Two years ago I ran the 10k event at the Marysville Running Festival, and I loved the course. I was also pleasantly surprised at my 5th placing. It was a coming of age so to speak – the event where I realised I could run well and the dawning of my love of trail running. So, to say I was looking forward to this year’s race was a bit of an understatement. While there were 4 & 10k events, the half and full marathons and the 50k Ultra, it was the 10k that had my name on it.
The night before I completed the mandatory gear check – the DTR singlet, #StrydaForce Styrda compression shorts, #RoyalBay Extreme calf sleeves and the beloved #inov-8 f-lite 252s while Mrs Fish put together the picnic for our lunch.
As we woke on Sunday morning, the forecast drizzle was non existent and there was only a light breeze, perfect!
The trip to Marysville was a hoot – a reasonable blast along the infamous ‘Black Spur’ and beating the GPS arrival time surely a sign of things to come…
The bib and showbag pick up was a very smooth process, the predetermined times for each event kept it hassle free. The kids also loved the free Chupa Chups.
After one last look at the mountains and possible hill climbs, we took off right on 10. Not fully knowing what to expect of this redesigned course, other than that the first 6ks was generally going to be uphill, I settled into a comfortable pace, keeping the lead pack of 20 or so in my sights. It was hard not to get caught up in the moment, as younger runners streamed by and people powered up towards the hill. I was hoping that they had underestimated what was coming.
|We were heading up there...|
We did a half lap of the oval, then peeled of onto the track that took us the short distance towards the road to the falls. Last time I was here we went up that road, today we simply crossed it, followed Mt Kitchener Avenue straight up the hill (thanks Trails Plus) past the residential zone and hit the first trail. The trail itself was well marked – red arrows on the signs and white arrows sprayed on the ground kept us in the right direction. This first section of trail was great, a wider access track with a gradual climb which soon spread out the field. The top three or four runners were now in the zone (and gone with the wind!) while I kept track of the five or six who were now in front of me.
The trail took us through a series of sections – beautiful narrow single track through the bush, wider tree lined access tracks and it rose and fell in all the right places. The climbs were just long enough for me to peg back a place or two and the descents fast enough to be fun, but gradual enough to be fast! As we climbed up towards the road to the falls, I felt strong, and had confidence in what my HIIT training had given me over the last few months. Although I kept a fairly constant speed, I was able to put in surges just near the peaks of the climbs or on the flats and it was these moments where I was able to make the passing moves. It seems funny, but as I was smashing out the trails on the Southern Track, I was visualising my moments of recovery on the treadmill as I eased of the pace after each pass – this gave me the confidence that I could ease the pace for a brief moment, catch my breath and then make my next attack.
At about the 6k mark we hit the main road and started the 2k section that would take us to the falls. After enjoying the trails this was tough, but it was also a little bit of relief as the road was a constant climb. I managed to keep my pace at about 4:25s and reeled in another one or two runners. Just before the falls I saw my first leading runner starting the return to park. I counted two, and knew that there was possibly just one more in front of me, an amazing young fella in the famed Two Bays shirt, who had managed to keep just 100m or so in front of me for the race so far.
It was just after the turn around point at the falls that I caught him, and after briefly running side by side I hit the Tree Fern Gully track for the fast descent to the finish. Last time I took it easy down this section, this year there was a guy in green who was always just ahead of me, and he was getting away. I took it as quickly as I could, but I was starting to fatigue as the finish drew near. I was now catching some of the 21k runners, so I was able to leap frog from one person to the next. Even though I knew they were in a more gruelling event, chasing them down and moving to the next runner was the motivation I needed.
As we crossed Yellow Dog Road and onto the final section of the Tree Fern trail I was willing the end to be near. Last time I hit this last section I let my legs get away from me. Hell yeah it was fun, but this time the quads were a little sore and I just didn't have it in me. The trail twisted and turned, rose and fell and I found myself searching for the next corner and next runner, knowing that each one would bring me closer to the finish. As I hit the last little rise in the track you could see through the bush and over the creek to the park, and you could hear the hum of the crowd – the end was literally now in sight. With a few more lefts and rights and a couple of little inclines, just for fun, I turned left over the bridge and into the finish area.
As I often do, I dug deep for that last little kick to the finish and finished strong, around the 47:30 mark. I had entered the race wanting a strong top 10 finish to reconcile with myself that my training had given me the grounding to run well and to prove that last time was no accident. After how my race had unfolded, I was also hoping to have come in 4th or 5th.
While we waited for the presentations, the family and I went and had a look around the town centre and we were amazed at how much the town has grown after the 2009 fires. We visited the lolly shop – yummo and the farmers market before returning back to the festival where we had our picnic to the tunes of the steel drum band and the kids were then entertained by the roving clown.
So, in summary, I had an absolute ball! I achieved my secret goal of another top 5 finish (bang on 5th), and I am proud of my 47:26 finishing time.
Next year, I might have to do the ten again and also have a crack at the 4k event with Mrs Fish…
Cheers once more,