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Getting fitter

Monday, 17 June 2013

An early appointment meant that I had to get up early if I wanted to squeeze my planned long run in beforehand.  Given how jaded I felt on yesterday’s run, I gave myself over an hour of “wake up” time before I hit the road at 5:45am for my 33km.

1976 Australian Olympic Trial Marathon (2nd from left)
[14th, 2:37:33]
To my surprise, I didn’t feel too bad in the first kilometre.  Of course, I’m speaking relatively and to any observer I would have looked like an old bloke going for a very slow and shambling jog, but I could feel that the leg muscles were in better shape than the last few days.

It wasn’t going to be light for the first 45 minutes, but I had shied away from carrying a light or wearing reflective gear because I was going to be out for so long.  So, for the early kilometres, including a long section of road made narrow by roadworks, I ran very defensively making sure I was well off the road surface for any oncoming vehicle and never assuming the driver had seen me.  I’m sure a few drivers would have cursed me as I suddenly loomed in their headlights, but it was safe.

After that initial period, it turned into a beautiful morning for running as the sun rose and I cruised at better than jogging pace along roads busy with commuter traffic.

Any route from Copa involves quite a lot of hills and this 33km course was no exception.  I expected the climbs to gradually wear me down but it was only really the last five kilometres that became hard.

I finished in 2:55, an acceptable if not spectacular time for this course.  That’s only 5:20 mins/km pace and just a week ago, when I was definitely less fit, I could manage a 3:24 marathon at 4:50 mins/km pace.  I still find it amazing how a competitive event lifts my physical and mental performance.  However, have come to accept and rely on it, and don’t let apparently slow training runs bother me anymore.  It’s always nice to run well in training, but so long I do the training, regardless of how I feel, I can have confidence that my body will respond as I want when race day arrives.