A 5k race on a beautiful day
This year I decided to enter The Canberra Times 5k (normally I race the more popular 10k). Good decision — the number of starters was about ideal (a couple of hundred runners with the rest of the field being walkers). We ran for a very short distance on a road then cut to a bike-path, but even so, by that time I was in 'free space', running next to a couple of girls with a young boy just ahead. Once again I raced by feel, starting the Garmin then not looking at it until the finish. The start felt a little fast (lack of speedwork showing up there) and I wasn't surprised when Jill sprinted past well before the bridge.
Once over the bridge I settled into what I thought was the right effort level for a 5k race. I found myself running mainly with unknown young runners: girls, boys and teenagers. The only Masters runner I could see (besides Jill) was Gary, who had also sprinted off at the start and was running about 200 metres ahead next to a young girl (who ended up being the third female to finish). I eased past Jill just beyond the 1k flag then soon after we moved onto the road detour (a small hill around an old landslide). The 3k flag was on the beach just beyond the Boathouse and at this point I still thought I was moving well (my stride felt smooth). I was gradually catching people while enjoying the pleasing feeling of not having any runners overtaking from behind. Splits show my pace lagging in the fourth kilometre (I do recall the race feeling hard at this point). After we ran under Kings Avenue Bridge our race joined the slow finishers of the 10k for the last kilometre to the finish. Even so, there was plenty of running room.
I kept the pressure on but a young boy and a twenty-something man that I'd been catching surged away. The final 80 metres of this race are a little cruel as the field is diverted off the bike path up a grassy bank to the finish. I stopped my Garmin and was happy with what it showed — 22:34. Not sure of my place yet or how I faired in my age-group. The pace was the same that I ran for the Gold Coast 10k but there's something about this course that doesn't make it a super-fast one. So I'm happy with the time — 5k-specific training of the type that Pete Magill recommends will reduce it quite a bit over Summer. Bring on the track!