Andrew Mole from the Riverine Herald asked me a question after the Berlin Marathon last September about what running marathons meant for my short-distance racing.
I replied with details about how racing shorter distances compliments the longer distance races. In a nut shell you run fast over shorter distances to make it easier to run a little slower over longer distances.
It was a good answer to a good question. Surprisingly, Andrew knows his stuff about running! Gone are the days when sports reporters would ask me ‘and, how far is a marathon again?’, or ‘so how far is this marathon?’.
When I replied with my answer I was being 100% honest.
I'd long given up my focus on the short track stuff (800m/1500m/3000m) years ago and now thought of it as being nothing more than good training that would assist my marathons.
It’s the sweet potato fries to the burger. (They're good but the burger is always better)
So when I raced the Box Hill Classic 3000m last Tuesday night with a whole heap of young, fast kids, you could imagine my shock when I finished 4th in a time of 8.21.1.
The 4th wasn’t a massive surprise, the field wasn’t amazing but the time gave me a rev up.
I was shocked, and stoked that I'd ran that quick and came so close to my PB of 8.20.7 set in November 2010.
Yeah, you read that right November 2010. Back in the glory days. The days when I was a young speedster, loaded full of testosterone with not a worry or a responsibility in the world.
So nearly 7 years… That's a long time between quick 3kers, it's pretty close to the same number of years that some of the kids in my class have been alive on this earth!
It started 3 weeks before when I had a dabble with some shorter stuff running a 8.36 for 3km in Bendigo, a time I was happy with. And a result that saw me come second to Andrew Buchanan by 16 seconds. A smashing I'd needed. He's come a long way and there's nothing better than getting smashed on your home track to get the motivation pumping.
My plan going into this race at Box Hill was to progress and break 8.30, my coach and I thought that that would have been a good result from where we thought I was at.
My belief and mental state around 3ks isn't (well now maybe wasn’t) great when I think about it. (thinking about thinking, now we're getting complicated, it’s called metacognition my uni lecturer taught me.)
I was at a stage where I believed racing shorter stuff and being my best over the shorter distances was long behind me.
I'd envisioned I'd be the guy at the pub in my 50s telling some young kid that had the misfortune to land next to me at the bar that back in the day I'd ran 3km in 8.20.
Full stop, period, drop the mic, that’s all she wrote…
It was like it was tattooed in my mind.
I'm an 8.20 3km guy and I'd be that for my whole life now. (The video to that race back in 2010 is below)
So not only did having a good performance over 3k shock me a bit it also made me think about how I managed to all of a sudden get that result.
In 2017 I've come out firing.
I set some goals for the year, hopefully not in the corny, blown in 2 weeks New Year’s Resolution kind of goals, but more embedded lifestyle changes and so far it seems to be working well.
The first thing I did was set a motto for the year, it was an idea I got from the Australian Netball Coach, Lisa Alexander after hearing her speak last year.
My motto is: 'When your should becomes your must'.
When I was on school holidays I unpacked my life a bit and identified areas of weakness and how they affecting me mentally. I actually didn't mean to do it, Carley and I were driving to Bendigo for dinner and we just got talking about where I was at and it kind of just rolled from there.
It was a quite empowering conversation which identified a number of negative aspects it my life. I found myself identifying too many shoulds (not a word). It wasn’t a surprise, I’ve written some depressing blogs in the past identifying things I needed to improve.
To begin with I was thinking about my running with a negative mind-set and about what I wasn't doing.
I had no one to train hard with…
I had no hills in town to run on…
I had limited time to prioritise running..
I had difficulty getting to Melbourne mid-week and on weekends for quality races…
I also ditched core, massage and stretching too often…
There were way too many things I should have been doing that I was flogging off and it was affecting my belief in my performance.
As a runner I viewed myself as a hard worker with all the odds stacked up against him. There was too much 'oh poor Brady bulls***' going on.'
So I identified it and changed it.
I drove to Bendigo (70 minute drive one-way) every Saturday night for a month to knock my long run out over hills on the Sunday morning...
I've taken Thursday's off work to have more time for me and to prioritise running more…
I've been smashed by Andy Buchanan and Jaimie Cook in Bendigo more often…
I've made the looooong journey down to Melbourne for a race. (7 hours driving for a race that lasts 8 minutes isn’t the best return but boy does it make me feel alive when you're in it)
I've started saying no to things that don't fit in with me.
I've been nailing core and some strength training. (I'm even doing a push up challenge. Add 1 every day. I started at 30 and now I'm at 75. I've got little muscles in my arms I've never seen before, I challenge you to give it a go as well!)
Most importantly, I'm feeding myself first. It’s not only to make myself happier but to be a better person and be more present and have more energy for the people around me.
I remember myself as a runner 2 years ago, I got myself down to 14.19 for 5km, 30.06 for 10km and was consistently running 66-minute half marathons. I had a truck load of motivation, was super focused and used to go about my running with an underdog, chip on my shoulder mentality, I used to set myself for big races and most of the time nailed them.
I felt as though I was ready to launch and take that next step and was excited to do so, but somewhere along the line it just didn't happen, then it didn't happen, then it didn't happen and then I just cemented myself as a half decent runner trying to get back to my best. I was always hitting solid times but the PB list just didn't change.
I feel now though that I'm back to that guy I was a couple of years ago, physically I've probably always been there but the motivation, drive, the chip on the shoulder is back.
I stood on the start line Tuesday night in a better frame of mind than I have been recently. I understand the way I think and the way I need to live my life to be in the best headspace which brings belief.
Training hard, tick.
Less stress, tick.
They're ticks I haven't been getting lately. Which resulted in a whole different way of thinking on a start line.
And it worked for me.
I was a bees pecker off the best I've ever been and that's a great performance indicator.
If you thought I was gone, I'm not.
If you've been in my corner for a while, thank you.
I've got more for you, we ain't done just quite yet.
P.S, I need to give a big shout out to Jay from Invigor8 Massage. I was feeling like junk on Sunday and Monday prerace and he worked on my legs for much longer than my appointment to get me ready. If you’re in Echuca/Moama and are after a massage get onto him.