Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Daylight Savings is here!

The beginning of the 'Festival of the Light' as I like to call it always brings about a fresh beginning and a time where I can be a lot more choosy and flexible with my training. No longer do I have to try and cram my training into that small window between when I leave school and before I get home, usually between 4:30pm and 6pm. With the shorter days, I'm often restricted to road running, or the treadmill on the work days. Not that I'm complaning. They both play a big part in my training. But now I can do what I love after work, play on the trails and get home before the sun has set!

It also heralds the thoughts of  the Great North Walk 100 miler that I'll again be competing in. It is Australia's only true A to B 100 mile trail running course (the way they should be!) and is tough as tough can get, expecially when the expected average temperatures and humidity play their part. Will we get another day like last year where conditions resembled a mid Winter's day? Not likely. In fact I would say that it's possible that we will never get a day like that again in the history of the race!

It's been a big month or so of racing, with the 'A' race result at Surf Coast Century just a little off what I would have liked, but under the circumstances I have to be happy with how everything has gone. I've decided to knock the distances back a bit in racing and so two weeks ago ran the 25km option of the Running Wild Glenbrook Marathon.
Running the 25km at Glenbrook in the 235s
and using the new Inov-8 handhelds

Although it was only 8 days after SCC, my body felt stronger than it has been in a long time, and I managed to get around the beautiful Lower Blue Mountains National Park in a very pleasing course record time. I wore the new model Inov-8 Trail Roc 235 zeros. These were perfect on the mix of fire trail and loose leafed twisty single track (and they look great too!). You may also notice in the photo that I'm using two little hand held collapsible flasks to ensure I carried the mandatory water requirements. These are a great new product from Inov-8 and are very suitable for this type of race.

The weekend past I went down with my friend Wes and his family to the Western Sydney Marathon. Originally when I was putting dates into my calendar earlier in the year I had penciled in this one as the marathon where I would have a crack at the elusive sub 2:30 marathon. Having trained at the Regatta Centre  A LOT over the years (it's half way between work and home) I have a strange affinity with the 5km looped track around the rowing lake. I feel like it is a PB course if the variables like wind, heat etc don't play their part. On a still, cool day, it's fast and predictable. You can really get a sense of your pace and rhythm very early on and use the looped format to really hit your pace and lap segment times.

However, with all the big long trail races I've been doing in the last month or so I decided to drop it down, watch Wes in the half and then myself run around for the 10k; in the process supporting a great Western Sydney event and get a sense where I am exactly with my speed in a good tempo paced run. By 10:30 the temperatures had begun to nudge over the 25 degree mark and were climbing. It was hot, but I had nothing to complain about seeing that there were lots of marathoners and half marathoners who had been out there, and were to be out there much longer than I.

With Australian Marathon Champion and Inov-8 Australia
team mate, Alex Matthews.
36 minutes flat later and I crossed the line in a surprising first spot. I did not expect it nor deserve the win; but one I'll take as 'just getting lucky'! I can only think that all the fast track runners had decided to go surfing or something else much more suitable to the weather! There were some positives to take out of the run, it was pleasing to run under 16 and half for the first 5km. The second lap however is probably best not spoken about. It was also my first 10k win in over a year, my last being at the Bathurst 10k in 2012. Pleasingly it means I've won at all the major distances this year; 5k, 10k, 21.1k, 42.2k, 50k and 100k . Only the 100M one left to get now!

Alex Matthews just continues to continue on. Only 2 weeks after being crowned the Australian Marathon Champion, he again ran a great sub 2:30 (2:28) marathon in conditions that were far from easy. He is in really good form and I hope next year he targets a race to nab an Australian B qualifying time for the marathon and gets himself in the green and gold. Wes and Kellie also tasted success, both coming across the line in 4th in their respective half and 10k. These two are rapidly improving and watch out for both of them at the Mountain Sport's 50K Kanangra Trail Ultra.