Whew! Surprise, boyish excitement and relief are the emotions I felt when I looked up at the finish-line clock in the final blue-carpeted straight of the Gold Coast 10k on Saturday. The net time of 45:11 (checked later that day on the website
) was my fastest 10k since 2008, and not far off the 44:53 track 10,000 I ran in 2005. Wow! At this event in 2010 I raced with Andy, Jo and Ruth — finished in a perplexing 49:26 — wondered afterwards how I could get back to running a fast 10k. If I would. I'm 55 years old, "push'n 60" as some 'friends' love to remind me, an age where springy muscles sometimes rebel and injuries are a clear and present danger.
The race went surprisingly smoothly. I walked up to the start from my digs at the Marriott in darkness, enjoying the mild temperature, wearing singlet and shorts, ready to race. Jogged a slow 2k and ran 4 x 50m strides to waken the muscles. I positioned myself about 50 metres back from the line amongst a crowd of 6000-plus runners. The first kilometre over the bridge produced the expected stop-starty, zig-zaggy running, but not overly so. After the U-turn I was running smoothly with sufficient personal space to feel relaxed. Atypically, as soon as the gun went off, I decided I'd start my Garmin when crossing the start-mat and not look at it until the finish. I ran by feel! This worked beautifully. I raced various people I picked out in the crowed: The greying long-haired dude with backwards baseball cap; the blonde girl in aqua singlet with a seductive light stride; the lady in pink shorts and blue crop-top; the long-shorts, bare-foot bloke. I tried to catch them, stay with them or keep them in sight as they moved ahead. Racing while blissfully unaware of the ticking clock was calming. I just monitored my effort, movement and position relative to others in the race.
I felt fairly strong throughout the race, although sensed a lag in my pace around 7k (which showed up in the splits). I fought against this tiredness and became excited when I heard a bloke reply to his mate "we're running four and a halves." At 8k I was wishing it was over, so I take that as a sign I was racing at maximum effort. Around the corner, over the bridge and suddenly there was just 1k remaining. I went for a long drive for home (as that is the best way to save time), passing some, others passing me, then managed something resembling a kick as I entered the last straight. Happy!
On Sunday morning I watched the marathon 'on the run' with Em from Melbourne, trying to spot running friends in the crowd. It was quite inspiring. Maybe I'll run another marathon one day. That evening I enjoyed a celebratory meal (and a wine or two) with Andy (who'd run the marathon), Beki, Em, Kelly and Janice down at Broadbeach. The perfect way to conclude a successful weekend!
Splits: 4:29, 4:31, 4:25, 4:27, 4:32 (22:24) 4:35, 4:38, 4:36, 4:33, 4:24 (22:47) - 45:11 @ AHR 148.
Andy snapped a photo as I turned the last corner
| 10k Progression |
Enjoying a walk on the beach after the race