I worked for 9 hours, but tried to forget about it. Managed a 30-minute nap before driving out to the AIS, for once allowing plenty of time for a good warm-up. I jogged 5k slowly, with some breaks for stretches and rest – felt OK doing this, but not great. My movement did feel good after swapping to the Frees and running some strides. I had my mind in the right place, and was positive about doing well. My mate Blair at the BOM had organised the temperature to be a mild 16°C.
I started on the outside of the curve, with a plan to slot in behind Burkie. He's not a fast starter, but was in good form (40:55 for 10k last week). Nev took my spot, so I followed him and Burkie through the 200m mark in 44 seconds – 11-minute pace, but it didn't feel that quick. Robbie was about 10 metres ahead of our group of three.
The photofinish clock showed 3:55 after one kilometre. I was still feeling comfortable enough. At this point, Burkie slipped ahead by a few metres, but I decided to stay behind Nev. I was having to chop my stride at times to stay at this speed – it's been so long since I've experienced that in a race, that I'd almost forgotten the feeling. I pulled wide in the home straight and thought about passing Nev, but the moderate head-wind was enough to deter my enthusiasm for the move.
We overtook Robbie, and at the start of the next lap, I sensed Nev was slowing, so went past. Burkie was 40 metres ahead, but I couldn't do anything about it. I was pretty much at my limit. 2000 metres in 7:55, so 4 minutes for that kilometre. Speedygeoff was standing at the 200m start, shouting (quietly) encouragement to all the geese. Thanks Geoff! The last kilometre was feeling hard (as it should) – I was hoping I had enough time in hand to sneak under 12 minutes. Geoff called "eleven fifteen, go for it!" My mental arithmetic went into overdrive... sub-45 needed for the last 200 metres. I sprinted as well as I could, very thankful for the sprints I've been doing in training lately. 11:58.44, an M50 PB! 6:25 per mile pace for imperialist friends such as Grellan.
That was the last 3000 metre race of the season. The good result has fired my enthusiasm for the rest of the year. My next opportunity to race on the track will be at the High Noon meets in June. That will be novel – racing a distance event on the track in Canberra's perfect arctic-like winter stillness.