Kicking up some speed

Getting ready to run in the magic hour

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.

Low tide at Point O'Halloran

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.

Sun setting at Point O'Halloran

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.

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