Canberra Running Festival is always a good weekend away and armed with a full car of Muppet's in the Two Taffys' (Jimmy & Craig) and Pommy Paul Birch the 3 hour drive down passed in no time.
Customary early pasta on the Saturday (with Birchy losing the head again when his pizza arrived late) before an early night then getting set for the 21ks that lay ahead.
Early rain but had cleared as I warmed up with #1 Female Erika and pacer for the day Enda Stankard before hitting the start line. Gave Enda the orders that at best would result in a 85.25 finish but I knew that was always going to be a tall order with the lack of long runs over the past month or so.
Easy first 1k but as soon as the slightest hill comes into play before the 2k marker I'm blowing hard as Erika flew past (never to see again). Settle down after that and exchange some good banter with Enda along the way as he reels of the amount of holidays he has had passing it as work.
Through 5k in 19.40, pretty much on the money but it seems the GPS is reading wrong (short), 7 and 8 you get chance to double back and see oncoming runners that takes your mind off the job ahead.
Another 5k down at 20.33 and the pace has dropped even though the effort seems as hard. I get to track Erika on the flick back at 12ks and see she is 1.30 ahead and Taffy2 is about the same behind as due to our wager I try to do the sums and work out if I'll be paying out once done, and its not looking good as I'm hitting struggle street
Enda, and fair play to him offers some words of wisdom that somehow gets me out of my slumber at the last hairpin (15ks), a good call out to supporter Birchy at 18 and then its the last final slog over the bridge at 19 as we try to find something to get us home.
Its a long last 7 minutes especially the final 500m as you see the finish line but are forced to do the loop around that takes about 2 minutes? I must have been going easy prior as I was able to pretty much sprint the final 500m or so nearer to 3.30 pace to cross over with the clock reading 88.05
Wish I could say I was disappointed in that time but the truth of the matter is I can expect no better without doing the hard work needed
The recovery area is always a hive of activity after as we all compare times, and even though my time was average I still beat #1 Erika by the merest of margins on the handicap by 6 seconds, whilst the Taffy Lad had the mother of all explosions over the final 6 ks to come in some 10 minutes after me - Oh Dear.
Splits were, 3.54, 4.01, 3.50, 3.54, 3.55, 4.02, 3.59, 4.14, 4.07, 4.04, 4.05, 4.04, 4.03, 4.06, 4.09, *4.47, *3.44, 4.07, 4.07, 4.11, 4.06, 2.26 (3.38 pace)
* = under bridge, lost sat.
Waited around after to see 'Run of the Day come in with Darren Jordan recording a 2.50 marathon time and couldn't be happier for the lad. It then started to rain and with the clock still ticking at 3hrs.30 and Taffy James still not home we thought bugger it and decided to retreat to the hotel before heading for a much needed brekkie.
The return journey was as eventful as the one down and before long we were back in Surry Hills for the evening where many a replenished ale was downed.
Great craic and really enjoyable weekend away. Many thanks to old mate Enda as well for coming down and helping out on pacing duties - He actually was pretty good , but please don't be telling him that for Gods sake.
A few pics from the weekend