When I first started going to the track at the Spectrum with GGAC, one of the earliest sessions that I remember doing was the so-called “benchmark”. Named as such, because it is used with relative frequency as a gauge against which we could measure our progress. This was way back in November 2012. Since then, injuries, and general life have clearly gotten in the way, as according to a quick search through Strava, I have only run it a further two times – until last week.
So when I first joined the club, I had not long previously run a 46 minute 10km as I tried to get a bit quicker and my marathon PB had been shuffled down to 4:21 in the spring. I was by no means as fit as I have been since then. It is, however, very nearly two years since I did the benchmark so it is interesting to see where I am at having suffered at the hands of a torn meniscus and the resultant surgery and lay-off.
So it’s fairly clear to see that I am apparently not back in 2012 shape just yet. Interestingly though, my times are far more consistent through the session, instead of the way in which I slowed dramatically the first time I attempted it.
What you can’t see, because it’s been so long since I did the benchmark last, is the progress being made since the surgery. When I look back at my Strava log, there is a huge swathe of empty space where I was running so sporadically, so the best way I can judge my progress is with Cranleigh parkrun as it has been pretty much ever-present in my road (or muddy swamp) to recovery. When looking at my results, the two lovely letters, P and B symbolise progress being made, and in all honesty it has outstripped my expectations. For the March target setting in Jantastic you have to chose a race distance and use your intimate knowledge of yourself and your current fitness to predict an accurate balls-out race time. I had hoped that by the end of the month I would have gone from 23:55(8), based on the previous two weeks, to somewhere close to 23:30. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility to knock 30 seconds off in that time. What I hadn’t expected, was the clear impact that a consistent return to the track was having on my running (and helped by slightly firmer ground this weekend) as I smashed through that target with a tasty 22:57. I couldn’t believe it when Martin told me! Ecstatic, but also a little annoyed that I hadn’t given myself full credit for the work I have been putting in!