It’s a bugger when you get a cold that straddles two training weeks as such, which was what happened to me the other week, which meant two relatively ‘low’ weeks of training with just 80kms in each. Having not done anything until Wednesday of last week, I decided the best way to get back into it would be with a thrash on the Mosman Hills course we do typically on a Tuesday morning.
I thought I’d ease into things gently with just one 10km lap and take it nice and steady with a 55 minute lap… or so I thought. Getting to the end of the fourth hill, the dreaded Awaba Street, I noticed that my time was far quicker than it should have been. So from here I decided to give the last hill a bit of a thrash, coming in with a new PB for this training block, 51mins 33secs. Not bad I thought to myself. That was subsequently broken again today on lap2 of 2 with a 51min dead. I really am starting to get a taste for the hills… there was plenty of ‘good hurtin’ on that final hill.
Thursday and Friday were then spent with a bit of Bay running (think fartlek style), before the big dance on Saturday just gone – an out and back from Mooney Mooney to Patonga on the GNW course. The good news is that the GNW race in November is starting to get on everybody’s eyeline and I really do think that this year will be the most competitive of all, if the rumours are true about some of the people thinking of entering. This is my ‘A’ race (subject to getting in of course), and for me it’s everything. It’s been well documented about my struggles with this course, and come race day I want to be in the best possible shape to ‘race’ this one. Of course, factors outside my control, like weather are going to play a big part in how well I can perform – what I can do is just make sure I’m the best prepared I can be – and that means training like a Mother*#%&#$.
So, along with Poppy Darrel, The Smiling Assassin and Gordi the Gopher, 3 tall men and a little boy set off from what is CP5 on raceday for some fun and frolics. Mentally, I’d set a target of 3:30 each way, including stopping time at Patonga where we could allow ‘Picnic Darrel’ to have a rest and eat some sangers and apply his paw paw cream. I’ll admit I’m not a massive fan of this stretch of the course due to it being pretty technical in parts. The first 10ks is pretty tough going, but after that, the remaining 15kms are good going and 3:30 is a little soft if I’m honest.
Darrel had run this section well a few weeks ago, in the rain and mud and took great pleasure in telling us how high the creek was at the waterfall on a number of occasions, much to the amusement of Terry and I. Gordi in the meantime was placed at the back of the group as we really didn’t want to be chewing on the toxic air released from his back bottom, and that I was subject to at 5am as I picked him up from North Sydney.
We moved well, if not leisurely for a 3:16 time to Patonga, whereupon a quick refill and a bite to eat was the order of the day, followed by a hike back up the hill. I was keen to ensure things didn’t turn in a bushwalk on the way back, so duly moved onwards from the pack, followed in hot pursuit by little Terry. Darrel must have been tired of our chat and found some people more his own age when the over 65’s Wyong bushwalking club made an appearance on the trail with about 15kms to go. Gordi, I’d given up hope on, and rightly so when he called us at the finish to announce that he was at Girrakool and lost. An hour of pissing about finally saw the emergence of the running mad Kiwi from the bush and with it a pleasant journey home chewing on the contents of his stomach in the car again.
Final time was 6:42 running time with a 10 min refill at Patonga. Not bad for a day’s work, the trick will be to get that closer to 6 hours come October time – and that means hoofing it with Master Vize.