The pecking order of fast 10K races in Sydney: #1 Sydney:10 (May), then #2 SH10K in July. Whilst the later is flat, the hairpin turns and slippery boardwalks around CQ can be frustrating.
My current state of play: after 2 good years (15-16), 17 is a break from PBs with races only to fun-based activities. It’s actually the return of my brother Matt to racing – back from Canada – that inspires me to sign up on Friday. A reason that a sub-33 – the first in two years – is aspirational but achievable assuming this cold passes.
The cold has not passed, and I further handicap myself with a 8.5k warm-up from home to the Rocks to meet Matt, and later LJ to give them respective race bibs. I reason that such a long warm-up is an excuse not to run fast. Also, the 8:30am start is awkwardly late.
10m before the start, the HuRTS team congregates casually at the warm-up zone. None of us are warm in 8 degrees. Dress code violations: I am not in Rejoov orange, Angus is wearing Qantas PJs and Lambert’s shorts are too short.
The usual herding the start commences. Matt’s instruction is clear:
‘go out conservatively at 3:20s, work together, don’t get overtaken once’. What he doesn’t say is it is a free for all at 9k. And we’re off onto Hickson Road…
First few K are frantic but expected. 1k in 3:15s with the field still undefined and packs only forming by 2k. It’s a deep field with the likes of St Lawrence, Batts, Shelly chasing the lead bike at sub 3:00s. Maybe we’re in 30th place as we move onto the slippery, waterside boardwalks around the Harbour.
The first scalp is Cass Fein – surrounded by random blokes . I don’t want to get ‘chicked’ and make the pass at 2.5k as we enter Barangaroo. Near the old IMAX, the two of us move up to Andy Heyden who then works with us to the half way near Fairfax building.
Breathing is heavy, my foot strike does not feel smooth and I fight back the urge to drop off the pace. My guess is we are 3:15s on the straight, slowed down some 5s/k due to hairpins, twists and turns.
5k in 16:35.
The only hill is the climb to Pyrmont Bridge. I think this is where we drop Andy. Mike L cheers us through as we go left on the overpass and onto Hickson Road. The pace quickens, but not before a lanky, awkward running young bloke pops up joining Matt and I. He is wearing pink gloves!
I’m really hurting now, grappling with two distressing thoughts:
1) Why did I sign up for this (horrible) race?
2) Can I live with myself losing to pink gloves?
Nevertheless, teamwork is important, shown by 6-9k segments all being in a tight 3:15-17 band. At the 9k mark, Matt has just pushed me from behind and when I don’t speed up, he surges ahead. I follow, then like most in life, fail. A 5m gap opens up which is not a feeling I’m used to late in races. How can he look so fresh?
The last curve around the Hyatt Boardwalks is the entree to a drag race down the finish. I sense I’ve got the edge on pink gloves who sits on my heels. Matt is well ahead having just scalped a 10 year old kid (he seemed perhaps 30m in front at 9k). A quick glance at Scotty and Barts who cheer from the side and then a sprint to the finish. My move on the kid is too late and I finish 1s behind. Final split 3:09, 20th place, 6s off the PB.
32:52, average pace 3:17/k, 20th place.
Splits show a very sensibly paced, slightly negative split race
– 0-5k: 3:15, 3:18, 3:23, 3:18, 3:15
– 6-10k: 3:23, 3:16, 3:15, 3:17, 3:09
Heart Rate (HR) settled around 140, before the steady climb to 150+ in the last 1k. I conclude my red-zone is 150.
Official results here.
I would say the pacing was almost perfect today, but my health was 95% due to a sore throat. Matt had a cracking final 1k split of 3:00 showing his short-distance credentials. Just behind us is Andy (3:17s) and the winning girl (Cassy). The finish is awash with runners very quickly but I do see Truscott, Lambert as well as a glimpse of a few from the in front and on the 40 min train – Chris Strom, Cathy, Neil, LJ and Jac.
At that point I’ve done 8k + 10k. In my mind, Sunday is for long runs and this must be respected. Therefore the warm-down is:
– 3k out and back to the Opera House with Matt, then
– 3k back to Darling Quarter partly with Ruth, then 8k home via Para Road and Glebe.
Adding this up gets me to 32k. This means my long run is effectively a broken one with a 10k tempo equal to my PB.
Strangely, I was craving dumplings on the run home and so it was timely we went straight to New Shanghai for the fix. In brunch terms, it’s not quite as effective as poached eggs but the change is welcome.