This off the back of my recent blog where I posted a few funny running related pics, one of which advised that if you are running next to me on the treadmill, "oh yes we are racing each other". Well a similar situation occasionally happens in Centennial Park and it happened to me again yesterday. I'm jogging along enjoying an easy run before this Thursday's Knapsack 3hr trail race, averaging approx. 4:40 pace when BAM - there he was out of no where.
I'm not sure where this bloke came from exactly but before I knew it he was running parallel to me approx. 5metres away and man did it get pretty awkward quickly. Or perhaps he didn't care but I was thinking, "c'mon someone has to give. We're not a pair of frickin synchronised joggers here". So I lifted the pace to 4:30 and he slotted in behind but the sound of his foot strikes were still close as I heard him lifting as well. "Shit, damn this white fence. It's too bloody popular these days" so up went the pace again and his panting also grew. This mind you is happening over the space of 500m so far. "seriously? I'm tapering here mate. Just let me win" and there in all it's glory was the underlying problem. I just wanted to beat him.
Many of my mates over the years have commented quite strongly at times that all they want to do is beat CT. I could never understand it. Sure its demoralising for Barts to lose every game of ping pong he plays me at but it's just a game. I know I am competitive in nature having come from a family of 5 older brothers (one younger sister) so the drive to keep up and excel was always there. Back yard cricket, tennis you name it. My very first City to Surf at age 9 started with me holding my 16yr old brother Rob's hand for 200m before running off and beating him (he was sick I should say).
So to turn the spotlight on myself, I should have just made way, supported his running journey and wished him all the best for a solid year's training.
Yeah right! See you at the next Striders 10km mate.
Then there's the cycling culture in the park. Everyone is barking orders at everyone else inside and outside their group. Someone comes past a pack by themselves, and the murmur throughout the group can be heard as everyone realises that they are not actually riding that fast after all. I blame the lycra. it gives a false sense of ability with some people. It's even harder to have an easy solo ride in the park than an easy run. As soon as you ride past anyone. Well anyone without a basket and spokey dokeys, the race is on whether you are a willing participant or not.
Funny though. It seems to also happen a bit in general day to day life. When you're walking along the footpath and someone steps off a bus or out from a shop and you find yourself matched perfectly in stride length, cadence and focus. Each wondering who will prevail as oncoming pedestrians get closer....... Then there's the whole driving on Sydney roads example. Enough said.
And so it goes. A daily race with complete strangers and sometimes just one sided because I have alone built it up as such. Sometimes this mindset overtakes me. When I'm filling the car up, and I see the cash register queue is empty, I watch the others around me filling up, and I prepare to quickly holster the pump and race them to pay first just so I don't have to stand in line listening to the guy offering them 2for1 chocolates and asking for that complete waste of time fly buys program card!!
Soooooo anyhoo, I'm off to do the Knapsack 3hr solo race this Thurs and I will be up against Mikey Litchwark and Tony "fats" Fattorini amongst others no doubt. These two are shaping up well for 6ft track and Mike is in good form over the short stuff as well. It will come down to who wants to put it on the line in this 'training' race and who can limit the downtime after each 5km lap. I am hoping to get to the 8th lap before the 3hr cutoff. This will enable me to roll around an 8th lap at whatever pace if I'm way behind the others or else fight it out for a close finish. We shall see. Weather looks good.
Last week looked like this:
Mon 16th Jan: Easy 15km in the park
Tue 17th: 12km Rejoov Runners session with 3 x 2.6km hill laps at 3:35 pace
Wed 18th: 18km easy to steady (4:20-30)
Thur 19th: AM 13km Rejoov Runners session 4 x 1km efforts through the middle "dickens drive" road from the stone bridge to the top of the small hill at the white fence. Off 5min cycles with a return effort. My two outs (up at the end) were 3:08 with the two return 1km reps were 3:01. Felt pretty strong. Stuffed but strong. Then 4 x 600m reps but these were on very tired legs by now so 1:50 was all that could be managed. Great session from everyone especially the new guys Gidon and Jesse. PM: 5km easy
Fri 20th: 7km slow
Sat 21st: Curl Curl Park run. Legs a bit fatigued, some nice white wine the night before but I drove down trying to wake up. Got there early-ish (6:20am) and not a trace of anyone or anything. 4-5km warm up, run throughs then saw Mike L again (we seem to be following one another around the traps), Toby H (who beat me at JP Morgan in the dying moments) and a few others. So with the starting signal, I decided to try something completely not new to me - go out hard and try and hang on. The plan was to try for sub 16mins so through 1km in 3:04, 2km in 6:15 I was going ok. Then I slowed a bit for 3km - 9:32 before a slight fade but not enough for Mike to catch me. Ended with 16:10 and Mike 16:28. Total 12km
Sun 22nd: 18km easy around the park before racing out to Homebush to complete my Level 2 running accreditation with Athletics Aust. Greta and I are now even more qualified to tell you all to get out there and run very hard when we say to, and rest when we advise to. Simple really.
Total for the week: 100km (still not enough but enjoying it at least).
We signed up to a home delivery dinner service called Marley Spoon. They send the ingredients and the recipe and you simply make it. Ok so mine wasn't exactly the same but it tasted really really good. Average price per night's dinner for the 3 of us - $23 and without the whole shopping hassles.
Final thought of the week:
At which point exactly does a BUSHWALK become a HIKE and a hike become a TREK? Is it the gear involved? Please feel free to share your thoughts.