In Saturday's Tuggeranong Parkrun 5k I placed 49th with a time of 23:32. I was happy with my race and the time, even though it was only 9 seconds faster than my best 5k time for the year. During the run I felt like I was moving well and I finished strongly (apart from the final 200 metres where Judy and Amy flew by in a blur). This week I backed off the mileage with the purpose of having a 'recovery' week, running 66 km instead of my usual 90 or thereabouts. During an easy 7k lunchtime run on Friday my legs felt tired and ordinary so I was lacking excited anticipation for Saturday morning's race. I hoped to at least have a good tempo run as I completed an exceedingly short (1 km) warm-up, not even bothering to run some strides.
I started about 5 rows back in the chute and my Garmin showed 3s to reach the start line. Being a long weekend in Canberra, numbers were down and I wasn't impeded at all by fast starting runners who slow down after 200 metres of furious sprinting. I overtook Jimmy unusually early (well before 500m) and was running with Sophie through 1k (4:54). She then surged a bit and would end up running 22:55. Surprisingly, my legs were feeling quite good! I followed Judy (running with Amy) to the turn and on the way back, overtook them just before the 3k marker — 4:39 for the second km, 4:43 for the third. I was generally maintaining my position in the field or passing runners (always a good sign). Crossing the footbridge, I was closing on Geoff W (M65) and I covered the 4th km in 4:47. Thought I'd be safely under 24 minutes (yes, I glanced at the Garmin at 4k — something I rarely do) and ran hard past Maccas, overtaking Geoff. I was hurting in the last kilometre (my split would be 4:29) but still sprinted off the little hill into the parkland finish.
On the face of it, 23:32 is a long way off my year's goal of 22:45, but I think I can get there! Racing off to a slightly faster start, say 4:40 through 1 kilometre, would be worth 15 seconds. There's also a gain to be made by lengthening my 'old man's shuffle' stride by running more regular 'strides' sessions and perhaps introducing some controlled interval work into the mix. That's the plan. My only other problem at the moment (no injury niggles — yea!) is day-to-day recovery. Our long hot summer has been very unhelpful to recovery! With the change of seasons, that will improve.
14k with the Speedygeese Sunday long run group