d had another positive training week, some good hilly efforts with the club and solo 500s hitting the mark at the No Mates Thursday Track Club. I was simply going to treat it as a run in the build up to my forthcoming 10ks now and try and run hard. The No pressure, No stress approach has been working for me recently but was to be a downfall today but, as I say, I have no excuses.

The conditions were perfect.

The registration went like clockwork.

The atmosphere was brilliant with fellow MAC runners and people from other clubs.

I had no niggles of note.

The banter on the start line was good as we got ready to go and then we were off, Cammy and Davie Gardiner from MAC taking the early pace followed by Mick O’Hagan from Cambuslang and a fella from Maryhill. I nestled in behind them and another few folk but quite soon Cammy, Davie and Mick started to pull away. It has to be said that the pace was on par with the first K at the Scottish the week before but my head had already decided that these three guys were going to be the first three, they were better than me (which to be fair they are) and the race would be for 4th place. I was content to let them away. Know your level Marko, no stress needed here as three quality runners who always beat me so that’s fair enough eh?

But is it?

I’m deflated after the run so obviously for me it isn’t. The important thing when reading through the rest of this is that I do not for one moment think I SHOULD have finished in that top three, but my problem with myself is that I didn’t even try to, I didn’t put them under any pressure, I didn’t compete in what is at the end of the day a race, and despite how well I have been running had given up with a whimper before the racing even started.

That’s poor.

I went into 4th place at about 1k and stayed there to the end, never threatened for that position. Like the last 2 years it turned pretty much into a solo time trial for me and the third k, where it undulates and bends, was again my slowest by a good 10 seconds as I ran on my own. Never out my comfort zone, never pushing like I did last week. By the time the road straightened up with less than 2k to go I could see Cammy was away and had dropped  Davie with Mick further behind. I was far too far away from them to have any thoughts of trying to catch them up, but as usual my last 1 1/2k was my best and I ran hard on the uphill, without going full out (aaaarrrggghh) and when I got to the final bend both Davie and Mick were just ahead. While a thrill to be on the finishing straight at the same time as both of these lads that I regard very highly, had I had even a little bit of bravery in the first 2k then I would either have blown up, which is fine, or else I would have been in the mix for a podium place on the final sprint.

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4 seconds separated those two, I was 10 seconds or so further back having eaten a big chunk out of the gap. Yes I do know my limitations, yes I do know my standard and level, but I also know that I will never have a better chance of being on that podium. I got a course PB and my best finish, but I ran 17.48 last week and second place this week was in 18.02. I should have given it a right go. So here is my thought…

Is it better to fail with a roar than to finish with a whimper?

I am prepared for the flak on this one but I have to emphasise that I am not getting ideas above my station, I do not think I am better than I am nor am I ungracious about my position. I finished in a good time and good position but I neglected my two things I stand by – I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror afterwards, because in this blog I keep repeating the saying “If you think you’re beaten you are, if you think you dare not you don’t”. I thought I was beaten right from the start and didn’t dare to give it a go, and that is what has annoyed me.

So there you go. No excuses except I simply didn’t have the bottle to give it a go in probably the only race I will have this year that will provide me with that opportunity. I need to work on self-belief and positivity as well as keeping the stresses at bay. Just go out and bloody well race. Onwards and upwards and hopefully a lesson learned.

Back to the race and well done to the top three, they raced it superbly. Well done to Clare from MAC for winning the female race. There was a cracking battle between the Crane brothers whose progress I have watched on Strava this year with Evan pipping Keith, but both well under 20 mins. Thanks to Dougie and his team again for the organisation, an enjoyable race excellently organised.

The song this week is something boisterous to give me a kick up the arse. Have some Fratellis. I feel flat because of my misbehaving head, so flathead it is. Also my moan today not quite the full haddock, more a floundering flathead (that’s a fish as well you know) so aye, apt.

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Enjoy. Thanks Nick Hughes and June Duggan for the pics.

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