..........................................you could hear the crickets sounding with 7mins to go till race start!
The week leading up was pretty mundane running wise. Not a lot of running as I wanted to prepare, taper and front up with the best possible chance to race well, push for a sub 72mins and who knows, maybe win the half marathon.
Mon 4th April: Easy 9km with Jeff & the Cavoodle
Tue 5th: 2 x fast 1km reps on grass - 2:57 / 2:58 (2mins recovery) then 4 x 200m efforts. Total 12km
Wed 6th: 9km again just nice and easy
Thur 7th: 8km jog spotting Neil Pearson in the park racing 800m efforts
Fri 8th: Arrive in Canberra early for work - easy 8km jog late afternoon Kingston Foreshore.
This Kingston Foreshore is the new fashionable spot to drink coffee, eat and people watch. It's a huge development overlooking the lake but I couldn't help but wonder why they built out into the lake somewhat thus completely blocking the view from all the restaurants. Oh well we could see a puddle size section of the lake whilst we munched.
Friday night we met up with the Taylors of the very same wine label. No Taylors being served in this restaurant but we were in great hands as far as picking a nice drop. Weekend starting well.
Oh and the young lad is not some random. DB (Darren Benson) and family arrived later on for a catchup. Denzel wasn't shy of the camera.
Rejoov Runners started arriving in force on Saturday. So much so that we had to book two restaurants for that night's pasta loading. More catchups with mates and my marathon entrant Robin Vonk who was hunting down 2:36-38 in tomorrow's race.
By now I was starting to feel a bit under the weather. Sore eyes, tickle in the throat could only mean one thing. Here comes a cold. I just tried to ignore it for today. Drinks and dinner were early and most of it was spent chasing Jaden around so he wouldn't jump in the lake.
And then race morning arrived but the sitter hadn't as yet.
Greta and I staggered our warm up so I managed to get a 2km jog done with Anthony (Muz) Murrell who was the 80min pacer today. The conditions were perfect. 10-12 degrees, no breeze, sun coming up and warming us slowly. Jeet and Brendan also primed for a PB crack in the half. The pre-start vibe was actually quite motivating.
And then our mate and his family arrived on the scene and after a 1min intro / handover I bolted toward the start line. My first run through was through the Indigenous tent embassy on the lawns of Old Parliament House, my 2nd infront of the start line and then I realised I wasn't wearing a seeded number (as I had transferred down from the full) so I just finished a run through at the start line and stayed there trying to relax and get ready for my race. This was about 1-2mins from go time.
RACE REPORT (I'll keep it as brief as possible)
Must have been the adrenaline but I went straight to the front and led the field up to Parliament House. The pace was 3:18-3:20 around this loop and there was a couple of guys sitting on me. I felt great. Legs fresh and breathing settled. Down the hill two of us broke free and pulled away from the field slightly.
As the race progressed through 5km (16:45) I felt like this could be a good day. It also felt good to be leading - albeit by approx. 1m. Then I'm not sure how but the pace started to slow. Funny because I was the one setting it. The watch was beeping further away from the KM flags and before I could try and respond, we only managed a low 34min 10km split which was slower than I wanted. And with a few rolling hills to come, I was a little worried that my time would blow out.
Meanwhile ole mate was just sitting on me matching any surges I threw at him and occasionally clipping my feet. The ease at which he responded made me think that he was just buying his time and sure enough at 15km he pulled wide and bolted. I managed a token 100m effort but he dropped close to a 3min km and gapped me for evermore. So I boxed on as I do and got to the final turnaround in 2nd place but with 3rd closing in. I looked at my watch to make a mental note of how far I was ahead of Timmy Lindop who I was having a 10min handicap bet with. The gap was 8mins with Tim still to run 5km and myself approx. 3km. This would be close.
And that's when 3rd place crept up and past me. A guy called Craig Benson who will never die of humility that's for sure. Commentating with spectators about how his new 2nd place position was a formality WITH ME RIGHT BESIDE HIM made me annoyed and I tried to go with him but the legs were just not playing ball. Whether it was 6ft track still or just a lack of concentrated training who knows. I was now in 3rd place and after telling everyone the night before how I was going for top 3, I could not give this up. Luckily 4th was 1min behind.
And with that I finished soon after in 3rd place 73:40. Happy with the position (first Fairfax podium) but disappointed with the time. My ambition of sub 72mins was way off. First place only ran 72:20. But it was now time to cheer everyone over the line.
Here's a few pics post race. Greta came in 7th in 86mins bravely finishing with a niggly calf and showing the fantastic Rejoov Runner's spirit that has seen the squad grow so well with like minded fun loving people. See below for results and just how many PBs were earned today.
A huge run by Michael Ho to come 2nd in the marathon in 2:29:15 to easily overtake my PB and set the bar for Tom and Barts to chase in London soon. And for Neil to chase in Boston. And another massive run from HK based mate Darren Benson who rolled into town, got himself all caught up with social admin, spent Sat afternoon walking around the Questacon then came out and ran 3:08 for the 50km almost beating Marty Dent but still coming 3rd.
The HuRTs guys all ran well with Jeet & Brendan scoring a PB, Timmy making our bet a close one so I won't be rorted next time (but I still snuck in to grab the $20) and a bunch in the marathon bravely finishing a tough run. Ray Wareham still proving age is no barrier with a 2:42 and Robin Vonk unfortunately struggled to keep the tough pace towards the end and finishing just outside a PB but a gutsy run nonetheless.
And of course our mate Julia Degan who grabbed 2nd in the half behind Vic Mitchell (who is going to Rio) running a credible 81mins.
It was nice to share the podium with her. Good old Mr 2nd place Humble bob even told me on stage that he knew he had me covered when I politely mentioned I tried to hang onto him. Oh well 99.9999% of us are grounded.
Here's the results from our Rejoov Runners with many finishing so proudly and all with a smile on their face.
5 & 10k:
Adrienne Taylor 55 & Jade Coppleson 64 in the 10k
Kids & hubbies in the 5k = awesome!!
Chris 1.13.40 3rd place
Greta 1.26.06 7th
Maya Borthwick1.28.04 11th
Johnny McCormack 1.28.52 pb and mum Janet 2.00.26
Rebecca Munro 1.29.22
Juny Xi Chang 1.36.10 a 10min pb
Rachel Kay 1.37.15 debut
Adam Ballesty 1.37.33
Adam Page 1.40.22 huge pb
Jo Hadley 1.45.55 a 5min pb
Amanda Clout 1.57 training for UTA 100k
Jo Tolson 1.59.21 pb
Becca Aaby 2.00.42 pb
Helen Banks 2.00.54
Jacqui Fox 2.04.16
Julie McConnell 2.08.35 pb
Lesley Mason 2.23.52 pb only a week after Galston Gutbuster trail half
Robin Vonk 2.47 whilst not the time hoping for, gave it his best shot
Wendy Cheng 4.23 happy with debut in home town & partner Nigel happy with sub 3.30 target
And finally we arrived home and the post race debrief celebrations at a cosy and quaint little pub in Surry Hills called the Dove and Olive. The beer of choice was the Balmain Pale Ale and they tasted fantastic and were much more value for money than the extortionate $10.50 for a can of 4Pines beer. I don't care who lives which side of whatever bridge, this is a complete rip off. Ultimately the beers didn't help the cold situation but it was a very relaxing and fun night. Monday morning - ouch!
And the winnings from the weekend. Thx Tim. Brings my 2016 earnings to $70.
Thanks everyone for a fantastic weekend. I will try and keep the next few blogs briefer as the next few weeks are all about recovery then hard training for the Sydney 10km and the GC half.