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A barometer

Starting up Copa Hill
I didn't feel too bad running this morning as I started the ascent of the hill out of Copa, but by the time I was two-thirds of the way up, my perception had changed and it became hard work.  This was the first time I have run my regular 10km "garbage run" in seven weeks, so I knew it would be a good indicator of my fitness.  These "garbage runs", which I discussed in my post titled St Louis, can be a good barometer for how you are travelling, as well as keeping the engine ticking over.

A gentle descent down Ridgeway in Avoca Beach
I always time myself, but never aim for a particular time.  I just run how I feel, and then see what my time is at the end.  For my Copa 10km, which incorporates two big hills and a couple of shorter ones, my times range from 50 minutes to just over an hour.  Of course, how I feel and how fast I go on any particular day, depends on a number of factors including my base running fitness, the previous day's training, how much sleep I had, what injuries I'm carrying, etc.  Based on these factors, I have an expectation of what time I will run to within a couple of minutes, and if my time falls outside of this range, then it might be a cause for concern, or for assurance.  I don't make a big deal out of it in my mind, but might use the information to modify my short-term training or racing plans.

Elevation Profile for my Copa 10km
Feeling tired by the top of Copa hill this morning was certainly consistent with this stage of my comeback from the right arch injury, so it wasn't alarming.  I had had two easy days training since the 16km Muzza's Run on Saturday, so I should have freshened up a bit and this would explain why I felt OK early in this morning's run.  However, my base fitness is not good, so I would also expect to tire quickly on hills or over distance.

The last of the four flights of steps
comprising the Avoca Steps
Copa hill is followed by a long gentle descent down Ridgeway which is good for recovery, then two kilometres of deceptive undulations along the Round Drive that quickly resurrect any fatigue, and that is what happened this morning.  The flat two kilometres through Avoca Beach can be quick if you're feeling good, but hard work if you're going too fast, and then comes the Avoca Steps which are never easy, and particularly tough when I'm unfit or tired.  This morning they were a struggle, but I kept running and then savoured the last kilometres home that incorporate some nice descents, ocean and coastal views, and a few sharpish hills to keep you honest.

This morning, my time was 53 minutes, a little faster than I anticipated, but I did feel more tired than usual for this course, so I'm about where I expected in my comeback.