Tag Archives: 10km

Eltham Fun Run 2018 10km: Race Report

The Eltham Fun Run teamed up with the Pat Cronin Foundation to combine health and fitness with a very important cause.

Head over to the Pat Cronin Foundation and to help Stop The Coward’s Punch.

You can train all you like, but it takes a race to show up your weaknesses. The Eltham Fun Run did that for me.

Joining a few friends from work we made an event out o this event. We even managed not to talk shop the whole time.

 

Melbourne Weather

 

 

A massive crack of thunder shook the house. Not sure what time it was, but it was dark. The rain was torrential. I wondered if this would race weather.

 

My alarm woke me. I must’ve crashed back to sleep and skipped time. It was till pouring rain, but no thunder. Could be a wet run. Because this race was local to me it felt like a late start. A few minutes up the road is very different to an 1 or 2 hour drive.

 

At registration the rain cleared up and some blue started to poke through the clouds. Maybe it was going to be good conditions. Out for a relaxed warm up and the blue sky spread. Conditions were going to good. A little windy, but the sun was now winning.

 

Time went quickly as I talked rubbish with friends from work. Soon enough it was time to start.

 

Out under the starting arch the trail was narrow. It looked like there were over 200 people and I was skeptical about how we would fit.

 

 

Hills Of Eltham

 

 

3, 2, 1… and the starting bell was rung.

 

Self seeding seemed to work. There was no issue with space as we headed. We spread out in a long line. Starting to clump up as more distinct groups after the first 200m. I was out of the top 10, but everyone was in view.

 

Thoughts of tactics and what ifs cascaded through my head. I didn’t know what shape I was in. Changing up training meant I wasn’t sure how my body was going to respond. No pointed thinking too much. I decided I’d be better served by just running.

 

Latching onto a pace that felt about right I moved up a handful of places over the next kilometre. I was feeling good. This course is one of the hilliest 10km races around Melbourne. As a result I refrained from checking my paces. Instead the focus went towards technique.

 

First climb pointed out I’m nowhere close to where I want to be running uphill. I’m still running up like an ultra marathon runner and not like someone trying to be fast over 10km. Forcing the technique got me somewhere close how I want to run up hill. Over the top I was sure there would be a cost to the effort.

 

No time to worry about that. It was now down hill time.

 

 

Down Hill Is More Fun

 

 

I love a smooth and steep down hill. Gravity becomes my friend. The first down hill lived up to expectations. I gained a few places as my effort level dropped back a little. Lean forward into a controlled fall.

 

About 3km covered and it was the next climb. Shorter than the first, but steeper. It was harder to make my legs do what I wanted. I was sucking air and couldn’t get enough. The burn tried to stop my legs. This was hurting, but I reminded myself it was meant to.

 

Down hill again. I don’t think I noticed much around me. The intensity of the last climb had created a fog through my mind. I pushed on but was already feeling too much grief in my legs for this early in the race.

 

Too Early For This

 

 

Through 5km and the return trip is more moderate terrain. Best described as undulating. My effort was up but already the power had been sucked from the legs. Maybe I was just out of practice. The elastic band to those in front had stretched out. Surely I could push faster.

 

So I did. I made those legs turn over a little quicker. Pushed down through ground to get the most out of each stride. It resulted in some faster running. It also leg to a deluge of acidosis in my legs after 6km.

 

I’d caught the group in front, but it was at a cost. Once with them the path turned upwards for a bit. I couldn’t stay with them. The gap stretched out and the elastic band broke.

 

Refusing to accept blowing up this early I tried to push the speed. Instead of going faster I just tightened up. The harder I pushed the slower I went. It was battle I wasn’t winning. I didn’t want to give in take it easier. That would leave regret.

 

How was I going to cover the last 3km as fast as I could?

 

10km fun run Eltham Fun Run 2018

 

Relax And Run Faster

 

 

Changing tact I focussed on relaxing. Keeping the legs loose. Aiming to be quick with the arms and knee lift. I was careful to avoid over striding and made sure I kept I high heel flick at the end of each stride.

 

The new approach gave my legs the variation they needed. My pace came up a little bit. It was definitely the faster way to get to the finish. No longer any idea what my placing was. I was now out by myself. Good sized gaps in front and behind me. This didn’t change until the finish.

 

Weaving around the last couple of bends the finish line came into view. For a small race the atmosphere at the finish was big. Crossing under the arch and everything hurt. The brought me across in 15th place in a time of 41:13. It’s my slowest at for this race, but it gives me true feedback where my fitness is truly at.

 

It’s not where I want it to be. That’s ok. The first step in getting there is to know where you are now.

 

 

10km Cross Country: Emergency Services Games 2018

Days like today are needed. Running provides more than just fitness and competition.

 

Motivation for running has been low this week. My mind has been on other concerns. Things I cannot control. Challenges and worry many of us face. A good run can help get those thoughts on track. The right kind of run can also remind you about great things in life. Today provided one of those runs.

 

Victoria Police & Emergency Services Games

 

Get Ready

 

My playlist spun out some tunes on the drive down. Gradually my mind absorbed the music and began to feel some relaxed readiness.

 

The race has such a low key feel. I arrived extra early as usual. This gave the opportunity to explore the top section of the course. The ground was so dry it was like concrete. A far cry from a muddy cross country. It would still provide it’s own challenges.

 

Eventually I started something resembling a run to warm up. It was probably the most easy going warm up I’ve ever done.

 

There was once a time when I hardly spoke to others before the race. It wasn’t deliberate. It was a byproduct of what I thought I had to do to become focussed. To reduce the nervous feeling. To be at my best. That has changed. I smiled to myself as I realised I was so comfortable socialising before race start.

 

 

Thinking

 

A bit of spraypaint between two witches hats marked the start. My foot pressed in on the dry grass behind the paint. I looked up at the small rise we were about to run over. Heard the call “On your marks…”

 

Pressed start on my watch.

 

“Go.”

 

That rise felt hard.

 

It shouldn’t feel hard. Why did it feel hard?

 

I’m in 4th place and the three in front look too comfortable. My mind flicks back through the previous week of running. At the start the of the week I procastinated and gave opportunity away to the unexpected. I missed some training. Delayed my key run. That key run went well. I nailed all the intervals. Now I’m thinking I did it too close to the race. The legs haven’t had time to recover.

 

Only 200m into the race. Why am I thinking all this? It certainly isn’t going to help.

 

Now heading down hill. I know I’m good at using gravity, but I’m not feeling the flow. Thinking is getting in the way.

 

Bringing my mind in on my breathing. The single point focus happened quickly. Using the mindfulness I’ve been practising do it’s thing. It was only four or five breaths and I broke the cascade of negative thoughts. It was a reset.

 

Thinking was overrrated. My body knew what to do. It had practiced it. Time to give it the freedom to get on with it.

 

 

Racing

 

The pace didn’t change. It didn’t feel so hard anymore. No clock watching. Instead I ran at what felt right. Comfortable in the uncomfortable.

 

Third place became my new position. The field spread out behind me, while the 2 up front still looked comfortable out there. Already 26 seconds ahead at the 2.5km turnaround. My mind was clear enough to allow some simple productive thought. I made to the decision to free myself from tactics. They were only going to get in the way. My best shot was to try to run the course as fast as possible. Basically continue doing what I was doing.

 

Just before 4km the hills start. Going up still isn’t my best point, but I have been working on it. I’ve improved my speed going up, but it now comes at a cost that I can’t pay back within a 10km race. So I approach the climb more like an ultra runner. Upping the cadence, keeping the stride relatively short and reducing the toe off I made my way up. My pace was a result of leg turnover and not from any power in my stride. It worked better than I anticipated. On this hill I moved up into 2nd place over all.

 

Briefly down, up again and down over the spray painted line. That’s the first 5km complete.

 

Repeat

 

A low grade burn was building throughout every part of my legs. The welcoming relief of dropping back into an easy jog touted a sales pitch. Luckily I was distracted with chasing down the remaining runner. Not that I closed down the gap since the turnaround. Let’s see what that gap is second time through.

 

My intensity was up. More effort was put into lowering my mental load. I lost myself for a moment in the irony of the concept. Which was also counterproductive. Breath in…

 

…breath out… back on track. Luckily my body was mostly on autopilot. It was doing what it was supposed despite my brain.

 

At the turnaround again.

 

No gain and no loss on 1st place.

 

A different runner was gunning for me from behind. He gave me the familiar competitive look. I love racing. This moment pushed the away my negative thinking. I was again back in the moment. Back to feeling the mix of intensity and movement.

 

Ambulance Vic Medals Cross Country Emergency Services Games 2018

 

Results

 

Along the path, back to the hills. My body didn’t slow. Running became physically harder. I was at the limit of my fitness. My lungs felt like they wanted to leap out of me to catch a break. The contents of my stomach considered following the lungs. It wasn’t enough to take the out right win. But it was more than enough for 2nd overall and 1st in my age group (40-44 male).

 

Flicking through my GPS data showed I managed to negative split the race. Gaining 1-3 seconds in achieving kilometre on the second lap. That’s something I don’t usually do in 10km.

 

This race more than just a simple cross country. It’s the people who make it.

 

Coburg Lake Classic 10km: Race Report 2018

Coburg Lake Classic 10k

The Coburg Lake Classic could well be Melbourne’s longest running fun run. The inaugural event was back in my birth year of 1977. I

didn’t run it then. A classic it is. In charge of the event are the Coburg Harriers. They focus on getting the basics right. No extras.

No fanfare. Just a friendly, relaxed and accurate race. I really love the old school style.

 

During the week I wondered if I should skip the race. I knew I wasn’t race fit. A combination of school holidays and some unexpected extra

work hours meant a lot of training was skipped. My long run earlier in the week was missed. I could justify not racing the 10km event

and just put in some longer and easier kilometres. It would also be pretty easy to write a blog post about the importance of not missing

the long run. But that would just be an excuse. The reality is I was scared of racing 10km.

 

I know I raced 5km a couple of weeks ago. To a degree I can fake a 5km. Doubling the distance will show up fitness gaps. It

could be better staying in ignorant bliss. I could skip the 10km and claim I’m an ultra runner. Sprinkle over a bit of acceptance

and go on about still coming back from injury. The truth is racing a 10km hurts and it can hurt a lot.

 

At times we are faced with a choice between what is easy and what will be best.

 

Don’t choose what is easy.

 

The not so easy option

On the morning I didn’t feel like was about to race. I didn’t have my usual buzz of anticipation.  Best to take a long gradual warm up. Working up from a ridiculously slow shuffle to a few run throughs at race pace eventually uncovered some of that buzz. We assembled in the club rooms for the briefing.

 

I was now ready to race.

 

Simplicity is my preferred option in race plans.  I haven’t trained at around 10km race pace. Best to avoid smashing my weakness and try to suck some advantage out of my endurance. The plan:

  • Go out conservative for a 10km.
  • Ignore the front runners. Today is not the day to try and stay out front.
  •  Keep that pace until 7km and try and pick up in the closing 3km.

 

That seemed doable when bounced around inside my head.

 

Time to Race

 

The opening kilometre is interesting. The 5km runners start about 200m ahead of the 10km. Despite the faster 10’ers passing the slower 5’ers  it works. The numbers are small enough. The path is wide enough. Plus the friendliness of this race shows up. No one is held up.

 

The course can be thought of as 2 main sections. First is a mildly undulating out and back covering 4km. The return takes you almost back to the start before turning into a different out of back of 6km with a good size hill in the middle. You get to hit the hill from both sides.

 

I keep my speed in check and feel I could hold it for the full distance. The legs are happy. I’m not breathing too hard. I trust my experience to know I am a bit above threshold. Hopefully I’ve picked the sweet spot.

 

Over the mild undulations of the 2km brings up the first turnaround. I find myself in 5th place. The front 3 are moving off ahead and I know they are likely to stay that way. I’m feeling pretty good at this point. Retracing my steps back over the 2km seemed ok. I didn’t feel as comfortable and my pace seemed a little erratic. Honestly, I just felt out of practice.

 

Onto the second section. Out by myself, 3rd place was well ahead of me. It was just myself against the course. A brief flat section and then into the first climb. I tried to make the hill feel good.  It didn’t work.

 

The down hill is usually my friend. Not for today. I felt like I was playing just behind the beat.

 

Part 2

 

Off the hill and it’s mostly flat with some very mild undulations to the turn around. Now past 5km I was struggling. My pace was lagging. I knew I was working hard, but it wasn’t hurting in the way a 10km should. It was more I lacked the strength to keep up my speed. My legs just seemed to be failing me. This was disappointing. It wasn’t part of my race plan. I was still meant to be running at my opening speed. Picking it up over the final 3km seemed unlikely.

 

The turnaround allowed me to check on the top 3 runners. First and second were challenging each and well in front of me. Third certainly had a clear gap on me. Just not as big as I thought it would be. Maybe I could catch him. It was a thought I made sure I grabbed hold of. Maybe I could get myself out of this slump. The idea was appealing. Make it more than just an idea.

 

Now I was hurting. Around the turnaround. Forcing the idea out of my head and into my legs. I managed to get my pace back up. There was plenty of space between those behind me, so no point looking back. Best to set my sites in front. Over the next kilometre I was able to keep up the speed. The lactic acid burn flooded through my legs. In a strange way I was enjoying the burn. It made me feel like I was truly racing again. My muscles didn’t enjoy it. They reminded me I wasn’t race fit. They struggled in the acidic environment and just wouldn’t fire properly. Running coordination seemed to dwindle quickly, and with it went any speed I’d been able to muster.

 

It wasn’t through a lack of trying, but the final 2km were relatively slow. I’m not so sure I could call it running. Was I getting any air time in my stride? Maybe I was just walking quickly. This took me back over the hill, which wasn’t pretty. Eventually back onto the athletics track and across the finish line. Still in 4th place, and a time of 41:52. Far from my faster 10km races and slower than predicted off my 5km race time. I learnt a lot this day.