Well, 4 months of training and dedication all came to an end today at the last of Salomon Trail Series races at Anglesea. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and to top it all off, I had the whole family there to support me, Bex and Steve who were also running albeit in the medium course.
This blog could go on about the race and the atmosphere and finishing in an overall third in my age division, but I want to step back and reflect on my series. I want to reflect on my training and mind set, and if it paid off.
Way back in May, when I entered the series, I made the decision to drop my long runs over the weekend and turn them into shorter runs and to push myself closer to my threshold. So, did it work?
|Early in race 1|
Race 2 at Lower Plenty was my run. It was my favourite course from last year and the terrain that best suited my strengths. My mindset was in the right place. I still felt strong from my summer into autumn running and I was on a confidence high from race 1. I went out fast and with the leading pack and ran to my threshold. I was able to keep just behind the pace setters for the first couple of ks before they turned on the afterburners and did their thing. Throughout the run I felt strong, and ran to my strengths through the single trails and up the hills. When I was pipped at the post in the Suunto sprint I knew I had given it my all. I was absolutely stoked to finish 5th over the line and 4th in the division. A top 10 series finish was looking quite likely.
Between Lower Plenty and Olinda I found myself in the company of a lovely little cold. I felt a little flat and I think my training suffered. I had been able to keep to my shorter, harder weekend runs and enjoyed them, but found that I wanted to be hitting the hills with my mates from the DTR for those 20k plus weekend runs. But, I’d made my decision to alter my training and I was going to stick to it.
Race 3 at Olinda was fun. I’d run some of the course in the previous weeks and I was looking forward to it. I still had a touch of the cold but my lungs were clearer than they’d be in the weeks since Lower Plenty and I had ambitions. Hey, the series could be run and won from these results. My race strategy was to go out hard and fast on that epic downhill start and see how well everyone else could run uphill. Well, I did just that. I went out fast, and it was thrilling. Smashing it out down those hills was so much fun, and for the next couple of ks through the moderate climb I was going ok.
|Just before the cartwheels...|
Between Olinda and Anglesea I did have the weekends spare to do a couple of 12-15k runs in the ‘nongs and although I wasn’t running them as strongly as I had previously I enjoyed running the extra distance again. It was nothing as fast as I was able to, but it felt good to know that I could still do it.
|Chilled at the start|
Hooting down the track to the beach and onto the sand I was greeted not only by my family, but my extended family as well, which was a great surprise.
Hitting the Suunto Sprint for one last time I finished the series the
way I started it in Kew, nailing my final sprint. Finishing only minutes behind
me was Bex, winning the medium course and Steve wasn’t far behind her. Sharing
this day was the icing on the cake. I was also more than happy to finish in 12th and round out my divisional placing in 6th.
|Loving the almost 'Pose' form.|
What I also loved about the series this year was how the Dandenong Trail Runners group has grown from a few regular weekend hill warriors into a close knit family. It was great to have the support of those who’d finished the relays, 50k and 100k events yesterday. Being able to catch up with them and to cheer on home the medium and long course runners added to the thrill. Hearing so many of our names called out for race placing’s and series wins today topped it all off.
Finally that 99% certainty I had of finishing the series in 3rd? After patiently waiting for our division to be presented and the nerves growing, my name was called and I finally got to stand on the podium as the 3rd place finisher in the Men’s 20-39 year old division.
So where to next? Yes, I’ll be signing up again next year. I’ll continue to fine tune my training, although I think I underestimated the importance of the weekly long run and getting the right amount of ks under your belt. I also missed running with my mates in the hills.
Till next time, enjoy your running where ever that may be and wherever it takes you.