Summer Run Country – Stephen Wong
Race Date: 4th November, 2018
For me, this race is the last of 3 consecutive running races I've done over 3 weeks (one race every weekend). First was Fernleigh 15 then the Bouddi Coastal Run 21km and finally this Summer Run Country 10km. Maybe you think I'm tired because of so many races but for the race week, I would only do around 50km per week (averaged around 70-80km per week normally) and would also take 2 non-consecutive rest days instead of the usual 1 day. I felt super fresh going into this 10km and almost felt I haven't done enough running.
This race is also my first 10km race I've ever done. Normally, I would always take the half marathon option just because it was $10 more. This time around they only offered the 10km and since I was still in PB shape, I thought I'd take that opportunity!
Got up at around 5am, did the usual bub feed, prepped everything and out the door at 6:30am. Got there by 7am and the triathlon held at the same time as the Summer Run was well under way. Made my way to the registration tent and collected my bib then went for a warm up which turned out to be around almost 5km exploring Morpeth a bit.
I found a few more familiar faces than the Bouddi Coastal Run looking around, but I was the only one in the Flyers kit in the end! I met Simon White who is a Flyer but was running in a NSW athletics kit. He did give me a few pointers on how to tackle this race and to go easy at the start. I've probably heard this same advice hundreds of times but “never” did put it into real practice. Thought I'd give it a go and really force myself to go easy depending on how I felt and how the front was. I did see a few other Flyers but everyone else was involved with the triathlon rather than the 10km race.
Before the race started, I set my watch to beep if I go slower than 3:55/km and a different beep if I go faster than 3:45/km. My ideal pace was 3:50/km as I was aiming for around 38 mins for 10k. Unfortunately, the course was not ideal for a 10k PB as it was mostly dirt and grass with only a few hundred metres of road. This was a 4-lap course which had 4 turning points per lap and was enough to lose a fair bit of time.
Ready... set... go! - Leaving the start line only 4 people were in front of me. Simon White was in the lead with Imogen Bailey tagging along. Shayne Pilgrim and Matthew Morgan was in the next little group. I was tagging behind these 2 until I forced myself to take it a bit easier and drop back a bit. The watch was going off constantly for the first 2 km saying I was going around 3:55 – 4:00 and thought to myself that it's ok and this is me taking it easy at the start. I knew I had to run according to how my body felt even though I know it wasn't my ideal pace.
2km – I felt warmed up and great at this stage! Time to pick up the speed. Shayne and Matthew were about 10s in front of me. They were still visible and now it's time to close the gap and pick off whoever I can. Simon was way in the lead and knew I had no chance to catch him.
3km - Imogen looks like she's blown up from running with Simon as she drops behind Shayne and Matthew. I end up passing her. In the meantime, I'm getting ever closer to the 2 in front of me.
3.5km - I put on a little surge and pass Shayne and Matthew. I drop back the pace a bit to what it ideally should be after a while. I'm sitting in 2nd place overall and just need to maintain it!
3.5km+ - I could hear Matthew breathing right behind me all the way as the laps progress. With every km, I put in more effort and my pace picks up a tiny bit every time, but I can still hear his breathing loud and clear. I do a few surges here and there to see if I can shake him off, he keeps coming back. This continues for the whole race.
Finish line – I'm pushing super hard on the last turn around and he still doesn't give up. Only 100m to go and I can still hear him breathing down my neck. I drop the hammer as always at this point and kick in order to secure 2nd place in the race. I finish with only 4 seconds in front of Matthew!
I'm very happy that I was able to come 2nd and get a podium finish in my very first 10km race. Finishing time was 41:38 which was fairly disappointing as I hoped to get sub 40 at the very least for my first 10km race. In reality I did, as the course was 10.6km long and first 10km was run in 39:13 but there is only gun time in this race.
Refuelled and rehydrated then did another 10km easy run just so I could do around 25km since I was my long run day. Came back in time for the presentation and collected my first running trophy!
I believe I did a better job this time around as the sole representative of the Flyers! Overall quite happy with the race. I was able to put a race strategy in motion and execute it as I wanted to for the first time instead of just "going hard". Even though I said I was going easy at the start, my actual splits weren’t that slow. It felt easy to go at that pace, there was no push for that pace psychologically and even held back a lot more than usual. Most people tend to go too hard because it feels easy at the start and then blow up. Instead, I was able to ramp it up from midway to a strong finish!
That’s enough racing me for now! Until next time...