About the most confusing part of this race was the start. They started the 4pm group at 4:05 so I figured I had an extra five minutes before my start but I headed back over at 4:18 only to hear them call my 4:24 time but I figured that must be wrong so I didn't start. After hearing the next two it eventually twigged that I had indeed missed my wave (turns out the starter just skipped all the 'blanks' in the start list to pull everyone ahead of the clock) so went with the 4:27s, which also included Dave Kennedy even though he was a 4:28 but he was just as confused as everyone else. This also happened to be the wave in which all the previous people who'd missed their times decided to join so we had a fairly large start group and despite the starter saying anyone who missed their time should wait by the side, I wasn't about to be stuck behind this bunch so went anyway.
The Garmin says I had a pretty fast start (somewhere around 3min/km across the oval) but I wanted to be well ahead of the pack by the stairs and that wasn't hard given the majority of people were starting out at my warm-up pace although I could hear Dave loping along right behind me. Passed my first person from the previous wave before we'd even got off the oval.
Entirety of the first lap was the story of stop/start as you wait to get to a set of stairs to find room to get past people, only to get stuck behind between the rows of seats. Caught what I though was one of the fast guys from the previous group and then promptly got stuck behind him as I tried to overtake but he failed to overtake a group of four in front for several stair reps. I tried to go past him but he sat to the right with the people in front to the left and claimed he couldn't get past, which was bollocks. Eventually when he got past I blazed straight through him but had Dave catch and pass me as he was doing double stairs on the ups so that gave me motivation to blow my plan and do doubles too. Given how short the ups and downs were, it wasn't a bad decision with quick turnarounds from up to down to recover but I was taking the downs two at a time as well so it was giving my quads a workout. Got stuck behind heaps of people doing the mini during the second half of the first lap so it was stop/start again.
Partway through the second lap Dave asked if I wanted to take the lead and I had been using his pace as an excuse not to hammer so I did but warned him I may not be doing two on the ups but I did end up doing that whenever possible and slowly edged away from him. That gave me motivation to dig in so I picked up the pace even though the legs had been screaming at me early on in the second lap, at which point I cursed the decision not to take the gel with me (it was safely stashed away in the bag Tash had out on the oval).
The top half of the stadium was harder than the bottom as they were normal sized steps and doing twos required a mental effort so was happy to hit the bottom half again and just bound up the longer steps. 3/4 of the way through I heard the announcer say that 48mins was the fastest time so far and I was sitting on 29mins at the time so knew I should beat that. Legs feeling better on this half so I had enough for a sprint at the end on the oval to finish almost a minute clear of Dave.
Checking the results
it looks like I managed to steal 2nd place overall, only 12 seconds down on the winner, which I could have/should have easily made up if I'd been more aggressive with passing but there's a line between being competitive and being rude. Not sure how accurate the results are though with 3rd and 4th place both women - not wishing to sound sexist but these races are typically dominated by guys and 3rd was only five seconds behind me - and the only system they had of recording laps was having your arm stamped as you first went into the stadium, an area we had to go through three times. My stamps were pretty indistinct by the time I finished and no-one checked to make sure I had three. Tash thinks the guy who beat me must have cheated and refused to believe someone could be faster than me! I told her I'm fast but not invincible ;-) I did win my age category though although the guy in front was in the ten year bracket above me so got beaten by an older fellow.
HR looks a bit dodgy on this race, going straight into the red within the first two minutes and never once dropping below it despite the short 'rests' I had stuck behind people. Top and pants were saturated by the time I finished so might have been messing with the strap.