29 August 2013

Mudgee Running Festival 2013

Mudgee Running Festival 2013

I arrived at Mudgee for the 5km race on Saturday. We parked and made our way to the rego area to collect our race packs for the weekend. From here we headed back to the car so I could get ready on the way I noticed Mitch Williamson from Orange was warming up, yay a race against a real speedster awaited!

I completed my warmup and ventured to the start/finish line for race brief. We were told the 5km would start 1 minute after the 10km, crazy and odd, but that's the way they ran it. We lined up and quickly it was obvious it was a race of 3, Mitch, Brent Harris and myself, well actually it was going to be how far Mitch won by.

The 10km went away we waited for our start. We were set off and I went out hard, feeling good and out in front I began weaving, crossing and dodging the back pack, middle pack and front pack of the 10km race, all inside of a km! I had gone out too hard, split 3.10, yep way too hard!

I felt good still but my pace was sliding, I then started feeling bad, my pace varied and I was in and out of threshold, big problems. I maintained effort and hoped that I could recover, I have been training well in my intervals and was hoping this would assist here, it did but it took much longer than needed.

At around 3.5km I felt ok again, I was in 3rd and roughly 200m from 2nd spot. I was witnessing 3.38 and 3.40 splits so I was aware I could increase my pace to close the gap, but very mindful of what tomorrow had in store. To blow up twice in a 5km would be very silly. I may have went out hard, a rookie mistake yes, but I do learn from my runs and I was happy to cruise in to the finish. I arrived in 17.50, not what I had hoped for, but in 3rd place, another podium and a good lesson learnt. I'll take a lot from the race into other races and can work on my weaknesses in training to improve them come race day.

The pesky cough that I have battled on and off for the last few months arrived shortly after the 5km and lingered into the night. I had a beautiful meal with Kel, kid free and very enjoyable and we were able to relax before our marathons the following morning. We got back to our accommodation, had a stretch and went over the last minute things, and then it was off to bed.

We woke to a cool but not freezing morning, a good sign and a relief as the T shirt would do from the start. The start line at every race is the same, people sizing each other up, nervous energy, chatter, stretching, porta loos and the now familiar coffee van.  We had a quick race brief and then made our way up to the bridge for the start.
Just before the start of the Marathon
I had a small warm up and readied myself for what would my first road marathon, hopefully close to 2.50 but mostly a sub 3.  Dani Andres was opposite me, and I noticed he had a marathon bib on and Nick Zawadski, also a Bathurst boy, had registered in the marathon.  It would be a challenge to do well as both had sub 3 efforts to their names and were far more experienced than me at the distance. I was going to run my race nonetheless and the rest would sort itself out.

Kel was nervous but she had prepared very well, only weeks before she had ran the distance in training, in a time a only few minutes slower than my first training marathon. She is fit and can run well and with more racing, long runs and confidence could really become a tough person to beat in long races, I truly feel that a sub 3 marathon is within her reach if she keeps at it.  I gave her a kiss and the start gun went, it would be the last time I'd see her for 3 hr 45 minutes.

Nick went out hard, getting to the front quickly. I was happy with my start and I just slid into pace and assessed my feeling, breathing, rhythm, tempo, etc. I had no idea who was in what race and Dani was just off my shoulder running in a similar way.  After 5km I was on target for a low 2.40, too quick but I knew the hills would balance things out and I had planned my pace to run 19 minute 5 km splits. I approached the half turn in 3rd just behind Nic and Dani feeling great, I even took a sneaky look back and it appeared to be daylight to 4th.

The next section was where I ran well, I picked off Nic at 10km, running the gradual climb efficiently, I also closed the gap to Dani and by the start of the climb I was only 100m behind him. I kept my cadence and pushed up the steeper section of the climb and I was now running side by side with Dani and feeling good, we turned into the out and back section and shot down the hill very quickly.  Nick was 2 or 3 minutes behind at the turn and we made our way back up again, both overtaking the lead bike on the climb.

Dani shot away on the next descent and that gap was never closed, I bloody tried and got close but never regained contact.  I had him in sight, sometimes he was closer, other times he was further away, but I knew if I could up the pace or he blew up I could grab the win. The next 10km or so we ran up a gradual hill and descended back towards Mudgee and the back end of the half course that I ran last year, which I remembered had one longish hill and a few rolling hills and then it was down into a flat final 2km.

1st in 30-39 yrs
If I was going to move it was now on the hills, I could not wait to the end and had to push it then. I ran up the long dirt rise that lead to the 2nd last aid station at a good pace and the guy informed me I was 1 minute 20 back from Dani, I had closed slightly but still had plenty of work to do. I ran the first couple of hills ok but on the last hill I busted, my pace blew out and I struggled to get going again, Dani had now distanced himself from my sight and was running away to a well earnt victory.

The Mens Podium 3rd, 1st & 2nd
I had 5km to run, I was in pain but I knew I had to finish and wanted the sub 3 finish. I was battling cramps in my hamstrings again, similar to the Bush Capital Race last month, so I was adjusting my stride and gait as well as eating endrolytes like lollies. I even chewed one up to get it into my blood quicker, something I'd discussed doing the weekend before, I don't recommend it, but as bad as it tasted, it worked!

So I toughed it out, and the last 5km cost me 2 minutes and a low 2:50 time but I pushed on and got my sub 3 and very close to the par of 2:55 that I'd set before the race. I finished, ran the whole thing and held a sub 4 min pace for 35km, topping it off I came 2nd, so I was very happy when I crossed the line. It was a great feeling running down the path to the finish, the crowd cheered and I was finally at the end, time to stop and get my legs feeling normal again! The first thing I did was congratulate Dani on his victory, it was an experience racing someone so far into a long run, an experience I'd only had in shorter races previously.

Sub - 3!
Nick crossed the line not too far back and in sub 3 fashion, a great result! He recovered well after a typical fast start to get a pb and a good confidence boost before the next couple of weeks where we will go head to head again.  I know I'll have to run well if I'm to stay out in front in Dubbo and Bathurst.

I had a bit of time to sort myself before Kel finished. I caught up with Shelley Hanrahan, who had just won the half in 88 minutes (Shelley took an incredible 8 minutes off her previous Half Marathon that she ran in Bathurst 3 months ago – what an achievement!). I also caught up with Tom Hanrahan who is also from Bathurst.  Both Shelley and Tom (No relation I think) had run very well over the weekend. Tom came in 4th in the 5km and cracked the 90 in the Half, quote "without having much of a go" and Shelley had a massive weekend not only winning the half but also placing 3rd in the 5km, much deserved after the hard work and training she has put in.  It was also great to meet Bathurst Runner Geoff Lynch who also put in 2 great performances in the 5k and the Half.

3rd in 30-39 yrs
I had a feeling Kel was near and moved into a spot to be able to cheer her on for as much of the last stretch as I could.  I saw her come up from below the bridge, a sharp up that had nearly made me cry earlier, and she was running well, relaxed and in control. She ran toward the end and I cheered her to the finish, I even managed to trot to get to the end to take a picture of her maiden marathon finish.  I was so proud, not just because she had finished, but because of the work she had put in the lead up and I knew what it meant to her.  I don't always say it and at times I obsess over my running but how Kel is progressing and the effort she puts in means so much to me and I can't wait to see her get going even stronger with more km's in the bank.  Kel finished in 20th overall, 10th female in 3:46:20, a time that would have top 5’d in most marathons.  She also picked up a trophy for her age group, not bad for a first timer!

                              Kel approaching the finish and crossing the line

So there we were, both finished close to our goals, and in the top 20. A bloody good effort if you ask me.  Last year I ran the half at Mudgee in 88:30 came 11th and Kel said she would've laughed if you told her she would be running the marathon in 2013.  Now its onwards towards Dubbo, the Edgell Job and ultimately the Kanangra Trail Ultra in October.
Spoils of the weekend
I have also accepted an entry into the Sri Chimney Canberra Centenary 100km Trail Run in September, thank you to Hammer Nutrition for the entry and the opportunity to make my 100km debut. I am very excited, nervous and keen to get out there come race day. More on this run to come in the next few weeks.

23 August 2013

Mudgee Running Festival 2013

This weekend I'll be driving to Mudgee with Kel to run in the Mudgee Running Festival.  I am entered in the 5km on Saturday and the 42km on Sunday, Kel is in for the Marathon as well.  It will be our first attempts at racing these distances and we both have be using this event as a testing point for the  Kanangra 50km in October.

I am on a mini taper, down to 50km for the week before Saturday and I feel really good, slightly on edge but ready to run.  I am keen to set it down with a fast 5km time on Saturday, my goal is sub 16.45 and whatever comes of the race will be interesting.  I have certainly been focusing on my speed of late and it seems to be paying off in training.

The marathon however will be a real test of endurance.  I am ready, I know I can run the distance, it's just a matter of getting the pace right and holding on.  I'm a believer of the theory that you can't save energy early on in long races, nor can you make up time early, both can leave you behind, whether it be through popping the lid or leaving your run too late.  I have goal times and I'll will be focusing 5km at a time, looking at rough 20min splits and the potential of running home strongly, if feel up to it.  Mudgee is a tough course and it will be a stretch to crack the 2.50 barrier but I am aiming for this, with plan b being 2.55 and then a sub 3 if it isn't going as well.

I am excited and a little anxious, which is weird as it isn't a big race but I feel an opportunity to get a good weekend of racing is awaiting.  I have been racing a little of late, finishing 4th in the STS Race 3 last weekend, giving me another 2nd overall in the Series (I was lightyears behind Andy Lee), but I have been able to get some good training weeks in and feel it is coming together nicely.

I am also finalising an opportunity to run the Canberra Centnerary 100km in September (yes 5 weeks).  I am ready to finish but as for time goals, this race will just be an experience if it goes ahead.  More to come on this very soon!

Good luck to Kel, she has worked so hard and I'm positive she will run well and meet her expectations.  No matter what I'll be super proud to see her cross the finish line.

Anyway, here is to good weekend of racing in beautiful Mudgee.