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Pre-dawn "Edventures"

Saturday, 15 June 2013

I got up at 4:30am with a slight headache and not feeling in the least like running a hard 15km at 6am.  I went through my usual pre-Trotters Saturday morning routine, including preparing the post-run drinks (it’s my turn this month), and by the time we set off at 6am, was feeling a little better, though not perfect.

Enzo's Edventure Route.  Terrigal Trotters publishes maps
of all its 33 Saturday morning runs on the Club's website.
As usual, I had reviewed the run scheduled for this morning, Enzo’s Edventure, last night to make sure I knew the route.  This is one of the more infrequently run courses and is quite complicated, linking up lots of road sections with short legs through parks, bush and suburban laneways.  Even though I had done it before, I still needed some effort to memorise the trickier sections and knew that there would be Trotters getting lost all over the place (but they would take it in good humour).  I also realised that some of the more obscure park and bush legs would be run in pre-dawn darkness, and for the first time, I packed a headlamp for the Trotters run.  The Committee, of which I am a member, has been emphasising safety and the use of lights when running in darkness, so I feel some responsibility to set a good example.

As it turned out, in the early stages of the run the headlamp proved very useful and nearby runners were grateful for the light it shed as we negotiated some of the challenging off-road sections.  I had already decided not to try to stay with the front-runners, even though I felt able to chase them down up the early steep hills.  It was a tough course and I was sure that once with them, I would not be able to resist hanging on to the end as best I could.  It would be good training, but my legs still had traces of marathon fatigue and stiffness and the risks of tearing something were significant.

Instead, I settled into a comfortable, but quickish pace (probably around 4:30 mins/km) and gradually left the bulk of the runners behind.  There were some very steep hills around the 9-10km mark which exposed my leg fatigue, but I was still moving quite well and always felt I could go faster if I wanted.  The only issue was my chronic right knee problem that was getting painful at times.

The last two kilometres of the “official” course was back along the steeply sloping beach between Wamberal and Terrigal.  The slope was down to the left, which is the camber my knee hates most, but the desire to run the “official” route, even though there was an equidistant road alternative, was too great.  Once on the beach, the lack of runner tracks made it clear that those in front of me had chosen the road.  I slowed my pace, and favoured my bad knee as much as possible finishing the 15.3km course in a reasonable time (1:24) given its challenging nature.  It was a good hit-out and I’m looking forward to mixing it with the front-runners, all of them ten or more years younger, next Saturday, and thereafter.