Monday, January 26, 2009

Canterbury 2009 Australia Day 5.5km fun run

This has to be one of the nicest community runs in Sydney. Organised by Canterbury Council as part of their Australia Day fair, it attracted a great mix of entrants from the very young, running or walking with their parents, to the inspirational veteran Derek White of Woodstock Runners. The course is through parkland, nicely flat and following the Cooks River for most of the way. This morning the river was looking particularly scenic in soft light under a cloudy sky. The clouds also helped to keep the temperature down - a real blessing after the recent 40+°C days.

Once again the event was free to enter ! I don't know quite how Canterbury Council manages this - especially as they provide a generous show bag and icy cold drinks after the run. But all power to them - it's such a good way to encourage people to take part, enjoy some running, and discover what the Cooks River parklands have to offer.

I lined up at the start feeling very ordinary. I'd done 15km and 22km training runs in the previous two days as part of my preparation for the Canberra 50km event in April. So I planned to take it easy and just enjoy the morning. At about the 1km mark I started to feel better and found a rhythm that felt good. I was conscious of running a bit quicker than usual now, but decided to stick with it for a while and see what happened.

At the half way mark I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see that I'd gotten there in about 14 minutes. I began to think that I had a chance of finishing in under 30 minutes, but I'd never run more than 1km that fast before and I didn't want to get carried away (metaphorically or literally). So I just concentrated on keeping my rhythm, enjoying the feeling of skipping over the ground in a way that I hadn't quite experienced before. I'd chosen to wear my Five Fingers Classics for the run and they felt just right. They also provoked a good humoured "why don't you get a pair of proper shoes ?" from the sidelines.

With about 1.5km to go I started to feel a bit puffed but once again just tried to focus on the rhythm of my foot falls and this seemed to help a lot. Then the finish line was in sight and I crossed still feeling good. I felt even better when I learned that my time was 28:15 - my fastest few km ever !

One of the nice things about being habitually slow is that when, for whatever mysterious reason, everything comes together to make for a really good run like this one you really appreciate it.

After the run I joined my family for more fun at the Australia Day fair - with yet more free entertainment including my daughter's favourite: the camel ride !

Many thanks to Canterbury Council for a really enjoyable and friendly day.

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