Ahh, the old ‘anniversary’ run! Everyone has one – the first ‘Fun Run’ they ever did. There’s always something special about running that event each year.
For those who find my race reports a bit long-winded, I’ll save you some time.
Glenelg Classic Race Report 2017.
Went out too fast.
OK for those who are still reading, I’ll elaborate a bit.
I won’t rehash all of the history of me and this event. I’ll just direct you to my report from the corresponding event last year. Read this and you’ll be up to speed!
This year I haven’t done a lot of 5k races. In fact, from memory, I think my last 5k race was way back in April, at the Clare Valley Half Marathon! That was even before Boston – seems a lifetime ago now! Other than this, I’ve had plenty of practice running 5k, doing parkrun most weeks.
A few weeks back, I ran my fastest parkrun in 18 months, at Mount Barker (I believe it to be SA’s fastest course – I’d love to hear from anyone who thinks otherwise, because if there’s a faster one, I’ll be there next weekend!) – just a touch over 22 minutes.
My major events this year have been longer distances – 100km in January, Boston Marathon in April, the 12 hour in July (another 100km) and the ‘mini Heysen’ 35k just a few weeks back. But I still think I should be able to run a fast 5!
Yesterday I decided to give the fast Mt Barker parkrun a miss – would just be too much of a temptation to try to run fast and break 22 minutes! Instead I went to Aldinga Beach, which was very similar to the Glenelg Classic course in that it was a 5k out and back along the coast. I paced it VERY conservatively – running 5:30s into the wind on the way out, and then couldn’t help myself on the way back, running 4:30s (admittedly with the wind behind me, but I definitely pushed a bit harder in that back half). I remember thinking, “this is what I need to do tomorrow” (albeit a little bit faster!)
Today’s weather conditions could hardly have been a bigger contrast from last year’s wind-fest (and for the 10k runners, bonus sandblasting!). It was warm (warm enough for the start time to be brought forward from 9am to 8am) and there wasn’t much in the way of wind.
It seemed like there were more runners out there this year than last, which wouldn’t be surprising given the less than perfect conditions of the 2016 race! Today there were 105 runners, 67 of them female, in the 5k, all of whom finished. (I can’t confirm the number from 2016 because I can’t find the results!) Consequently I had to park further away than I remembered parking last year, but it didn’t really matter as I was there in plenty of time and a nice walk along the coast was a good way to loosen up the legs!
Just before the start of the 10k the start/finish arch decided it didn’t want to play, but with minutes to spare it was up again and ready!
I had a chat with SARRC manager Cassandra who commented that since she’s been on board the weather has always been good for our events. I said that’s kind of funny because RD Ben has a reputation for bringing the WORST possible weather! So I guess they cancel each other out!
After the 10k start I had 15 minutes to get ready for my start, so I went out and did the same warmup I did last year, past the marina up to the Buffalo restaurant and back. It felt pretty good!
I didn’t recognise any fast females at the start, actually there weren’t many people I knew in the 5k at all! (Most of the people I knew were either running the 10k, or volunteering) One familiar face was Patricia, from West Beach parkrun, who I also remembered seeing at the McLaren Vale half, wearing a particularly funky looking crop top. It stood out to me because I have the same one! And today, she was wearing it again, and I just so happened to be wearing mine!
We lined up at the start and it was a bit of a ‘surprise start’ as I was expecting “On your marks…” but one minute I was chatting with some of the other runners and all of a sudden the gun had gone off and we were away!
At the start, one girl was already ahead of me and another soon passed me, so for a fleeting moment I was in 3rd place.
The first kilometre felt OK, but when I got to the 1km mark, where one of my regular morning running buddies Trish was marshalling, my Garmin went off to tell me I’d just run 4:05 for the first kay. (This was just after Tracey had passed me to move into 3rd spot). I said hello to Trish and also that I’d done the first km WAY too fast! I’m not sure if Tracey heard me, and I don’t know if she plays mind games like I do, but if the roles were reversed and I’d heard the person I’d just passed say they were running way too fast, that would have filled me with confidence!
I’d have to say that I didn’t really enjoy my run much after that, although I did make sure I posed for official photographer (and old friend!) Tracie, both on the way out and on the way back, and Coralie snapped this pic of me as she filled the Sweeper role admirably!
I kept Tracey and the 2nd placed girl in my sights, and on a positive note I don’t think they got much further ahead, but I didn’t seem to be making any ground, so I set my sights on holding onto 4th spot. At the 2.5km turnaround I got to see how far behind me the other runners were, and I thought I had a reasonably comfortable buffer, but I didn’t take it easy (although my split times might suggest otherwise!)
I did have thoughts in the last kilometre of trying to make a move on Tracey with a view to a sprint finish, but even though I think I made a bit of ground in the last little bit, it wasn’t enough for me to give it a really good crack.
In the back half I was greeted by Race Director Ben on his bike, not just RDing but also Lead Bike for the 10k – is there anything this guy can’t do? I did ask him for a lift but he told me I’d have to run faster to catch him! Just behind him was 10k winner John. In the last kilometre (just as I was contemplating a late push for a podium spot!) I was overtaken by 10k second placegetter Piete. (Just to put that into perspective, they’d started 15 minutes before me but run 5k more!)
Once I’d established that there was no way I was going to get 3rd, I had a sneaky look over my shoulder to see if there was anyone breathing down my neck. I couldn’t see anyone, so I took my foot off the pedal a little bit. It was pretty hot out there, and whatever I did now wasn’t going to change my placing, so I figured there wasn’t any point in busting my arse!
In the end I finished in just under 22:33 which was 9 seconds SLOWER than last year! Yes, it was quite hot today but I would have expected to beat last year’s time given how challenging those conditions were.
In the end Tracey ran just under 21:50 to take third place. To beat her I would have had to run my fastest time in 18 months. Could I have done that if I’d paced better? Probably not! We’ll never know!
And 5th place was 25 seconds behind me, so really, 4th place was where I was meant to be this year! (Pity, because I really liked the look of those trophies!)
Annoyingly, the girl who finished in 2nd place was also in my age group!
So now in hindsight this is what I SHOULD have done. I should have run at 4:30s in the first half. Then I would have had something in the tank for the second half. And even if I’d stayed on the 4:30s and not picked up the pace, I STILL would have done a better time than I actually did. Essentially what I did (start fast and then get slower) was the OPPOSITE of what I should have done.
My 5k goal for some years has been to crack 20 minutes. I got close, way back in August 2015. It’s still a goal but since then I’ve discovered an affinity for stupid long loopy runs and also more recently I’ve rediscovered my trail legs. I am sure I can do it IF I train for it. The problem is there are so many running events that I love doing and I can’t seem to focus on one thing! (And just quietly, it’s not just running events either, but that’s a topic for a future blog post!)
After the race I sat down on the grass and stretched for a bit, at which point the physio providing the free massages asked me if I’d like to be her first ‘customer’ – an offer which I quickly accepted! She massaged the backs of my legs, gave me a few tips on exercises and stretches (which of course I knew but don’t actually do – maybe I will this time!) and then had to wring out the massage table after I sweated approximately 1 litre all over it! I really need to start getting regular massages – I know after I had one a few weeks ago from friend Wendy who is training to become a massage therapist, I had 2 of the best runs I’ve had in a long time!
Another great way to recover after a race is a dip in the ocean – I didn’t take advantage of that this time around but plenty of people did!
Well done to all the runners in the 5k and the 10k and thanks to all the fantastic volunteers as always for making it possible for us to run! Special mention to SARRC marketing guy Harry who was up at arse o’clock (along with other SARRC staff Lee-Ann, Paul, Cassandra and Ron, to name just a few) on what happens to be his 21st birthday! Hope you had a fantastic morning Harry and enjoyed the rest of your day!
After the race was over, Lee-Ann was telling me about how they made sure every single runner was informed of the time change (from 9am to 8am). Firstly an email was sent out to all participants (as well as the information being posted on social media, which was where I first saw it, as I can be a little slack at checking emails). Then, a list was generated through the wonders of modern technology of those who had NOT opened the email. And Lee-Ann then personally texted ALL of them (over 100 I seem to recall).
The move from 9am to 8am was great for the runners but I did spare a thought for the volunteers who, as a result, had to get up an hour earlier. And they were ALREADY going to have to get up at arse o’clock! (A few people had suggested a 7am start would have been even better – sure, it would have been good for us but the volunteers – not so much!)
And congrats again to RD Ben for another great event, and I think he has well and truly made his peace with the weather gods, although he really COULD have slowed down a bit on the bike and given me that lift…