Last Friday night, 10 of us hit the track out at Homebush for the state 5000m with several others coming out to cheer us on. Comparing stadiums out there would have been quite funny as an observer would be looking down on Stadium Australia and watching around 30 - 40 000 people cheer the wanderers and Sydney FC on then casually tilt their head a bit to view perhaps 100 people watching 6 grades of mens and 2 of womens racing 12.5 laps around a track.
We have seen on TV recently what the Nitro athletics is capable of. The idea is to excite the public more to get involved, get interested and get registered with an athletic club. ANSW has wisely opened up registrations to recreational clubs recently and as such Rejoov has jumped on board, currently boasting 18 registered athletes inside the last 3weeks. Not bad. The likes of Tom Highnam, Barts, Nick Roberts, Jerome, Eoin, Jeet, Matt Wacher, Scott O'Connor, Erika, Maya and a few others have joined Greta and I in the bright Orange (men) and pink (girls) tops.
Now ANSW need to go to up another level and try and work out how to make these events more exciting. We saw with Nitro how everyone was on the track cheering their runners on and it looked great. The other night, I was told to get off the track after my race. I explained that we are a new club and that we need to ensure our brand new runners who have never seen a track before were ok and felt supported. Nope "get off" I mean really. These officials have not changed for 20yrs so it is up to ANSW to now manage through some further changes with an outcome directed towards bums on seats.
Outside all of that the night was a success from a Rejoov perspective. It kick started with Matt Wacher running an old man PB (over 40) of 18:42. Matt looked at times uncomfortable but very determined. That is Homebush for you. If we are going to battle Parramatta Rd, soccer matches, parking etc, then it better bloody well count.
Around this point recently in park runs, the wheels have fallen off but here on the track, you find a rhythm of sorts that only comes from the monotony of lapping repeatedly. This rhythm helps to sustain pace luckily - to a certain degree. I caught Nick by around 4km (12:36) and with 1 lap to go, I made my move and passed him for the race home. I still had energy but the legs were hurting. I just kept surging until I crossed with 15:52. Although no where near a PB, it was good to be back under 16mins and a solid stepping stone for what's to come this year. Nick crossed 1sec behind after a late surge to try and recapture his position. He has a lot of good PBs to come the way he is tracking.
The girls B grade were up next with Greta aiming fro sub 19mins and two brand newbies to the track - Silpa and Wendy (from our morning Centennial Park squad) debuting. Seeing these girls running around embodied the whole purpose of involving more recreational runners in this format. At times they both looked like they were hurting but then they would find some energy and surge. Both stayed within arms distance most of the way and finished well under their PBs - well done girls. Greta a few minutes further up also ran strongly for her current form (ankle injury) to record a solid 18:46 which although is a minute or so off her PB, is a great indication that she is not ready to hang up the track shoes quite yet.
Then the big gun himself John (Barts) Bartlett was up for the B grade (we don't have anyone fast enough for A grade mens YET). Barts took off and immediately went to the............
back......... but the pace was on and he did well to keep in touch amongst a fast moving younger field. 3mins even at 1km was already 6secs up on my time. I had tried to get 18secs out of him for a $20 bet (me to get within 18secs) but he wanted 15secs the shark so the best was off. He bowled along and even picked up a place and finished strongly. I was thinking at the 4km mark that I might be within 10secs of him but he kept pace and ended up with 15:35 which is pretty solid also for where he has been at lately. The 18sec bet was a perfect prediction BTW.
All in all it was a fantastic night apart from Jeet's injury which he is currently recovering from and should be out running again within the next 2 weeks hopefully.
Next up the state 10 000m tomorrow night (was supposed to write this days ago so it has crept up fast).
Interestingly I wonder why as soon as we all step onto a track, the distances cease to be known as 5km or 10km. They're now 5000m and 10 000m. I suppose it just sounds sexier.
My week that was:
Mon 13th: 12km easy
Tue 14th: 10.3km tempo /fartlek in CP with Rejoov. 4 lap course along the white fence from the café, left across the road and up the hill to the Woollahra gates, left across the top to Paddo gates and then back down the hill to the café. Averaged just under 9mins per lap. 10km in 34:48 (35:50 finish). Felt strong for a change and hopeful of a sub 16min if not 15:50 this Friday. Over 50 people there this morning and all running really well. Total 13km
Wed 15th: 8km easy
Thur 16th: 8km easy
Fri 17th: 7km easy
Sat 18th: State 5000m - total 11km
Sun 19th: 22.5km in the park with the hurts guys - easy pace. Big blister as a result for some strange reason. Ouch.
81.5km total for the week. Not a lot of mileage at the moment but that's the way it is with finishing up at my current role and being sidelined to the office in Lane Cove West.