I’m sure not many of you will argue with my header. Running really does provide a mixed bag of great moments and those that you’d rather forget. It’s a dual meaning as lately I have raced on more hills than usual and it has shown me up.
You see, I live right near Centennial Park and as such, my motivation to run on hilly car-clogged streets is surpassed by the ease and convenience of the park. But there are no real hills there. My 100km Nth Face race last year was done (just) thanks to Centennial Park. And more recently two races that were hilly – NSW state cross country and the City to Surf – also raced on mostly flat grassed training in the park. Not exactly ideal.
It’s great recovery and maintenance to take the stress off feet and joints by running on the flat grass but to race over tough, hilly terrain, you must experience it regularly. This weekend I will line up for the southern highlands 50km in yet another attempt to be selected for the world 100km champs later this year. This selection is now two years in the making and without a recent longer race under my belt, it comes down to this. But it has hills so who knows what will happen.
My brief training and race report of late is as follows:
Sun Aug 2nd: state short course cross country 7.5km at Rydalmere. Started moderate then shifted up a gear after 1km where I moved through to 9th only to lose a place with 500m to go up a hill to the ever strong hill climber, Andrew Tuckey. 10th place and a couple of nice scalps in the process (sorry Tom & Robin).
Tues Aug 5th: 5 x 1km session off 4min cycles. I ran these as hard as I had on the day and in hindsight it proved only to contribute to flattening my legs a bit for the weekend’s city to surf. My times were 2:51/56/59/58/58. I then came down with a slight cold to make matters worse.
Sun Aug 10th: my 29th City to Surf and the projection was a realistic stab at sub 46mins. My form suggested as much but again untested on a hilly fast race outside the 7.5km the previous weekend. After a great warmup and feeling pumped, we were directed to the start line 10mins before we usually line up and consequently I froze and it took until the 8km mark to feel even slightly comfortable. Sure the absolute sprint down William St didn’t help but I had nothing as a few familiar faces glided by at the 4-5km mark. I struggled up Heartbreak but then started to relax and by the 9km mark I was running stronger. Not quite strong enough to get into the top 30 but a satisfactory 32nd place in 46:34 which was 20secs slower than last year.
Sat Aug 16th: in my attempt to gain selection into the 100km team, I have been asked to prove my long distance endurance. So I headed out into my familiar park and ran 12 laps of the 3.54km white fence. Feeling comfortable the whole way, I managed a 2:48 marathon thus boosting my confidence as I approach the Melbourne marathon and hopefully 100km in Qatar.
Sun Aug 17th: a good 15km run to back up after the marathon training run.
Sat Aug 23rd: 34km with a faster finish – averaging 4:15’s for the whole way
Sun Aug 24th: 20km easy
I look forward to the 50km this Sunday and beyond.