Desperation in Paul Hannal’s email out to Striders on Thursday – it seems he has no pacers! After some early consultation with Timmy and Eoin on Friday, I put my hand up for 35 or 36 min duties. The idea is to work to try to feel out 3:30-3:35s on battered legs which should be a good gauge of my fitness.
You can always bet that Timmy, Eoin, CT, Vonk, Scotty and Pete are up for a fight on a Spring Saturday morning. Even Champ and Biggsy turned up. Despite this, the ranks today are certainly depleted. I think everyone chooses Parkrun > Striders. The wind is howling and all are distracted before the start…
Vonk, CT and Scotty shoot out from the gun in a three way tussle, whilst Neil gives chase. I try to rally a 3:30s train which is what is needed on this course – the wind gets you at every section. Into the bike path, there’s a skinny bloke in green, Eoin, and an awkward tall guy. I coach them along out to 4km (direct track) thinking ‘these are the guys I can help‘.
I lose the tall guy exiting the track, then on the ramp at 4.5km I look back at poor Eoin who is in a world of pain. The cross-winds are relentless as we crest the bridge and ready for 5km. Normally, the same pace feels easier as I warm up. Today, I’m fighting to hold 3:30s but remain vigilant to the task.
5km marker passed in 17:33.
Round #2 starts. Green man is moving well, which is why I am surprised when he says ‘I can’t hold on‘ in the car park. The band breaks on the little uphill U-bend leaving me on my own. From there, I post the same splits (3:30 give or take) feels harder and harder. My watch beeps further and further in front of the markers, suggesting even I won’t run 35 min flat. Neil is only 20s in front as I hit the track at 8km.
The final ramp finally arrives at a point where I’m cursing this 35 min flag. By then, Neil’s legs have also given up and he is just 6s in front as I stream through the chute. All alone, no train and a good 20s behind where I should be. I’m buggered.
35:21, 5th place. 3:29s average pace, course ran 150m long.
– 0-5km: 3:30, 3:32, 3:26, 3:28, 3:33
– 6-10km: 3:24, 3:34, 3:27, 3:29, 3:31
To conclude, a solid 10km tempo at the end of a heavy week. Homebush is a slow course, and the wind is a 30s handicap. Well done to Scotty, The Vonk and CT with their podium effort as well as Neil backing up just 5 days after Berlin! Poor Timmy DNF’ed and looked as white as a ghost as he returned to his car.
I enjoyed a nice 4.5km c/d with Scotty on the same course, by which time my perpetual stomach pains had returned. This is something that continues to bother me. 15km for the morning.
Rounded out the AM by treating Lorie & Trinity to two Bowen’s B&E Roll ($7.00) at Orange Grove Markets. Compelling value.