Bad, mad, glad
Yesterday morning, Canberra's soothingly cool weather was just about perfect for distance running (except for a persistent breeze which was a home-straight head-wind). I decided to race the 3000, rather than run for a time, having thought about Canute's comments in my last post: "maybe you are paying a bit too much attention to the stop-watch at the moment. Your ‘epic’ battle with Lily in the 800m last year demonstrates that it can be fun to set a different sort of race target from time to time". Fortuitously there were a number of runners with similar form to myself, which made for good racing.
Kilometre 1: I took up a position on the outside of the curved start-line, next to Speedygeoff. At the gun, I moved towards lane two, slotting in behind Gary and Nadine, with Carol and Amanda just behind. Gary was following Geoff, and set a perfect pace for the first kilometre, which we passed in 4:05.
Kilometre 2: This is the part of a 3k where I usually lose time. I was determined not to let any gaps open to my pace-makers ahead. Gary's pace slowed slightly running up the back straight, so Nadine went past, with myself and Carol following. Carol then overtook me, so I sat behind for half a lap before resuming a spot behind Nadine, who was running with great strength. I would have loved to have shared some of the pace-making with her, but I was at my limit and barely hanging on. 4:09 for the second kilometre.
Kilometre 3: Nadine drew inexorably ahead, stretching the elastic band until it snapped with the finality of Sylvester Stallone dropping Michelle Joyner in Cliffhanger. I was all alone for the last two laps, running with urgency, hearing frequent encouragement from spectators for my pursuer Gary. I looked around briefly with 300 metres to run and could see that he was gaining. I ran down the back straight as hard as my lactic-filled legs would allow, before going into full sprint mode for the last 100 metres. I could hear Gary raising a similar effort, and I didn't feel 'safe' until 20 metres before the finish-line. 4:12 for the last kilometre for a pleasing 12:26.26. It had been a fun race! Interestingly, the sprint-finish off a fast pace produced the highest maximum heart-rate I've recorded in recent years (167) — I had thought my maximum was around 164 to 165.
Afterwards I was presented with a silver medal for placing 2nd in the M50s — a great memento for what had been a memorable race!