Sri Chinmoy Prospect Creek 24km raceIt was a nice coincidence to have this event, part of the Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series, on a day when my training program called for a 24km run. I hadn't run this far before but it seemed only a short step up from the half-marathon distance. More significantly, it represented the beginning of unknown territory in the training program - a series of weeks where the long runs become, well, long.
After some windy, wintery days recently it was lovely to have a still, sunny morning for the race. As well as the 24km race there were also 6km and 12km events, all run on bike paths in a large area of parkland and sports grounds in Greystanes. This was a great place to run, insulated from the busy roads nearby and with some scenic stretches and just enough little ups and downs in the course to keep it interesting.
We set off a little after 8am and it was to be a bit over two and half hours later when I gratefully crossed the finish line. I found the run much harder than I was expecting it to be, though I don't really know why. One of the things that I'm learning about running is to accept and work with how you feel on the day: on some days everything seems just right and running is pure pleasure but on others it's little more than the onerous task of dragging a reluctant body and pessimistic mind from the start to the finish. Several times I found myself thinking how unlikely it seemed that I'd ever be able to run the 42 (and a bit) km of the marathon in September. Luckily for me I had the company of Emjay, another CoolRunning member, for most of the race which made it so much easier than it would have been on my own.
After the run there was the traditional apres-race fruit and pancake brekky laid on by the wonderful Sri Chinmoy folk as well as the opportunity to chat with some of the other CoolRunners there that day. It's terrific to be part of a group that brings together people from right across the running spectrum, from my slow end through to runners who talk modestly and nonchalantly about their sub-4 minute per km pace.
Despite feeling like it had been a hard slog, or maybe even because of that, it was very satisfying to have completed the run and gotten this far with my training. I could also tick off another distance record in the exclusive 'slow guy in fancy pants and funny sandals' category.
Thanks to CR Wildthing for the photo