I went to my first Nike Sydney City Run Club, had my first serious bout of post-run nausea (it lasted 2 days), fell behind in my thesis writing (hence the lack of blogging), bought new shoes, and smashed my "official" 10km PB! Actually, it was an unofficial PB too, but I'm glad to be rid of my old official 10km PB. :)
Given how far south I am on Wednesdays, the only time I can make Nike Run Club is on Mondays - so last week I hopped onto the bus into the city, and joined the 6'00" pace group for a 12km tour of the Sydney city. Well, after 3km I was feeling very comfortable (so obviously I recovered well from my 18km long run the previous day), and when someone in the group made a run to catch the 5'30" group, I went with him!
After a couple of kilometres at the faster pace I decided that I would try to hold that pace for as much of the run as possible - it would be a great little hit out for Saturday's Nike She Runs 10km, and I could see if I could get used to my intended faster pace breathing rhythm. I managed to do this (although the final climb up from Darling Harbour was tough, especially with traffic lights breaking what little momentum you had). I only covered 10km in the end as the tailenders of the 5'30" group only covered 10km, and I had no idea where the 12km course went (aside from knowing it went into Pyrmont). Unfortunately Nike doesn't record my fastest times (only the fastest, which has since been beaten), so looking at my Strava records - I ran a 56:57 10km. I figured that with a faster first 3km, and the flatter Centennial Park course, I could break 55 on the weekend.
Unfortunately on Monday night I developed my worst case of post-run nausea. Tuesday was awful - struggled to get out of bed, and my energy was non-existant. I needed food for energy, but couldn't eat because of the nausea! Then came the migraine, so I shut all the curtains and lived a fairly dark Tuesday. It also meant I got ZERO work done on my thesis. :( I couldn't eat properly until Wednesday night (I snuck in a couple of slices of toast on Tuesday, and toast and a banana during the day on Wednesday), which had me a little worried about how I would feel on Saturday. I wanted that time! So on Thursday, I went for an easy run to Bondi Junction and back - I could still feel the nausea, but it wasn't putting me off. I figured it (and my appetite) would be OK by Saturday.
So Saturday - it was another great night organised by Nike. Last year's course was 13km, and only had 3000 entries. This year they cut it back to 10km (probably so that they would not have to block off as many roads) and had 6000 entries! I also recall that the start last year was a little different - yes, there were three waves (like this year), but they had sub-waves within each main wave to try and relieve the congestion. I didn't mind too much - I walked all the way until the start line (many had already started running), so that gave me a little space to get going. I had to do a bit of weaving here and there, but the only time I really got annoyed was at the top of the hill when people would just stop running and walk, with very little notice!
The other congestion points were drinking stations and corners. I avoided the first two drink stations - actually, I went all the way on the outside of the first one, as almost everyone came over the side I was running on and squeezing me out... hence that little bump on the course just before 2.5km. The first corner was chaos, which I expected and so intentionally took the course wide for at least the first 3km. I could hear trips and falls too, which I think could have been avoided if we had the sub-waves, as it would have eased congestion on that first corner.
Having the hill early helped to thin out the crowd - although, as I said earlier, it was annoying when people would just stop suddenly to walk. I do wish they'd just slow down earlier and maintain that pace, but perhaps that's what they always do on their runs... except there wouldn't be any crowds then! Once clear of the climbing (and the drink station), I was able to get into my intended breathing pattern and ran the next 4km at my fastest pace of the night.
I only checked my watch once during the run - at 5km, where my split was 26'12". This was faster than my parkrun PB (i.e. I had definitely gone hard once the field thinned), and was well under what I needed for a 55 minute 10km. While it was faster than what I would have liked, as there was a risk of completely losing it in the second half, I decided to approach it as "time in hand." I could run positive splits, and still get under 55!
The hard pace was definitely felt in my legs beginning to after 6.5km. I decided that the only way I could push through would be to take the next drink station, slow down, pick up my cup and walk until I had had enough water. It doesn't seem to show on the map above (there's no red near the last drink station location), but it's what I did, and it seemed to help... until the 2nd last kilometre. From afar, the 8km distance marker was a little obscured and looked like 9km (the last marker we had was 7km, and I felt as if I had run more than 1km since then). Of course, once I approached, I saw the 8km and was a bit demoralised. It was my slowest km of the race (except for the climb up Congestion Peak).
Once I saw the 9km marker, I picked up again and ran my last km in 5'03". :) I finished in 53'08" - well under 55 minutes, and while my second 5km was slower, it was still under 27 minutes (and thus at least faster than my second-best parkrun time). Officially, my time was 53'06", which means I can get rid of my awful Run4Fun 10km of 2011 (67'47") - the only other time I entered a 10km race!
While a bit cold, the Inner West Joggers at the event met up after the race, and we had Mexican - which I have now decided is a fantastic post-run cuisine. Great run + good food with lovely people = fantastic night!
Summary: 10.3km @ 5'58"/km, 5.4km @ 6'57"/km, and 10km @ 5'16"/km
Milage for the week: 25.6km