BEEEEP!!!!! My Garmin beeps. I struggle to hear it over the Foo Fighters pumping from my iPod. I feel the vibration up my arm I only have 1km to go....why did I think racing a 10k four days after an Ultra was a good idea....
Before I get to my race report from the Race for Ruan I'll explain what has transpired since the Ultra.
I have had a bit of a flat week. I was struck down with a cold, or "Man Flu" from Monday and was very tired and pretty sore. This was the first cold I have had since September so I have done pretty well considering all of the km's I have been running and my general reduction in overall sleep. In previous years I have normally been struck down with a cold either during taper weeks or the week following a marathon, plenty of science behind the reasons, but old school runners say it is a sign the body loves to run and not rest!
Also after reading Mats blog about going full on Vegan, I ate meat with every meal just to provide balance to the universe! I ate every meal like it was my last, lucky for me that my office is directly above the Kebab and Chinese takeaway shops at work. So I just ate what I felt like. It was pretty good to have a week off after being strict with the diet for the past few months.
I am pretty sure the full fat diet got me over my cold, well that's my justification, and by Thursday night I was starting to feel half normal again. I had a heap of extra sleep and skipped all of my recovery runs that I was planning on doing. Being sick forced me to rest, which was probably the best thing for me.
The last 2 years I have always missed out on running the Race for Ruan - not from being injured or anything, just from missing the race registration. The Gladstone Road Runners have the event capped at 350 runners so it fills up pretty quick and by the time I realise that it is on, the race is full! This year I got in early, and so had a nice low bib number - 19!
I roll out of bed early, its 3.50am I force myself to have something to eat and a coffee and drop through Gracemere to pick up Rodney and his neighbour Danielle who have also both registered for the 10k. The road to Gladstone is really busy with holiday makers (being Good Friday) and we pass a 3 car smash at Bajool - not good as someone is being loaded into the back of an ambulance.
We arrive at Gladstone and pick up our bibs and timing chips. There arent too many of the Rocky Road Runners here today, which is surprising as they have cleaned up the trophies in the past.
Michael is here - ready to rock and roll. It has been 12 months since we travelled to the Canberra Marathon together and our friendship has grown a lot since then. He is off to Canberra again next week he should finish top three here with a sub 40 min 10k.
The race precinct is nice and relaxed, the Gladstone Road Runners have a nice set up. I complete a couple of nervous trips to the toilet and have a gel about 30minutes before the race start. After a quick warm up, my legs feel really heavy, and it is obvious I havent fully recovered from the 50k on Sunday. I had hoped to run a faster 10k at this race, to get an idea of my progress and see where I am at. Today might not be that day though.
I spend a couple of minutes getting myself focussed. Be in the moment. Somehow I get Lightning McQueen in my head "Speed...I am SPEED"! Joel loves the Cars movie so that quote is really stuck in my head! Thinking of Sunday's dissapointment, I reasses my goal time from 45minutes to 47 minutes. I need to be realistic today. 47 minutes will still be a 10k PB time.
I plug the iPod in, turn the volume to a level that is a little above what is enjoyable and get ready to hurt for about 50 minutes. I haven't run a timed 10k race for 2 years, so I don't really have a race plan. As we gather on the start line, 30 Seconds from Mars "Closer to the Edge" is pumping through my ears - I can't hear the race instructions I just wait for Michael to start moving off the start line to know the race has started.....
Adrenaline is coming on, I run comfortably hard for the first km, BEEEEEP! 4.05 - WOW that was unexpected, my legs are feeling pretty good and I settle into a pace which I think I can hold for 10k. 2 runners come past, they are moving faster than I think I can hold so I just stick to doing my own thing.
Flo Rida "Good Feeling" comes on - the song tempo pushes me along and my pace is holding, my legs don't feel that bad - I am getting comfortable and we pass through the 2.5k aid station. As we start up a little sharp rise in the course, 2 runners come past. An older guy and the second placed female. I sit on her for about 500 meters but she is going to fast for me to hold.
As we head back through the 5km mark and the start/finish area to start our second lap, I realise I am on track to run very close to 45minutes if I can hold on. I do a quick check of my vitals...heart rate is good, legs feel good, breathing good, posture nice and tall, gait is strong, arms pumping. RIGHT this is it, 5km to go....time to see what this body can do.....
I am starting to hurt, I'm holding my pace and have bridged the gap with the second placed female in front of me. I see that she is looking behind to see where I am, on km seven I push on the 2 little hills, I push harder and really close the gap...we hit the aid station and start up the last hill. She really burns up the down hill - BEEEEP 2km to go......
I am really pumping now, I know I will be under 45minutes - I get a rush knowing that this will be a massive personal best for me...there is one last drink station with 1.5km to go, she passes around the corner in front of me, I know I have leg speed, if I can get close enough I can out sprint her.....
BEEEEEEP!!!!!!!! "The Pretender" is smashing my ears, Dave the lead singer from the Foo Fighters is screaming at me. I increase my pace I see her just ahead - I plan my attack, I decide to hold back and burn past with only 300m left, leaving her with no chance of a counter attack. BOOM! I just start sprinting, my Newton racers are a blur of fluro yellow as I quickly close the gap and fly past, she hadn't looked back for a couple of minutes and I catch her by surprise - I am really flying when I go past I use everything I have. My garmin is showing I am running at 3 minute pace, 200, 100, 50.....
I see the clock, I see it says 43.53, 43.54, 43.55 BOOM.
I am done.!
Officially I finish in 17th place, 13th in my age group with an offical time of 43.57. I am totally stunned and smashed. A massive personal best for me!
Michael finishes 3rd, 1st masters male 38.06, Rodney finishes 12th, 9th in our age group with 41.39 and Danielle also PBs with 51.44 11th in her age group.
On a weird note, the 2nd place female was in a negative mood at the end. I shook her hand and thanked her for pushing me to a new PB. Then she said something in a funny tone "oh I used to run 35 minutes before I had kids" I couldnt help myself and said to Rodney in a loud voice "not bad for us considering we ran a 50k Ultra on Sunday". I understand female runners hate males racing them, so feel a little bad becuse it wouldn't have matter who was in front, I just wanted to push and catch them. No disrespect intended on my behalf.
I didn't let her negativity take the gloss of my PB. I was zinging. Michael and Rodney we also pumped with new PBs. Feels good to be finally getting some results in a race!
So my running world has come full circle in one week! One moment I am near death wondering WTF am I doing the next I am tearing the legs off a PB and feeling like I am seeing results. One race was suffering the other satisfying.
Running, like life, has these moments; some which teach you to be humble and appreciate the air we breath, others which make us look to the stars and say "I am going there".
P.S Good luck to Trisha for her Marathon debut in Canberra this weekend. You will love it. Enjoy the journey!
I am also very excited to announce the CQPhysio Group have come on board as the naming rights sponsor for the Spring Classic - we are very excited to have them join in the fun again! Lock in September 16 for 4 races this year, 2km kids dash, 5km Walk/Run, 10km Run and 21.1km Half Marathon. Don't forget to go and "Like" HRE @ www.facebook.com/HREoz