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Oh the one point seven

18 June, 2010

The Longest Day 5k might just be my favourite race. I’ve a feeling that I’ve said this before about other races, but this time I really mean it! Supposedly there are 1200 runners over all the events (kid’s mile, 10k, 5k), which means that’s there a decent depth to the field. And it’s been sunny two out of two occasions that I’ve attended. With the chance to eat grilled meat afterward and stick around to chat with others, what’s not to like about a race near the summer solstice?

I couldn’t have run this much faster… especially the first kilometre (it was downhill, mind)! Of course, the flip side to entering a large race is that you want to get away from all the elbows at the start line and over the first few hundred metres. Balancing this with the physiological fact that starting fast is not the best/fastest strategy overall is a fine art. It raises also the dilemma of whether to race against others or against the clock. This time I quickly found three or four others who I knew to be of similar pace. I led for the first kilometre and up to around 1500m, and thereafter we shared the lead, battling sometimes into a headwind (it’s hard to say for sure if the net wind effect was neutral, but likely this was the case being on an out-and-back/looped course).

The second kilometre was net uphill (though rolling), I believe, and I managed to maintain a reasonable pace. This course is nearly flat over the second half, and I’m not sure what my splits were for the final two kilometres. According to my watch, the fourth km was 3:45 and the fifth was 3:03, but this seems less than likely. More probably, the fourth kilometre marker had somehow wandered from its post.

Nevertheless, I believe I picked it up over the last 500m or so, taking one or two scalps in the process. There is no doubt in my mind that the top-end speedwork over the last month has paid off, otherwise I would not have been able to maintain that effort at the end.

Apart from the kilometre marker wandering, one other minor criticism was the total absence of access to water (apart from the hot stuff in the washrooms) before the race! Perhaps there was a drinking fountain that I couldn’t find. There was certainly a vast array of highly technical and experimental athletic beverages, but really, how many people experiment with their fuelling strategy just before a kick-ass race like this one? A silly detail to have overlooked.

So close to my goal! I can practically smell a sixteen summ’at.

3:09, 3:32, 3:30, (3:24, 3:24)

17:01.7

Yesterday: 6k easy.

Today: ~8k (total).

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