Saturday, November 27, 2021

Finally, we're back racing again!

Hopefully for good! Various states of Australia were in Covid-19 lockdown in the middle of the year, which meant it was impossible to plan with certainty for running in 'big' fun runs. At the beginning of August the ACT also went into lockdown (getting around 20-40 cases per day) for three months. In the early stages we were able to exercise with one other person for 60 minutes per day and had to wear masks outdoors. Gradually restrictions were eased and in early November smaller local races resumed with parkrun commencing on 13 November.

I've enjoyed this freedom, racing twice per week. On Tuesday evenings in the Canberra Runners 'Spring Series' and on Fridays at lunch time in the Customs Joggers 5k Handicap run. The other days of the week are easy 'MAF' effort runs or Easy Interval Method runs for around 70 kilometres per week. My fitness is slowly improving.

The 'Spring Series' races have been particularly enjoyable (this event has been held continuously since the late 1980s). I've varied my participation between the 5k and 2k races. The short race is quite challenging as the fields mostly contain younger fast-starting children and slower 'broken down' masters. The 5k Barrenjoey cross country race was sandwiched between two 2k road races. In both the 2k races I battled to catch youngsters, ran with them for a brief time, before finishing with a sprint. Good fun! My times were pleasing, a 9:47 and a 9:40. In the 5k race I started conservatively, catching my rival Jim at the end of the first of 3 laps. I then chased a few other runners (feeling like 5k was a long way), finally placing 32nd from 44 in a time of 26:17. The variety of participants evident in that the winning time was 16:49, first female 21:20 in 14th, last place 34:19, with runners aged 10 to 71 taking part.

This will be my last post for the year, so all the best to readers for the season, holidays and 2022.

Runners in the Black Mountain Peninsula 'Spring Series' 5k

Lush grass showing the wet and cool weather we've been experiencing

Monday, May 10, 2021

Canberra Marathon Festival 5.45k Fun Run

This race was held on 11 April and to fit the course in with the half marathon and 10k events we raced over 5.45 kilometres. It was sure to be a PB as I've never raced that distance before! There were large fields for all events, these being the first 'mass start' races since Covid-19 restrictions started in March last year. There were 702 runners in the 5.45k race.

My start position was good, about 10 metres back from the line. After the initial rush I settled in behind my rival Jim, following him around the first bend before easing ahead. I was more or less maintaining position on the gradual climb up to Parliament House (first kilometre in 5:26). Around the back of PH I passed a few of the fast starters and was feeling fairly comfortable with the pace. The second km (a bit of up, then flat) took 5:20 then we enjoyed the downhill from the other side of Parliament House — 5:06 for that split. There was plenty of space to run now as we headed towards Lake Burley Griffin. I was sticking with the nearby runners pretty well and feeling good. The next two kilometres passed in 5:01 and 5:13, then 2:13 for the 450m to the finish.

I was pleased with the result, 65th place and 1st in the M60-69 group, and how I felt during the race. Average pace was 5:12 per km, so a better result than the 26:04 track 5000m, considering the hill early in the course. I'm looking forward to the Autumn/Winter races with their typically calm and sunny conditions.

Races are back! With Jim (red singlet) for the Sri Chinmoy Cooleman Clip 5k trail race.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A 5000 metre race on the track

I have a soft spot for the track 5k — 100% accurate course, 100% flat, not having to deal with the crush of 300 people at a parkrun. On Thursday evening, 11 March, I raced in the ACT Masters' 5000m Championship race at Woden Field. The conditions were good for fast times, calm and around 17 degrees. I was hoping to run '25-something' as a stepping stone towards breaking 25 later this year.

With a field of just eighteen, I was able to start with my toe behind the curved start line, so no metres lost at all! At the gun, I settled in with Angel, Sue and Roger, Jim ahead and intent on also running "a 25" having been in the 26s at 5k parkruns. We were right behind Jim through the first 1000, 5:03 the split so perfect pacing. Jim started slowing after another two laps so Roger, Sue and myself went past, my watch showing 10:10 through 2k. I was finding the going tough, Roger forged ahead with Sue also stretching out 3 or 4 metres. I passed the 3k mark in 15:23, so 5:13 for that kilometre, not good! Roger was gone but I managed to hold the gap to Sue at around 10 metres. The fourth kilometre was covered in 5:20, slowing further! I rallied in the last lap, catching and passing Sue to finish 14th in 26:04.67. Roger ran a great race to run 25:14. At the pointy end, an excellent run by Bruce Graham (16:59.93 at age 59!) from Jacob (17:06) and Alistair (17:39).

For myself, it was a somewhat disappointing result — under 25 is still over a minute away. My recent form is showing improvement though which gives me confidence a '25-something' will be run soon. The photo below was taken at the Coombs parkrun last Saturday, demonstrating good running form, both feet in the air at the same time!

You are not walking if both feet are in the air

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The RunACT Stromlo 5k Road Race

It's been a while! There wasn't much to report during the final two months of 2020. I was happy to be able to run consistently throughout the year, averaging 49 kilometres per week. My goal for the year was to break 25 minutes in a 5k race, so a fail there — my fastest 5k was back in July, 25:38 for the Runners Shop race.

For 2021 my goal remains the same, under 25 minutes for a 5k race. In my current form, that seems quite a difficult goal! The first test was at the RunACT Stromlo 5k Road Race, held last Saturday evening. The course was 5 laps of a 'AA-Certified' accurate 1k loop on the smooth bitumen of the criterium circuit. It was a relatively flat course, just a short rise into the U-turn at the northern end of the course.

I started out at what I estimated was 5-minute per km pace — my 'opposition' (Jimmy and Zoe), not far ahead. My first lap, in retrospect, was too fast for my fitness level, 4:57. I was already slowing, but still going fast enough to pass Jim and gradually catch Zoe. I moved ahead going into the third lap (5:09 for the second) but it was feeling hard already, far too early! There were around 65 runners in the race and there were a couple I slowly pulled in during the third lap (5:19). For the last two laps I tried to maintain pace but was getting slower, eventually crossing the line in 52nd (5:29 and 5:20) for a time of 26:14. A long way from 25 minutes, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of chipping away at that time during the course of 2021. I hope you are all well, and looking forward to more running events than were available last year.

Start of the Community 5k race at Stromlo, myself in yellow, Jim in blue singlet