I finished volunteering yesterday at 5:15pm (following a cheeky tipple while watching the Melbourne Cup), and knew EXACTLY how I'd use the unexpected spare time. Phil was at the Eastside 5k (...I should add that he ROCKED it in 18:38!!!), so I decided I would do my own, self supported 5k on the awesome Cambridge-Karapiro bike path.
I decided during the bike ride home that I'd jog the 2k to the path (big bottle of water in tow), then crank up some tunes and go hell for leather out for 2.5k, then turn around and come back. With the lack of competition and the general fatigue in the old legs, I decided to aim for sub 25, but to hope for sub 24. I knew it would be a bit of a miracle to see anything in the low 23:00s!
I got home a little before 6 and rested for a wee while (eating my- now customary- post volunteering cheerios), then headed out. I soon realised that my legs were even tireder than I'd realised- I just had NO lift in them at all, and the 2ish ks out to the path were a real chore, but I felt energetic and motivated, so I decided to stick with it.
My legs refused to loosen for the first k- I felt as if I'd taken off fast, but my pace sat around the 5:00 mark- usually more like half-m pace than 5k! I checked my HR and saw that it was in the low 150s, so more like E1-2 than race pace. That confirmed that the problem was my legs, so I decided just to keep going and to see what I could do. The first km passed in 5:03, with an AHR of 154. The second km wasn't much better, but I knew once it was done there would only be 500m before the turnaround. It was done in 5:02, with an AHR of 164 (the upper end of my aerobic zone). Even though I was looking at a "season's worst" 5k time, I felt pretty pleased to be running 5:00 ks with a broadly aerobic HR!
There must have been a slight headwind on the way out, because I picked up the pace pretty quickly as soon as I turned around. K 3 was 4:55, but still an AHR of 164 (... my usual HR at this point in a 5k race is in the high 170s!), and the legs finally felt like they were moving of their own accord! I kept it up OK for the fourth k, which was 4:48 (AHR 169... that's a bit more like it!), and all of a sudden it was time to grit my teeth and push the last km. I focussed on picking up the pace every 100m- it mostly worked- and finished it in 4:40, for a total time of 24:30.
The time may not be impressive, but I was pretty damn pleased with this non-race. First, I'm STOKED with the paces I was running at a lowish HR- finally, it's my legs letting me down instead of my heart ;) Secondly, I'm very pleased with the pure negative splits- every km faster than the last, and the second half around 40s faster than the first. Lastly, I was pleased with my ability to keep going on fatigued legs- after all, that's what triathlon is all about.
11 days to go!