Running (Anzac Day Challenge) 3:47:00  38.2 km (5:57 / km)
Trail race! With a couple of rogaines in the bank and regular beer stairs, I figured it was time to give the running mojo return another nudge with a trail event.
The Anzac Day Challenge is a 40K thing from Manly Dam to St Ives showground pretty much up all my favourite tracks. It would be difficult to design a run better suited for me at the moment - home trails, rough trails, not too much h climb and a nice goldilocks length. Steve's minigaine a couple of weeks ago was a good hit out - felt pretty good at the time, but bonked after 2.5 (of 3) hrs. Kinda hoping the training effect would be useful today.
A well organised 6am bus ride from the finish to the start made for a logistically easy day, and before I knew it we were off on the 1.5km bitumen warmup alongside Manly Dam. I found myself in a group of about 7 dudes at first - no evidence of guns off the front that would smash us all today - and settled in until we crossed the Dam and headed around the Eastern side of the lake. Following the tried and tested 'talk to stop running too fast' had a chat with Tom from Wollongong (who won) and his brother Rob from Heathcote (Tom stayed the night with Rob, but it was still an early start eh).
On to the firetrails and Rob cleared out with a tall stylish looking dude in black that I mentally dubbed Pierre. Was happy to let them go as we climbed up the trail I take Maxi running on to the aquatic centre and then in to the new super wiggly MTB trails alongside bantry bay rd that were fun but dizzy-inducing.
At Seaforth oval Tom and Pierre were a couple of minutes away, and I acclerated down the Timgetter stairs to drop the guys with me. The lower bantry bay track is really rough, and as I know it so well figured I didnt want to give them a line. Really enjoyed flowing thru here and felt pretty good.
A lonely run over the natural bridge and around the ol' killarney heights stomping ground to Davidson park, still feeling good - and pleased to see that my watch had the course 2k shorter than advertised at this point. Was told I was 3-4min behind Tom (who had a killer tattoo sleeve by the way).
On to the firetrail next to the river, and I caught Pierre - who's Aussie drawl resulted in a quick mental name change to Barry. Barry was stuffed. From there it was in to my favourite section thru to the cascades. As I was feeling OK and know every rock I didn't expect anyone to come from behind here, and was thus surprised by red shirt guy who turned up very rapidly. Instead of the expected smoke--by, he stayed behind and dropped off a couple of times. I figured if I could keep the momentum up thru the tricky bits, and relax on the easier sections he might crack trying to keep up - which he did. Stopped at the cascades drink station and never saw him.
Quick bottle refill at the Cascades signalled the end of the fun bit, and it was time to switch to 'just get home' mode. Slogged up the Quarry Hill (5:10), and then rolled around the firetrail to Kitchener st and the big climb to Mona Vale Rd. Ouch.
5k to go, and I figured I was sorted - until the course headed up some single track climb thing I've never taken and was hard to run on. Survived, and was pleased to find I could still generate some leg speed on the weird bitumen bike path in the bush towards home.
Without about half a k to go, I rounded a corner and saw a knackered Tom up ahead. Just too far away to catch, and I was suitably stuffed anyway. Rolled in 30sec behind and went straight to the coke bottles.
A great morning out all in all. Bewdiful weather, fun rocky trails and running much better than I expected. The recent hit outs certainly helping the fitness to return, and I paid proper attention to nutrition this time unlike the Steve-gaine. Good times.