Monday, March 10

The hard way

On the heels of two incomparable months, I awoke Sunday morning wishing I hadn’t had that last scotch but with three (relatively) clear goals in mind, 1) to run the Bazan Bay 5k as fast as I could, 2) to better my 11-year PB and 3) to sneak, slide or fight my way under 17:00.

Despite losing an hour of sleep having moved the clocks forward to oblige daylight savings time, we arrived in Sidney with more than enough time to accommodate my usual pre-race routine. After collecting my race number and receiving a good luck kiss from Ally, I headed out onto the quite rural streets to warm up. I felt like a heavy footed, lead-legged lopper; I was doomed. My feeling of unease wasn’t at all helped by a level of pre-race nerves and anxiety that hasn’t been seen years. So, with Bob Reid giving the 800 strong participants a five-second count down, I wasn’t at all surprised to find my first steps feeling very flat.

1k (3:09) – I’d decided to aim for 16:40 which meant running 3:20 kilometers. With high-strung nerves accompanying a slightly downhill start, I wasn’t too surprised to split the first marker a tad fast.

2k (3:23) – the sardine-like crowds at the start had strung out at this point and I settled in behind a group of five runners, desperately trying to will some energy into my legs. I remember asking myself if I could give more and hearing a resounding “no”.

3k (3:30) – the unwelcome combination of me not focusing and a 180 degree turn might help account for the less than stellar kilometer. That said, the games started to unfold here as Rob, Hugh and a few others began jostling for position. I was frantically trying to keep my form but with a mile left my head snapped back and I recognized the desperate nature of my run, me succumbing to the rhythmic gasping of an all out effort.

4k (3:23) – from a depth unknown, I began to reel in a few sorry souls in. I strangely started to feel comfortable (more relaxed) at this stage of the race. During the warm up I’d jogged out along the finishing stretch and took notice of a particular tree that lined the road with about 400m left. Approaching this tree from the correct direction this time, I unleashed the hounds only to find that they’d already escaped. Rather than delivering a devastating kick, I could only maintain.

5k (3:24) – success! Ally came to congratulate me after crossing the line, smiling as she relayed a conversation from a mutual friend as I approached the finish, “oh, he really doesn’t look well”. Results can be found here.


Training:

Thursday: easy 45:12
Friday: easy 20:58 with 5xstrides (1’)
Saturday: easy 19:45
Sunday: 1:07:12 Bazan Bay 5k (16:51)

11 comments:

Love2Run said...

Wow, a 10 year PR! Not so bad for somebody not feeling so well at the start. Race day nerves do play a role don't they? Nice job and a great read.

Jarhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jarhead said...

Great run, congrats!

Lawrence said...

Most excellent!

Chris said...

Sweet - you knew you could do it and knew you were going to do it, doing it was just a formality.

Nice run!

Brad Cunningham said...

good on ya, michael. a 5k PB never feels good. i'd say you charged through that 17 minute barrier. 16:30 look out!

Mike said...

Well done Michael. I think all race photography should be banned during the last kilometer of a 5K. It's just too gruesome if you're giving it your all.

Glad to see things going well.

Cliff said...

Sometimes the best run is to run ugly :)

Congrats on the PR

Thomas said...

Impressive. Age old PRs are usually here to stay, but you managed it. Congratulations!

Grellan said...

Great race Michael and excellent PB. It's great to smast a PB that has stood the trest of time.

The nervous energy before the race is all part of the process. With 5ks you need to be psyched up from the start.

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