Sunday, August 04, 2013

A surprisingly good race

I had a good race yesterday — the Dunrossil Drive 4.2k cross country event (one of the rare local courses which dates back to the '80s). On a sunny day (cool headwind for the 200 metres prior to the far turn), I finished 16th in 18:48. That's an average of 4:29 per kilometre for a course that has its fair share of soft going, exposed tree roots, turns and undulations. There were 31 finishers.

I wore the Saucony Kinvaras for this race and was pretty psyched up to run hard after a poor result last Saturday (49:53 for 10k on a flat road course). My warm-up was a 2k jog followed by a good number of strides on the gentle grass downhill near the start. After 300 metres or so I found myself in a group of runners I knew well: Hugh (48 sec 400m in the day, fast finisher!), Charlie (first 30 Canberra Times 10k races under 40 minutes), Brian (barefoot runner and 75-minute half in the old days), Jim (broke 40 for 10k once) and Thommo (closing in on 20 for 5k as a 50-54 runner). Robbie was about 40 metres ahead of our group.

Jim was setting the pace down the first hill and it took a while before Brian and I drew abreast. Thommo pushed on and made a gap of 10 metres,  then Brian loosely covered this move. I followed these two around the far turn near the Governor General's front gate. On the run back up to the hill I caught Brian and ran with him as Thommo pulled us both towards Robbie. Soon after, Brian dropped off my shoulder — I could see Thommo was gaining on Robbie, so I tried to keep the ocky-strap from stretching too far. Just prior to the half-way turn we passed Robbie. For the second half of the race I ran hard, in fear of being caught by Brian or Charlie. I knew I was slowing as Thommo gradually pulled away (my lap splits were 9:18 and 9:30). He finished 13 seconds ahead.

Although it was a cross country race, I think this course relates well to a flat 5k. Back in 1989 I ran 15:05 as a 32-year-old and was racing track 5000s in just under 18 minutes. Adding 18-19% to a Dunrossil Drive time would appear to show 5k flat potential. If so, I'm pretty happy to be in 22:11 to 22:22 form for 5k right now. The MAF training is working. One rather sad thing about yesterday's race was how few runners were competing in what was once a premier event on the calendar. In 1989 I was 63rd in a field of 195. Where are all the runners these days?

Dunrossil Drive cross country starts near the 'green balloon' and runs on the southern side of the drive towards the Governor General's residence. Two laps. Scrivener Dam and the National Arboretum in the background.

23 Comments:

Blogger Janene said...

Sounds like you are running well! Good job. You should run well at track, although it's going to be an interrupted season with the AIS getting resurfaced. But won't a new track surface be wonderful!!?

No shortage of runners at the parkrun events, so that's probably where lots of them are!

6:15 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Solid result, bodes well for the next race.

We don't have that problem of dwindling numbers. What you need is a major recession that drives people out of the gym and onto the road.

8:15 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Janene. Funny, but I didn't know I was running well until yesterday. Yes - looking forward to the new surface, but I wish they'd use the original (distance runner friendly) Rekortan rather than the harder Mondo. The Parkruns have introduced a lot of novices to racing - with a bit of luck some of them will try YCRC and track racing events and see how enjoyable they are.

I think you're right Thomas! Gyms, Boot Camps, Triathlons (which all cost a heap) are popular here. We're too well off!

8:42 pm  
OpenID canute1 said...

Well done. A credit to both MAF training and good racing tactics.

9:08 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Good race! And yes, 31 is a bit...well, I don't want to say pathetic....
We had 62 for our club 5,000m time trial last wednesday.

9:27 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thank you Canute. Now I just need to reproduce that form in October for our 1:40 HM challenge.

Don't make me jealous Bob, or I may move to Japan.

9:36 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

Very solid race Ewen. Your MAF training is certainly producing the goods. You should expect an even better showing in the HM, given that it is closer to the endurance/aerobic end of the spectrum.

12:31 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Grellan. Yes, hope the half form comes along similarly. Think I need to extend the long-run distance to 20-25k from the 15-16 I've been doing recently.

4:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great race report & it must be even more fun when you know the competition!
Not many weeks until your Oct HM, my countdown is 6 weeks (I think?) until Blackmores HM. I'd love to run 1:40 but haven't many LSR in the bank so will be happy to finish in one piece. I'll be keenly watching your training ...
Good luck for this week - C2S here we come!

Fiona

10:06 pm  
Blogger Jaymee said...

Well done, Ewen! Glad to see you had a good race. The comment about the race being poorly attended by faster runners is one that I hear echoed here in the states as well for many races. For us, without prize money or some sort of title on the line, the race dwindles to nothing. More and more, the competitive races are being replaced with ones where you have to crawl through mud or get covered in pink powdery glitter for a premium price. I don't get it.

10:48 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Fiona. Yeah, competitive racing is fun - more so than racing 'for a time'. I'm going to enter Blackmores as a tune-up race for Melbourne. See you on the weekend at C2S (if I can find you amongst the 80,000)!

Thanks Jaymee - those type of events are popular here too. I don't see the fun in getting covered in mud, ruining a pair of shoes and paying through the nose for the privilege. Traditional cross country/road racing is popular in some locations down here. For instance, the recent Aths Vic Melbourne 10k had 350 runners finish under 40 minutes.

3:52 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Great to see you running well and enjoying your races.
How many miles a week are you running a week now and how does that compare to when you were 32 years old ?

6:36 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Good race Ewen! Well done. Whether it's a result of some training formula you are using at the moment or "all the planets aligning" you ran well last w'end.

Goodluck in C2S.

Are you doing the Vets 1/2 marathon as well?

8:17 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Rick, since coming back from the arm problem, about 40 miles a week (65k). When I was 32, about 50 to 60 miles (80 to 100k average). But I was faster then, so time spent running isn't much less. Back then I could jog 13-14k in an hour, now it's about 10k.

Liz, I think it's a combo of the MAF training and planets aligning (which I wish they'd do more often!). No, won't do the Vets Half - think I'll do the trail half in Wagga as a training run.

8:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Sunday if a sweaty girl wearing a pink top runs up & gives you a hug & a kiss on the cheek it will most likely be me ;-)
Hope to see you at C2S or if not definitely at Blackmores!

Fiona

9:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Fiona, I'll be the sweaty one. You'll be bone dry by the time I get in. Thanks for the warning ;-) Definitely Blackmores if I miss you amongst the 80,000.

3:43 pm  
Blogger Run, Karla, Run! said...

Congrats on a great race! Isn't it refreshing when a new training plan really works for you? Looks like a beautiful course too.

6:54 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Karla. Yes, I'm really happy that it's working. It's a beautiful avenue of shady trees - lovely place to run in summer.

8:57 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Very cool to see you running well! :)

12:18 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize. Hope it's not long before you're doing the same. Or at least running pain-free.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

A very good race with a fast pace. Congrats.
Only 31 participants? Not easy to race when the pack is so small.

11:46 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Hey .... nice run in the Wagga 1/2 marathon :) Tough but scenic course. Were you happy with how it went for you? And what's next??

6:32 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Liz. The distance had me worried, as my long runs have been 15k or so and flat. Really loved the course. Took the first 9k pretty easy. Next is Sydney Half as a training run, then the Melbourne Half as a goal race.

8:17 pm  

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