I raced in the ACT Vets' 5000m Championship last night — it was one of those awful races where the wheels fall off very early. After passing 1k in 4:31 (way behind Kathy, Roger and Geoff), I realised the pace would have to slow dramatically if I were to keep running. I was tired and feeling off-colour. I dragged myself to the finish at a much reduced pace, placing 20th in 23:57.17 — well off my goal of 22 minutes. This was disappointing as last Saturday morning I'd run a PB for the Tuggeranong 5k Parkrun.
I was quite excited after Saturday's Parkrun — not only had I run a Parkrun PB, but the racing itself was fun. I was psyched up to run quickly and positioned myself closer to the front row of the corral, losing only 2 seconds before crossing the start. There was the usual chaotic shuffling of bodies after the start, then I settled into a nice smooth pace, passing my mate Jim unusually early — near the rowing pontoon at 600 metres or so. Just beyond the 1k mark Adam drew up beside me, saying "We're on!" which I knew to mean 'on for a sub-23', Adam's PB goal. I followed Adam over the footbridge, around the ess-bends and under the road bridge, drawing beside him up the little incline before 2k. I was feeling good! Caught up and overtook Sophie before the U-turn and was surprised to see Adam just a few metres behind. He pushed ahead on the return journey but I was able to draw alongside on the little downhill to the 4k marker. This was where I began my 'run for the finish', passing (and keeping pace with) some younger men and women. Over the little hill into the park I sprinted for the finish — 22:38! Yes! Very happy with the time and the race. Average heart rate had been 145 and splits: 4:37, 4:33, 4:32, 4:33 and 4:34. Adam ran well for a PB of 22:50.
That afternoon I rode the mountain bike in my first ever cyclo-cross race. What fun! The course was bone-dry and dusty, unlike European cyclo-cross races which often traverse stretches of thick mud or slushy snow and ice. This course had many sharp turns, made slippery by leaf and bark litter and four areas where jumping off and carrying your bike was needed. Three of these were over low hurdles, about 30cm high and one was a very steep off-camber U-turn (which some skilful cyclists were able to ride). As a beginner, I was in the C-Grade race along with other novices and slower riders. I think there were 11 or 12 riders in our race. The race was '20 minutes plus one lap' — quite short, so no surprise the start was fast. I was left in a cloud of dust and only had one rider behind me at the first set of hurdles. After that I made up time on the turns and 'off bike' sections, passing riders and eventually having a good race with the lady who came 2nd and another old bloke. The bell was a little soon for me (being more of an endurance rider) but I managed to pass the lady and old bloke on the last lap. I know there were five riders behind me so maybe I was 6th or 7th. Anyway, it was great fun and a sport I'm keen to try again.