Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Now that's why I like racing!

I'm still thinking about the race I ran last Tuesday — 5k on the cross-country course at Stromlo. It was the final event in the YCRC 'Summer Series' of races. For once my legs felt okay during the warm-up — they weren't springy and raring to race, but just as importantly, they weren't dead tired and lifeless. After five or six strides I lined up a couple of rows back in the field of 58 runners. Weather was about as good as it gets for summer racing in Canberra, about 14C with a light breeze.

I started my Garmin (didn't look at it during the race) and ran up the first gentle hill at what I guessed was the appropriate effort, ignoring my 'competition'. After 100 metres I noticed that Speedygeoff had bolted (an unusual tactic), keeping pace with Maria and Helen. Brian was running barefoot a few metres ahead with Phil, Charlie was behind (already) and Janene was about 20 metres up the course with Miriam. Brian was despatched after 500 metres, then I ran down the first hill in the company of Phil and Greg. At this stage (1k in) I felt like I was in control, but close to my limit. On the next uphill section Phil dropped back, followed by Greg. I wanted to race Miriam and Janene, but they were 30 metres away. Miriam is an old rival (38 for 10k as a pup and 90 for the half as a Master), while Janene is a new rival. I  gradually clawed back metre after metre during the first 2.5k lap and noticed the digital clock reading 11:18 at half way. Now that's a good split! Can I catch the two ladies?

Janene seemed to tire a little on the next hill and I managed to catch up. Miriam was a few metres ahead. On the next downhill stretch the speed came on again. I was breathing hard, pretty much at my limit, so sat behind Janene down the next hill and along the bottom of the course. I needed a rest! Would have liked to 'help out' with the pace if I could, but that would have put me into anaerobic territory. Anyway, as we raced up the next hill I managed to pass Janene, then Miriam on the flat part after the crest of the hill. After that I ran as hard as I could beside the dam for the last 700 metres to the finish. Caught Daniel with 500 to go, ran with him, but his finishing kick was stronger. Don't know what it looked like, but I felt like I was sprinting! Finished 34th in 22:41, thinking to myself "now that's why I like racing!"

Criterium and cross country course at Stromlo Forest Park


Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Sounds like a fun race. Great to be racing with/against people you know.

9:15 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

As it turned out, Maria and Helen were doing intervals. Bolting off with them at the start could have been a big mistake.

9:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great race report! You're so fortunate to be able to race regularly on both track & cross country. Do you have a preference or happy just to be out there racing?

11:54 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Chasing the ladies. Yup, generally works for me as well, it's a great motivator. ;-)

Well done!

2:01 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Bob, yes, knowing most people in the field is a great feature of local races.

Speedygeoff, good to spot that. Even had they been racing, don't think either would have run 21:15 that day.

Fiona, I'm an old track racer, so prefer those. I like the fact that a 5000m race in Canberra is the same distance as one anywhere else in the world (which can't be said for road races). These days I have closer competition in 5k road and cross country races, so they're more fun.

Thanks Thomas. Yes, good fun 'bloking' the ladies ;-) Usually it's the reverse for me!

3:11 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Nice race!

4:23 pm  
Blogger Raina said...

I had a race kind of like this once, but it turned out the high schoolers I kept yo-yo-ing with were only doing a tempo workout on/off, and would have kicked my butt if they had been in race shape. As it was, they beat me by about 30secs each anyway. :)
There is just something special about racing against people you know, and the surprises that come from even matches- or uneven as it may be. Fun stuff!

4:25 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

Glad you enjoyed the race ET. I was supposed to be doing that as a tempo run, I went out too hard, so yes I did tire and need to slow down, pulling over to let you pass. You did that quickly and efficiently. It's a shame that was the last of the evening XC runs for the season. Sadly the distance increases for the winter series. Although it's not clear what distances will be on offer for the Stromlo winter series - no info on the website. Looks like most 5k will now be road or pavement based for winter.

4:52 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize.

Raina, racing kids is fun - they're unpredictable (apart from usually starting fast!).

Janene even if it was a 'too fast' tempo run you ran well. Last time I was chatting to Ken I thought they were having a few different distances - 2k, 5k, 7.5k (?) on the cross country course. I hope that's the case as I wouldn't enjoy racing on the criterium course.

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great race and a great report. Stromlo has changed amazingly since the bush fire. My memories of Stromlo are of the observatory surrounded by pine forest. I am envious of that manicured cross country track. Maybe it is too manicured to be really ‘cross country’. I can imagine the temptation to run barefoot. The criterium circuit looks even more amazing.

My training has been seriously disrupted by another episode of the arthritis. It has affected my neck more than my knees, but nonetheless jogging even very short distances is painful. Training for a HM is impossible, so will defer my attempt to break 100min until the autumn. This leaves you with an unopposed opportunity to break 100 min before me. Much as I dislike losing a challenge, I will be wishing you well in the Canberra half.

10:00 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, good to hear from you. Sorry the arthritis has struck again. As it happens, I've decided to defer a fast HM attempt until later in the year - probably Melbourne again... so the sub-1:40 challenge is still on! Yes, the surface at Stromlo is beautiful and smooth and the hills gentle - nothing like the 'real' cross country of old courses like Bilga Bash, or the course they used in Poland for the World Championships. Many people do run barefoot - I have myself, but not recently.

8:50 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

Great race and report Ewen. Looks like you had the perfect racing strategy.

8:47 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Grellan - close to perfect on the day. Next time would try and make the 'run for home' a little earlier.

9:02 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Beautiful report. I liked to race against the usual other runners too because it was a race inside the race.

1:14 am  
Blogger Jason Montfort said...

Love it. It does feel good doesn't it?

1:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. Happy to hear your running is gradually coming good after those injury problems.

You bet Jason! Looking forward to reading about your battles in the upcoming games.

8:39 pm  
Blogger chris mcpeake said...

Awesome race and report!

4:41 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks for reading Chris. I see you're from Toronto - enjoyed my runs by the lake when we visited in 2011. And the Steam Whistle Brewery ;-)

10:56 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Soon you will be playing "catch up blogging" like Ruth and me. How has your running been going? What's your next goal event??

7:06 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Liz, yes I know! I have something I want to write about - hopefully I'll get onto it tomorrow. Running has been going well. Next goal event is the 'Asics 5k' (feature event of the Canberra Marathon weekend).

7:48 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Well done excellent result, sounds like a fun course! in a wonderful location. Sounds like you went hard at it, with a big finish... way to go!

2:27 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jonathon!

7:17 pm  

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