It’s 6:15pm when I arrive at Point O’Halloran for my scheduled 8km run. The tide is way out and the sun is going down to the west, casting long shadows. I heard this time of day described as the magic hour in the YouTube clip I shared here this week and the description is perfect for this afternoon’s run.
I’m supposed to be running 8km aerobically with five 100m strides somewhere on the run. But after a week off I’m ready to go like a bull at a gate, and that’s exactly what I do. I want to run the 10km at Byron Bay Triathlon in 45 minutes so I need to put all the long slow miles behind me. I need to change my mindset from being content with 6:30 pace in training to trusting that I can run faster. And, while I could have quite easily done 8km at 6:30 pace with the 100m strides fitted in, I found myself running significantly faster, and enjoying it.
With scenery like this to run past it’s no wonder that I felt like I had wings as I completed my first kilometre in 4:51 and then the second in 4:23. The second kilometre felt so good that I decided to keep pushing a bit for the third, which I completed in 4:53, considerably faster than the 6:30s I’ve been doing in my recent training sessions.
I intentionally slow down for the fourth kilometre (5:54), taking it easy down the slippery steps to the Victoria Point jetty and stopping twice to take water from a bubbler. I run out along the jetty twice, enjoying the special moment when the last dim rays of light disappeared and the sky turned from deep navy blue to black. I couldn’t help but think “this is why I do it”.
It’s totally dark as I run back to my car. Occasionally a street light casts some light in my direction on the waterfront path about 100m away but for the most I can’t see anything but the stars, the flashing lights on the navigation beacons out on the bay, and the sliver of moon. It’s pretty.
I run my fifth kilometre fairly easy (5:35) as I pick my way along a cracked section of pathway before picking up my pace for kilometre six (4:47). After pushing myself for much of the run I decide to warm down over the final two kilometres, which I complete at 5:38 and 5:36 pace respectively. With the darkness I decide not to run my 100m strides because I can’t see the ground and don’t want to injure myself. But I’m sure I still achieved the intended goal of the run – to pick up some pace.
Total: 8.0km @ 5:10 pace.