A surprisingly good race
I wore the Saucony Kinvaras for this race and was pretty psyched up to run hard after a poor result last Saturday (49:53 for 10k on a flat road course). My warm-up was a 2k jog followed by a good number of strides on the gentle grass downhill near the start. After 300 metres or so I found myself in a group of runners I knew well: Hugh (48 sec 400m in the day, fast finisher!), Charlie (first 30 Canberra Times 10k races under 40 minutes), Brian (barefoot runner and 75-minute half in the old days), Jim (broke 40 for 10k once) and Thommo (closing in on 20 for 5k as a 50-54 runner). Robbie was about 40 metres ahead of our group.
Jim was setting the pace down the first hill and it took a while before Brian and I drew abreast. Thommo pushed on and made a gap of 10 metres, then Brian loosely covered this move. I followed these two around the far turn near the Governor General's front gate. On the run back up to the hill I caught Brian and ran with him as Thommo pulled us both towards Robbie. Soon after, Brian dropped off my shoulder — I could see Thommo was gaining on Robbie, so I tried to keep the ocky-strap from stretching too far. Just prior to the half-way turn we passed Robbie. For the second half of the race I ran hard, in fear of being caught by Brian or Charlie. I knew I was slowing as Thommo gradually pulled away (my lap splits were 9:18 and 9:30). He finished 13 seconds ahead.
Although it was a cross country race, I think this course relates well to a flat 5k. Back in 1989 I ran 15:05 as a 32-year-old and was racing track 5000s in just under 18 minutes. Adding 18-19% to a Dunrossil Drive time would appear to show 5k flat potential. If so, I'm pretty happy to be in 22:11 to 22:22 form for 5k right now. The MAF training is working. One rather sad thing about yesterday's race was how few runners were competing in what was once a premier event on the calendar. In 1989 I was 63rd in a field of 195. Where are all the runners these days?