It was the first genuinely cold day for the year. The weather report threatened thunder and hail. Luckily they didn't arrive, but strong winds and a few short lived downpours of rain was a reminder summer was a long way behind me.
I opted for a two-part warm up. A very easy 15 minute run followed by some range of movement work an hour before race start kept me warm enough. With plenty of time, I relaxed while getting my race number, timing band and other gear together. Closer to the race start I headed out with Waz, for a real warm up. Usually I perform my warm up by myself, but today I enjoyed the company.
The rain managed to make way for some sunshine in time for the race start. Lining up at the front but to the side put me in a reasonable position after the horn sounded. I was curious to know how fast I was going to run. Trying not to let any preconceived alter my pacing I just ran at what felt like half marathon pace.
The first few kilometres passed without event. I was feeling fantastic to the point I wondered if I was taking things a bit too easy. Despite this thought I just stuck with what I was doing. I was hitting my the lap button at each kilometre, but never checked the time or heart rate. The field was spreading out, and once we hit the first turn around the packs formed some classic echelons to deal with the wind.
Passing the 10km mark my legs were arguing with the pace. The rest of me felt fine, so at this point my legs lost the argument for the next couple of kilometres. Once past 12km everything changed.
It was clear I had gone out way too hard. From this point was simply a matter of doing whatever I could just to keep running. An overwhelming urge to simply stop flooded every part of my body. Nothing was more appealing than just stepping off the race track. Instead I took some repeated advice from Jason Shortis... "10 steps at a time."
By committing myself to only those 10 steps, whatever pace I was now capable of would take care of itself. My effort wasn't going to be spread over counting down kilometres or running the maths on the clock. This approach got me to the finish maintaining some descent running form, albeit slower than I wanted.
The final result gave me a 1:28:xx finish. Checking my splits showed an average pace of 3:47/km for the first 10km, slowing right down to 4:20-4:30/km in the second half. With hindsight I really should have start at somewhere closer to 4:05-4:10. Yet I am still happy with my result.