Sunday, November 20, 2016

Feeling fast at the Fisher's Ghost 5k

Last Sunday (13 November) I was up at well before the crack of dawn, leaving Jim's place at 4.30 AM for the drive to Campbelltown for the Fisher's Ghost Fun Run. This is a very well organised and enjoyable event held on roads within the campus of Western Sydney University. I ran the 10k in 2015 at tempo effort (53:40) but this year decided to race the 5k.

The course is on rolling hills — thankfully only one lap of them for the 5k! It's a tough course, definitely not one for PBs, but good for racing. My goal was to run as fast as possible and finish ahead of Jim! Both races started together and we were positioned about 20 metres back from the front amongst 710 runners and walkers (446 in the 5k and 264 in the 10k). Jim must have run to the inside of the first corner as I lost sight of him. I thought I was comfortably in front. Then at the top of the first climb at 1k I caught sight of him about 50 metres ahead. Sneaky bastard!

I opened up my stride down the hill and drew beside Jim before we commenced the next climb. Without changing my effort I edged ahead and then ran with the fear of the pursued. I breathed a sigh of relief on the out/back section of the course when I saw that I had a significant lead. By this time I was running mostly with youngsters and had a good race over the last 1500m with the girl who finished 3rd in the F10-11 category. She was running with and being encouraged by her father, so that's my excuse when she beat me by 2 seconds in a sprint finish. My chip time was 24:23, with Jim coming home in 26:19. I was happy with the time as Jim reckoned the hills were worth a minute over a regular flat Parkrun 5k.

We waited at the presentations with Norma, who had run the amazing time of 37:24 at the age of 87! Jim placed 2nd in the 60-69s and I was 3rd in the 50-59s so it had been a successful and happy morning for all. My takeaway from the race is that the higher volume training is paying off already. We'll see where my 5k time is in a month or so but I'm pretty sure it will be faster, so that's exciting.

Winners are grinners at the Fisher's Ghost Fun Run
Norma wins the 70+ category at the age of 87!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Finally, signs of running well again

I raced the Melbourne 10k back on 16 October, enjoying the weekend and catching up with Jo and Stu on race day. My finish time of 52:27 wasn't what I was hoping for when I entered the race in early August. I thought I'd break 50 minutes. Last year I ran 47:39. I was happy with how I raced, feeling strong (if not fast) until the bridge two kilometres out from the MCG finish.

I've been steadily building my mileage and Melbourne was in the midst of that so I may have been a little tired. For myself, I think having a good base of running mileage is important if I want to race well. I've backed off the cycling mileage to 'enjoyment' level — raced the E-Grade Vets' Stromlo Criterium last Tuesday and was dropped from the group early in the 25-minute race. My cycling muscles aren't what they were last year! My running mileage has been 70 kilometres per week for the past month and I can see that rising to 80 or so before holding that level for a while.

I had a very happy Parkrun last Saturday, finally breaking 25 minutes for 5k. 24:38 to be exact — Woohoo! Ran even splits on a calm, cool morning — 5:00, 4:52, 4:55, 4:56, 4:55. Finished 11 seconds behind my rival Jim (who is running well again). This was my fastest 5k race since 23 January when I ran 24:36 for the Bowral Parkrun, which is a harder course than Tuggers. On 9 January I ran 24:01 at Tuggeranong, interestingly at exactly the same 143 average heart rate as Saturday. I'm not quite as fit as I was before the illness and injury problems that have dogged the middle months of the year, but I'm close. Bring on the summer months of racing!

Caught up with Jo and Stu (taking the photo) before the start