My speed session today was to be a local race in Maree. An 8km that I managed to win last year and I decided to incorporate it into my long run to get two workouts rolled into one.
I arrived in good time to allow me time for a decent lap of the course as a warm-up. The conditions were splendid - nice and cool and no wind to speak of. This is a lovely part of the world and on the warm-up lap I had sufficient time to take in some of the fabulous views around Maree. I completed the 8km in 35 minutes exactly and then changed into my race gear and it was time for the off.
I got a decent start and there was a few young lads who sprinted off leaving us all to chase. The course has 3 decent hills. A long climb of about 500m as you approach the 2km marker, then hills after the 5km and 6km markers. You wouldn't call it super quick, but at the same time there are some lovely flat sections where you can tick along very nicely.
At about 500m I took the lead with a few runners hot on my heels. I wasn't looking at the watch but I took the time to record my splits at each of the km signs. At the start of the climb around 1.5km I knew that I had gapped the field and I pushed on up the hill. At the summit there is a welcome downhill stretch followed by a flat section that takes you out to the turnaround point at around 3.5km.
At this point I could see I had opened up a 50m lead and following the lead motorbike I had no issues running against the flow of runners coming the opposite direction. This flat section continues for about a km then it was time for a right turn to take you closer to the water for the trickier back half of the race. Through 5km and I still felt strong and shortly after it was time to take a left turn onto a much smaller road with a grass median strip.
Another climb of no more than 400m, then it flattened out again through to the next km marker. After 6km there was a shorter steeper climb, and I find this the toughest of the lot. But it was soon behind me and then it was a fairly flat run through to the finish. I tried to push the last km but despite feeling strong, I lacked some leg speed to really kick in a quick finish. That's to be expected when in marathon mode and I was very pleased to cross the finish line with a nice win to defend my title in a time of 26:22 (3:18/km pace). A bit slower than last year (19 secs) but that's explainable now that I'm an old codger.
I only have positive feedback about this race. The organisation was first class - very well marshaled and the signage was brilliant. Chip timed (the chip was in the race number - not sure if that was meant to be returned?) and the results were published within a few hours of the race being completed. A great prize as well thanks to the sponsors Amphibian King and Asics and I picked up a pair of racing flats (Asics DS racers). How good is that?
Then more running. Another lap of the course with Gerard, Paul and Paddy at a nice sedate pace. Still not content with that I then ran a further 5.2km with Paddy around the 5km course that I set my road 5km PB on back in July of last year.
All up 29.2kms for the day (total running time 2:03:32 at an average of 4:14/km).
That's 119.6kms for the week. I've just checked my training diary (read Excel spreadsheet) for the last 10 years and that's my biggest weekly distance ever! Okay not the huge distances that some people cover but I seem to be moving in the right direction.
Here are the splits:
Ps, just remembered - where is my bag of nose candy I was promised from last year?!?!