A Positive Split Is Not a Positive

This morning I woke up feeling a bit tight, so a longer more progressive warm up would be in order today. I made a strong coffee, got my bowl of cornflakes and checked out the weather and cool running forums. I have a habit of getting up very early and getting to the race venue often before they are ready to take registrations. It's something I've always done and I think it helps me prepare mentally. This morning was no exception.

The morning was clear and crisp when I arrived at the Coburg track. After registering I disappeared along the walking path for an easy 30 minute warm up. Towards the end I included some light plyometrics, and while I may look silly doing some of this stuff, I don't care. After all I think I run faster as a result. I still had a while to wait so I just sat and waited for a while. With about 15 minutes to go, I put in a solid aerobic run around the track of 2000m. I was finally feeling good. It was time to race.

On the starting line I recognised a few faces, but I couldn't tell who was running the 6 or the 12km event. The event was an out and back course of 6km (two laps for the 12 obviously). My thoughts were to just run on feel and try and keep in touch with the leaders over the first lap. With a very understated "on your marks.... (long pause).... go," from the starter we were off.

The front of the field spread out within the first 200m and I found myself hanging in position 7 or 8. The three leaders were in sight, but had obviously decided to push the pace. I thought it suicidal to try to catch them, and just aimed to minimise any early losses. Since I was already working hard, I decided re-evaluate at the 3km turn-around.

The turn-around eventually appeared, it did feel a bit further than I was hoping. The leaders were flying and I was starting to think I may have gone out a bit too hard. Oh well, I'll just hang on and try to maintain my pace with focus on my form. I made a commitment not to check my heart rate or times, as it would have only persuaded me to back off a bit. I was now hoping the guys up front were in the 6km.

Onto the second lap and I now knew that of the original leaders only two were in the 12km. That meant I was now in third position. A podium finish is always cool, but I was now in no-man's land. Second place wasn't in site and fourth place was about 600m behind. It was now a battle of my mind versus my body. My legs were screaming stop, and for some reason my upper back was supporting my legs in their endeavour to end this silly running thing. My mind kind of held on. My pace was definitely slowing even though I think I was putting in as much, if not more effort into this second lap. At the turn-around it was obvious first and second were both safe in their relative positions, but I had noticed fourth was now a little too close for comfort. He gave me good long look as we passed each other. He definitely was trying to catch me.

Over the last three kilometres I felt like I picked up my form, but my splits tell a different story. I maintained third place in an overall time of 49:29, with the 3km splits as 11:27, 12:28, 12:36 and 12:58. That is a big slow down. I guess you learn something new each time you race. Not my fastest, but still a lot of fun anyway.

With the race over, the awards presented, I definitely wasn't heading straight home. Giggles was hosting a baby shower for her friend. A house full of women in this case wasn't my idea of fun. I killed some time with a good long relaxed swim. Perfect recovery, I think, tomorrow will tell.

"A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they're capable of understanding." - Steve Prefontaine


  1. First things first Big Congrats on the news, you must both be so excited. My brother became a father for the first time 3 months ago and is still on cloud 9.

    I assume this was one of the Coburg Harriers runs, I hear they put on a good one, haven't managed to make one yet myself though. I always turn up super early as well, rushing just adds to the stress.

  2. A third place overall finish?! Right on. Way to kick som ass.

  3. Thanks for the congrats from everyone.

    Yes I am on Cloud 9 in anticipation of the baby.

    Yes the race was one put on by the Coburg Harriers. I haven't been to one of their events in nearly ten years. Great to see they still put on a great run.


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