Went out to Darlington with Sugar and Sas early this morning to run the infamous pipeline. My apprehension was well-founded and it wasn't too far into the run before I was privately wishing that I hadn't overdone it on Wednesday after Tuesday's hard interval session.
The pipeline is a really challenging run and we ran it at a good pace, especially the second half after a stop at Fred Jacoby Park for a gel. Running on the gravel trails is fun but hard going both physically and mentally as you really need to watch your footing and keep your wits about you.
The run was a good Boston simulation with some downhill running at the start followed by a lengthy stretch of rolling hills and then some steep uphills before the last 9 or so km was largely flat or downhill. The benefits of running with other people were apparent to me today as Sugar set us the task of running the last 9.6km from Mundaring back to Darlington in under 40 minutes. We made it with 10 seconds to spare although I found it hard going.
After his rough trot over the past couple of weeks, Sugar is certainly back on track based on today's run. I was hanging on as we were tearing down the trail at the end while he was pointing out the interesting points of the Darlington half marathon course (which is being run on 22 March). Both he and Sas were both running really strongly while I am still a bit of a novice at trail running. I am pretty sure I wouldn't have run that hard if I had been running on my own, in fact I wouldn't have been running up there at all as I'm pretty sure I would be lost about 5 minutes after leaving the road.
The run was 33.72km at an average pace of 4.39/km but it really was a classic progression and fast finish long run. Although it was a tough run, it was the sort of workout that now it is in the bank should have huge benefits physically and psychologically when the going gets tough in Boston. If all goes to plan in Boston, then I think I will look back on today's run as one of the key workouts in my preparation.