SunFest - Race Report

My 3rd week of training for the Emergency Services Games is slightly different. Due to some work roster changes and the desire to get a race in, this week is now stretched out to 11 days. Not sure if I can really call that a week now. I'm still including the key sessions of a technical/aerobic conditioning run, a threshold run and hill repeats, a long run and the race will replace the track session. The main difference is the timing will be stretched out a bit between these key runs, allowing a bit recovery and hopefully the ability to get a bit more out of the each of the harder runs. I'll cover the details of the week's training later. This post is to cover the Sunfest 10km Fun Run.

This is only the 2nd running of the race in Sunbury, and too be honest I hadn't heard of it before. I chose this event simply based on the fact I wanted to get in a 10km race before the ESG's at about this time and this is all that was available that fitted within my roster. With it sounding like a relatively small local fun run, there is the potential I could be running at the pointy end of the field. So I decided to go in with the mindset of going for a win. Of course, having no idea of who was racing, meant I could be completely mistaken.

With no map, and a very limited course description there wasn't really any planning for tactics leading in. Guessing, it sounded like mostly a road run, mixed with some sealed walking path and bit of up and down, since views were mentioned. It did sound scenic. A 0900 start allowed a reasonable wake up time of 0630. I'm experimenting quite a bit with my racing nutrition at the moment. I know 10km is substantially different to anything that goes beyond 40km, but I can still use it test some some things. Being a race of less than 1 hour, there is potential fr performance benefit if the use of glycogen is utilised faster. That said, I still wanted time for everything to be digested. So I tried a my mix of a liquid breakfast at 2 hours out from the race. This was a mix of maltodextrin (63g), soy protein (7g) and 2 espresso shots. A total of about 1200kJ (285 Calories). This combination was undrinkable. So I eliminated the espresso shots from the mix and it was smooth. How can coffee be wrong?

The weather was crisp, dry, overcast and only a bit of wind. Near perfect. The Birthplace the Ashes, Sunbury, should be pleasant. The race is attached to the SunFest festival in the Village Green, has some hills, is a relatively small town a bit out of Melbourne, but it just doesn't work for me. Maybe it was the empty packets of Tramadol I stood on as I got out of my car that influence this. I will have to say the kids pouring detergent in the fountain was funny.

I went through my warm and felt as race ready as I was going to get. There was a fair amount of heaviness in my legs that I couldn't quite shake. With the recent training, this was expected. Lining up at the start line, I still had no idea where the course would take me. I wasn't even sure if I was facing the right direction. At the start was a face I recognised, because he is always a few minutes in front of me. I formulated a race plan. Stick with the front runner for as long a I can, then continue with whatever I have left. The result would either be a surprisingly good finish or a lesson in suffering.

A few minutes of the normal formalities and then we were running. Straight up I was on the shoulder of my race target. I felt fast, but it seemed about right. After the 1st 100m the initial section is a slight down hill. Apparently just following the service road in a straight line for a while. I tried to make a right turn as I thought a marshall was indicating to turn when she was just holding up an arm to stop a car. Those behind me had me on track. Within in 10m I was back on target. 

A little dip and twist and the path passes under the main road. It gave me a peek hole view of the improvements in my down hill agility. A good thing. A slight rise and 1st place moves ahead slightly and I gain some company from behind. I reverse both of these on the next down hill and I guess this takes to somewhere about 2.5km in. With not distance markers, I don't really know. Then the path takes an upward trend for quite a while. As a 10km race, this is a substantial climb. In contrast to my descending speed, the lack in my climbing speed is highlighted. I am quickly and easily relegated back into third position. Then even before halfway up, I fall back to 4th. I try, but there seems to be a rev governor limiting pushing this faster.

Eventually the path levels out onto gravel and I seem to be able to get a bit more out of my legs. It turns out the course is an out-and-back. Coming into the turnaround I find I have made back some of the deficit from the climb, but it is a large gap. My only hope is to give a huge effort on the return trip back down. So I push harder. This seems to only translate intermittently to some more speed. The initial hang onto the shoulder of first, followed by the try and run fast uphill tactics were now catching up with me. My legs kept feeling waves of the acidotic burn, causing them to falter. Strangely it was steady. My legs would falter, causing a slow down, then I would seem to clear it and regain some form and speed again. Maybe not the most efficient style of pacing, but it is likely to give me a good training effect.

For the rest of the run I followed the same pattern. Run, burn, hurt, slow, recover, go faster. This continued to open the gap from those behind, but did nothing to get closer to those in front. In the end I crossed the finish still in 4th place overall with 38:15 on the clock. I would have liked sub 38, but I am comfortable with the race. I know my strengths, and I can put them to good use at the Emergency Services Games. More importantly it is clear what I need to work on before the Games. The last handful of weeks won't need any extra work on what I am already good at. Instead, I need to focus on three things:
  1. Up hill running speed
  2. Negative splitting race pace
  3. Lactate tolerance/ability to surge
As a preparation and information gathering run for the ESG's, the SunFest 10km served it's purpose well. It wasn't the confidence builder I hoped for, but at least I think I am on track.


Popular posts from this blog

New Blog: Running Alive

Race Report: Sandy Point Half Marathon

This Is Forty