The Launceston ten is a race that I always love to do because it is a big part of my local sporting community. Being born and raised in Launceston it’s good to be able to support the local races and it’s even better to get a good result!
Last year I went out with the ambitions of running sub 30 but because of the lack of training I was able to fit in beforehand, and some poor pacing I faded over the last 5k and finished in a very disappointing 31:42. I had achieved a 31.18 the year before that at age 16 which made the time even more disappointing. So this year I was out to redeem myself.
In the weeks leading into the race this year I had been training really well and was confident I could dip under the 30 minute barrier come race day. But then came the weather... Super strong southerly winds blew in and were going to make the return 5km trip home a struggle. This changed tactics completely and when talking with coach, Kim Gillard, we decided 30 minutes was still possible but I'd have to go out harder than first expected and try and hold on, on the way home.
From the gun it was clear Ben St Lawrence wasn't waiting around for anyone and with him went Liam Adams. For the first 5k I was able to sit in a large group of strong, classy runners that included Olympians Martin Dent and Lee Troop. We were running a bit quicker than planned, but because of the tail wind I wasn't concerned and just sat in and went with the group. We got to the 5k turn around in a touch under 14:30. Then straight after the turn the group began splintering, and runners began dropping one by one. Not long after the turn, Elliot, Dent, White and Ashkettel had got a small gap on what was left of the group. I wasn't sure if I'd take the risk and catch on because I knew if I got dropped I'd be in no man’s land a long way from home...but I tried, and after not long I had caught up and was able to sit on the back and recover for a while. After a while of just running with the group, the pace was starting to slow and I knew if we didn't pick up the pace we wouldn't be able to run under the 30 minute barrier that I was aiming for. I was hoping to be able to just sit in the group the whole way home into the wind, but I had no option. With between 3 and 4 km to go I went to the front of the Pack and picked up the pace in the hope that a few of the runners will be willing to go with me and work for the sub 30 minute time. I didn't look back to see if there was any affect in the group, but thankfully for me after not too long Dent came back to the front to help me set the pace. After a short time though I was on the front again from the 7km point until around 1500m to go when Ben Ashkettle surged and gapped everyone in the group. Dent came around me and held a 10m gap to Ashkettle, I really had to dig deep here to stick with Dent and I managed to. Just.
In the last 500m there are two short hills, the kind of hills that wouldn't bother many runners most of the time, but at the end of 10km they hurt! A lot. It wasn't just me feeling it though, as on the first hill (more like a bump) I passed Dent and was then after that sub 30 minute time. I was going all for nothing towards the finish and managed to pass Ashkettle in the final 50m on the last small hill to cross the line in 30:04, just 6 seconds behind Liam Adams... But still 4 seconds over. I soon forgot about the time though, finishing third in such a high quality race and in such tough conditions I was stoked!
I'd like to thank the major sponsor of the race B&E banking and the organizing team Events South for once again bringing such a quality race to Launceston, giving me the chance to go head to head with the nation’s best.
To be honest not a real lot has happened over the past month so
I'll keep it short and sweet. In saying that though, don't stop reading now just because I've said that as this will still be the best thing you read today.
This time of year it seems that every single triathlete from Australia is jetting around the world off to some warmer climates in Europe while I'm stuck in Tasmania training by myself, freezing my arse off. And it's not even winter yet!! Well it will be when you read this but it's still officially Autumn as I'm writing this. Not that there is really much of a difference in Tasmania, summer seems to last for about two months and then after February it's just winter for the next 10 months. It would be a lot cooler if it would snow, I've been missing the snow since coming back from Poland and wouldn't mind it here. If you ask me the weather should be in the 30s or sub zero- from one extreme to the next, none of this rubbish in the middle!
Early morning rides aren't the same without a sunrise... the days are getting shorter!
I've just made a whole paragraph about the weather so that gives a bit of understanding of what's been happening in my life over the past month... Not a great deal other than too much school and my training.
It did take me quite a while to get back into shape after my break but I seem to be back in action now and training is starting to go really well. Despite the not so consistent pool temperatures ranging from below 20 up to 30 degrees, my arms seem to be getting the job done and I'm starting to move along quite nicely in the pool. Same for the legs as my riding and running are both starting to show some form! Over the past few years about 80% of my run speed sessions I've done by myself, but I've just started training a bit with arguably 3 of the best middle-long distance runners in the state. It's great to have someone that can push me in sessions which should get my running to the next level. Being in a group situation really does make it so much easier, from one week training by myself to the next week training with the group, on the same course, doing the same session, I improved by over 300m in a 20 minute fartlek.
Next month is looking like it will be much of the same, more school, more cold weather and more training. June is also the month of the Launceston 10, an IAAF verified 10km course in my home town, just a ten minute drive from my house to the start line. It is one of the biggest fun runs in Tasmania and one that always attracts a great field, and I think the race record is in trouble this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the winner runs 28:40 or less! I'm looking forward to the race and ready to redeem myself after a shocker last year (getting to the
3km mark in 8:40 had me just about crawling home). I still won't be in great
shape for the race because it's still a long time till I want to be peaking but I'm still hoping for a pretty big race.
Hopefully I've got some good news regarding the race in my June blog. But for now I'm off to watch the live feed of Madrid!
Until next time,
Cheers, Jake Birtwhistle