Eltham Fun Run 10km 2016
The plan to get some more racing in this year has been going pretty good so far. I've averaged a race every fortnight for the last two months. Today was my local, the Eltham Fun Run. It's a good hit out, run from the local YMCA over a somewhat hilly bike path. I was looking forward seeing what I could do over 10km since back into some consistent training.
Weather conditions were mild and pleasant, almost perfect for running. My warm up felt flat. It took quite a while to shake off the higher than normal stiffness through my legs. That is to be expected as the training starts mounting up. I wasn't tapered, but I was ready to race.
On the start line I was relaxed, but keen to get going. The 10km runners had their own wave, so I knew who I was racing when the horn sounded. The opening kilometre is mainly downhill. I let gravity do it's thing and fell into a relaxed but quick opener. That put me in 7th position, but all in front were in view.
I took stock of the opposition. Front place looked like he was comfortable with some speed, so I would just see what he did over the next few kilometres. Three set themselves in a loose-ish pack and I couldn't work out how that would unfold. The remainder looked like they were going faster than they should and I was comfortable I didn't have to worry about them. I now settled on my strategy.
- Take the 1st two main up hills conservatively aiming to ensure I don't challenge my limited lactate tolerance
- Focus on relaxed speed on the descents, but push a little to make up for the slower climbs
- Otherwise keep it steady through 6km
Well, those two climbs felt so slow and I definitely lost ground on them. It felt like a gamble, but it could have just been my ego having a sook. Making me happy the down hill was where I excelled. It was nice feeling naturally quick. By the 3km mark I had worked myself into 4th place.
The gap to 1st was blowing out by a lot and second place was reasonably close to first. Third looked solid and had a nice buffer from me. I could definitely close down that buffer. The problem was how? Should I increase my pace now? Should I wait and try further in?
Since my current pace seemed right and I decided to stick with the status quo through to 6km. That's exactly how everything panned out. After then is a good climb on gravel track followed by an undulating section with a few turns and the added obstacle course of the slower 5km runners and walkers. It's a section that I should do well in. Luck was a bit on my side, and not on my opponent's. He clearly developed some type of injury that had him slow dramatically on the climbs. He still threw in some good running on the descent and flat sections, but it made it easier for me to take over the last podium spot.
One final solid climb around 8km and I had a sizable gap. All I had to do was run at a relatively comfortable race pace and I would maintain my placing. The two lead runners were well out of site and range. I tried to make a point of going faster than that comfortable pace, and don't think I achieved anything much quicker. It gave me the finishing chute to myself and a final time of 39:07. Turns out that's one step up from last year's 4th place and 12 seconds faster. I'm feeling good in so many ways about my running at the moment. Hopefully I can extract some significant improvements over the year.