I'd been looking forward to the Canberra Half Marathon Eve 5k as an
event I'd try to peak for and run as fast as possible. My expectations
crashed on the Monday prior to the Saturday, 23 May race date. I was
warming up for a Speedygeese
session at Parliament House when I tripped
on the most minuscule step from grass to a concrete path. Down I went,
landing heavily on my left hip and knee (but being aware enough to keep
my Garmin hand from smashing into the ground).
No running for two days (stiff and sore) then still bothered during a
treadmill run on the Thursday. My confidence was shot well before
jogging a short warm-up on Saturday afternoon. I started next to Brian
Wenn, a rival of mine who has always been very hard to beat. When I was
in my twenties it was virtually impossible — Brian was a
sub-35 10k runner when I was running 37 minutes. As we aged, the
performance gap narrowed (helped by Brian's injury-prone stop/start
training leading to him spending more time on the golf course and less
on the running tracks and trails). Brian is 66, so more experienced than
myself to the tune of eight years. Is that why he's so good? His recent
form was a little intimidating — 22:14 for the Stromlo 5k in
We raced off, together for the first 400 metres, in (distant) pursuit of
the fast starting Jim (who would split 4:17 for the first kilometre).
Brian gradually edged ahead, metre by metre. I was running ragged,
feeling close to my limit. After 1k I found myself closing on a couple
of kids and Jim. Woohoo, he's slowing! But not Brian!
The third k up the
little hill past the Yacht Club was my slowest, but I was now holding
the gap to Brian. On the return journey there was nothing I could do to
close in, even though I passed a slowing young boy. This race is hard!
Even though I was unaware of time splits, I felt we were running quickly
— faster than the "I'll be happy with 23"
Brian declared on the start line. The last k was a slog but I still
'sprinted' the grass finish straight. 29th place (out of 56 finishers)
and 22:55, with Brian running 22:46. Another 'loss', but it had been
good fun. Love racing!
Afterwards, the Garmin showed my splits: 4:32, 4:34, 4:49, 4:34 and
4:24. It had been a lovely warm, late autumn afternoon race (more to my
liking than the freezing Parkrun early morning starts). A week later, my
hip and knee are feeling normal and I'm looking forward to more battles
with Brian — hoping we can both edge down to a sub-22 5k.