With recent beer/darts/snooker training, I went into this race with low expectations. It was again very cold (0.5 degrees), so a long warm-up was required (estimate 4kms), and then it was time to start racing. No obvious quicks at the start so decided to take it out hard, and see what happened.
The course itself was a belter. Mainly road but a couple of kms through a forest trail in the front half of the race. It didn't sound quick but after the first km was passed with me solo running in 3:06 I was starting to reassess. I was again following the lead car and I think it was just after 2km (3:17) that the terrain changed from road to forest trail. It was certainly tougher at this stage as although the trend was flat, it was rolling slight uphill/slight downhill. Me not like.
The third km passed in 3:00 (clearly a dodgy km marker) and I think it was around this point that I nearly got taken out by a couple walking their dog. I only lost a few seconds and that spurred me on. Already there was a decent gap behind me and with a 4th km of 3:48 I guessed that 6:48 for the last 2kms felt about right.
As we got back onto road I immediately felt more at home. I decided to focus on each km and try and keep them under 3:20. Before long it was halfway and the split showed a 3:17 making me 16:28 at halfway. So on track for a sub 33?
The road at this point had been resurfaced and it was also slightly downhill. I felt like I was running quickly but after a couple of minutes of this, there was a slight uphill followed by a sharp turn and this took the edge of the split of 3:17. It was now time for my usual soft-cock approach of saving myself for the last 3km so I cruised the 7th km in 3:25. Does anyone else do that?
I was thinking it would be nice to run the last 3km in under 10 minutes and that would give me a decent time. I was rewarded with a 3:16 through 8km so 26:26 with 2 to go and a great chance of a sub 33. At this point of the course it seemed to be more down than up and I started to feel really good - oh for this to happen more often. The 9th km was a 3:15 so I knew I would have to run a really quick last km for a shot at my PB...
It was one of those strange feelings where I was running at max leg speed and despite this my breathing felt totally in control. The last km was again slightly downhill and despite several twists and turns I was motoring. The last 100m was a little uphill and I kicked to cross the line in 32:44 (a 3:03 last km). A 5 second road PB.
You seldom get surprises in running but I am more than a little surprised by this. I'll certainly take it. Running in temperatures close to freezing isn't everyone's cup of tea but I think if you are going for a time, then for me it's worth at least 30 seconds over 10km compared to the heat and humidity of Sydney.
I finished up with a 3km warm-down running back up the course to watch the other runners coming in. My prize was another crystal vase - I now need to start buying the wife more flowers...
All up 76.9km for the week. A little better than last week.
A couple of photos. Got to love the fog: