Completely different conditions for running last night. Despite a hot week, it had rained for most of the day. By the start of the race, another shower had taken hold and steady rain fell. Thankfully, the temperature was not cold, so it wasn’t uncomfortable to run in. And a plasic pocket to put the map in helps it stay dry. These are provided by the organisers.
Being close to home, I anticipated the hilly conditions. With the course split in two by the Greensborough Bypass, I expected the northern section to be flatter than the southern section. I also knew I would have to take some controls over the bypass, so decided to start there to get a few close by and then work around the north. I also planned to use the run along the river as a stretch of flat tracks as I knew heading away from the river would provide climbing.
After my initial count of controls, I planned only to get #4 & #10 over the bypass and then complete all the northern section. Once I’d gotten #4, however, I noticed I could use more of the river, by heading down from there and I was easily able to work in 1 – 12 – 19 – 5 before heading to #10. As this detour was all downhill, I felt good about my progress. I did lose concentration for a short time and missed #5 while running along the street and only realised as I turned towards the overpass. I probably spent too long deciding whether to head back for it or skip it and grab an extra one on the way home. At this point, I hadn’t decided which 6 control to get in the north, so I went back along the track to get it. I ran an extra 350 metres because of it.
After getting #10 and jumping down a small cliff to get back to street level, I read the map slightly wrong and headed off the main road before heading down the right path after the round-about to #2. I was still feeling pleased with my progress as I ran along the flat track to #11, even knowing the uphill sections to come.
The climb back up to the road was close to vertical, and slippery from the rain. It seemed to go on forever and after #20, I had real trouble continuing directly up the hill towards #7. At this point, I felt I’d lost too much time to feature well in the placings.
Again, out of #7, I took a little time to regain my bearings in order to get through the school and out towards #6 & #15, which had been placed nicely together and would be my final two controls. From #15, I ran well to complete the route. I’m happy with the way I’m finishing at the moment.
The route took in 5.65km, but was by far the most hilly event to date. Again, I finished in 45 minutes but with obviously a little slower overall pace than normal.
Knowing the slopes around the course, I can’t think of a better route I could’ve run in the end. I maybe could’ve taken in #8 at the start, then instead of #20, gone back up to the road from #2 to 9 – 14 – 20 – 3 to complete the course.
It turns out I finished third in C-course. I’m surprised by this, but it indicates I’m at the right level. I’m not ready to run the 8km B-course yet, though. Perhaps by next season, I will be. Overall, I’m in first place, but only two runners have raced all four events. Once we get to the second half of the season where only the best six events are counted, I’ll probably find myself drop back to 3rd or 4th.
Next week is back to Doncaster and a much flatter course - I hope.