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COMRADES 2017 – AND SO THE PHYSICAL PREPARATION CONCLUDES

May 29, 2017

RACE WEEK! RACE WEEK! RACE WEEK! OK so I’m not the next coming of the legendary Franco Cozzo who loves “Foot-Is-Gray” as much as I love the Footscray Football Club trading as the Western Bulldogs. Yet here we are in another airport terminal waiting for the first flight of several that will get me to the ultimate challenge, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Not much else can be done now apart from a few clothing purchases and the acquisition of a few other items that will be necessary. No point in training the house down this week because saving the gas for the big dance next Sunday is a must.

The last stop on the physical preparation calendar, save for perhaps a couple of short light jogs in Durban and perhaps one in Melbourne tomorrow should I get up early enough was the local Rocky River Run. Usually this would be a hard slog of a half marathon for me to kick the preparation for the Gold Coast Marathon into another gear (don’t worry folks, I’ll be doing the marathon on the Coast again this year pending death or serious injury). This year was a little different, dropping back to the shorter distance with this weekend in mind. Plus there was a little family connection running alongside my sister in law….well at least for a kilometre or so before the competitive juices kicked in.

Being the first competitive 10km race I had done in some time was different. Having to remember that you didn’t need to load up to the usual extent prior to half and full marathons can be challenging, especially after a long day at the other office (footy) and needing to eat something following a long day of being the everywhere man. Then of course came the usual pre-race routine which for the local event is different to others with a 45 minute walk to the start line before a light stretch prior to the horn to set us on our way.

The course this year was different in that sections of the course from the previous years had been rendered unusable due to the flooding prior to Easter. Instead of a single lap blast starting and finishing at the Victoria Park precinct, it was a 2 lap jam that started at the Mayor’s pet project on Quay Street. Stroking egos can be happy if it’s done the right way, although to be honest I don’t think the Mayor needed any more stroking of hers. Political opinions aside, the double crossing of the river remained, the narrow sector across one of the bridges continued to require patience (although thankfully this year we didn’t have to contend with prams wandering across to interfere with current racers when theirs was a little later), and the new course did allow for runners to look across the other side of the road to see how far they had left their mates (or in my case, family members) behind. Seven minutes may not seem a lot unless it’s a Grand Final or a delayed delivery of your pizza, but waiting that long after you’ve finished can seem an eternity, even more so when others in events you’re not even in are passing. That’s how long the gap was between family members, but we both finished without a pause which is a triumph for the sis if not bragging rights for me.

Well I tried blocking out the sun for the Sister in Law….it half worked!

As for my run, running around a 52:20 on the surface can seem a little slow given I’ve gone quicker in the past, even down to sub 48:00 in training. But there are other factors at play, such as

  • Not being fresh having played and umpired football matches the day before
  • The training period that I’m in with Comrades in mind
  • Narrow sections of the course where overtaking and impatience is not the order of the day
  • The lack of competitive running over that distance in recent years, where the 14km City2Surf in Sydney is generally the shortest distance I cover competitively in a year of running

That said the rhythm was stable throughout, the pace was comfortable enough to have a chat to other runners without sounding overly stressed, and most importantly the body came through without major hassles. The one thing I need to learn from this is to tape the straps of the knee brace that I’ll be using for Comrades so that the velcro isn’t scraping across the skin gap between upper leg tights and other knee (which will likely also be bandaged, to what extent at this stage is unclear).

 

The next update will come in a couple of days, when I’ll share the plan to a finish for the big dance!

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One Comment
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