Sunday, December 16, 2007

One Fine Day

I have an optimistic attitude to life and running. It takes just one good thing to raise my enthusiasm to a new level. The 5k race at Stromlo was a better-than-good thing! It almost surpassed Mum's trifle! The coming months hold promise of further exciting (and fast) races.

Most runners would be about to review the past year. I'll do that in my training diary when the time comes. In Australia, running for many of us is seasonal. In winter we race cross country and road events, while in summer we compete on the track. The track season runs from October through to March, so at the moment, we're mid-season.

Due to a bout of flu in late October, I've so far only raced twice on the track - the 10,000 metres, and last Thursday, a 3,000 metre event. I ran 12:15.43 for the 3k, so a very encouraging result in my quest to get into the mid-elevens by season's end. Because of tiredness, I wasn't looking forward to the race, but it turned out quite well. With Hadd-training I've done almost no running at this speed (4:05/km), so perhaps it really is possible that training slower will make me faster! I just ran as hard as I could for as long as I could. It ended up being my fastest 3000 metre race since 2003, when I ran 12:02.7. In 2001 I ran 11:21, so this will be my optimistic target for the rest of the season.

I hope everyone's had a great year in matters running and otherwise. If not, try to look forward with optimism! If you get a chance, pop over and wish Scott the best for his marathon in Kakogawa. To my running friends who are injured, all the best – I hope to see you on the trails and track soon!

A small group on December 15 - where was everyone!About 4.5k into the Molonglo group's Saturday morning long run. Nadine, Brett, Barbara, Steve and myself pose while Chris takes a phone photo.

I often walk on this hill to smell the eucalyptus leavesOn the climb up to the Mount Ainslie saddle, Steve leads the way. This idyllic place for running is less than 5 kilometres from downtown Canberra.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Almost as good as it gets

Un-bloody-believable! How did I do that? On Tuesday afternoon I raced in the Cross Country Club's 5k event at Stromlo Forest Park. 20:54! I'm still somewhat stunned. Unfortunately the course is a little short (about 80 metres); but it's not exactly flat, and it's grass – lovely manicured grass. I ran barefoot. What I'm excited about is how good I felt. I was racing people I usually only see on the starting line, and ran the second lap 5 seconds faster than the first. I finished ahead of my long-time rival Jim W (we were both equally surprised) – the first time this has happened since 2004. We had a short conversation as I overtook him on the second lap: "What are you doing here?", he said. "I don't know!"

Some months ago when I first said I was going to experiment with Hadd-training, Steve enthused that I'd had an epiphany. Well, not exactly. I just wanted to try something different. My race on Tuesday however, was something close to epiphanic. To run that fast, and not feel under stress at any time, was almost surreal. Thankyou John Hadd. I'm now keen to continue with the experiment.

Last night I raced in the postponed track 10,000 metres. In contrast to Tuesday's 5k, this was hard work, and I have to admit, 44:54.57 was a little disappointing. A positive split this time, with 5000s of 22:08 and 22:47. Fastest kilometre was the second (4:17) and slowest, an Allrounder-like 9th (4:39). I'll put it down to the race being preceded by a 10-hour working day. As Forrest Gump once said, "It happens. Sometimes". Bring on the second half of the track season so I can show friends like Anonymous that I haven't had it!

Susan, Deek and me by JHSome say this is my best side (yellow singlet). In the first race at Stromlo on 18 November I was much slower, 22:25. Here I'm about to be overtaken by jogging Olympians Susan Hobson, Rob de Castella and friends.