Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gordonvale 5k Cross-Country Race Report

Gordonvale is a town about 30 minutes south of Cairns, entirely based on cane sugar production. There are massive cane fields nearby, and the town's epicentre is the mill that spews out billows of sweetly smelling smoke. It is what I would call a country town, but happens to be quite near Cairns itself. Every year, they are the hosts to the infamous Pyramid Race, which is a 12k run race that starts in Gordonvale and climbs up Walsh's Pyramid, which is a beastly steep climb from sea level up to 922m in 3km. Rough! My friend was doing the race, and I opted to race the 5k, seeing as I had a 70.3 in one week's time.

Race day:
We had a pretty relaxed morning. The race only started at 2pm, so we made our way slowly over to Gordonvale, and did a 1h30 relaxed road ride together through the cane fields. Pretty, and quite windy!
We then changed, ambled through the Gordonvale fair. At 2pm, I saw Laura off on her Pyramid Race adventure.
I promise I'm not pooping in public... although
looks are deceiving, in this case. 
Not long after, the 5k cross-country race began. Many kids took part in the race, as did many casual joggers, and some more serious runners as well. Our 5k race went across part of the same course as the Pyramid Race, that is, we ran up to the base of the pyramid (just under 3k) and then rather than go up it, we ran straight back into town. So, although advertised as a 5k, it was just under 6k of running!

I purposely did not go out too hard. Almost the entire field went off at a 400m sprint pace, and I controlled my first 1k so that I could build up to speed rather than build up an insurmountable amount of lactic acid almost immediately. Within 500m I started passing most of the field back, although some phenomenal kids I never even got to pass. Most kids go out sprinting but die within a couple hundred meters. There are some that have no idea of how fast or slow they are going, they just run, and some don't slow. It's phenomenal to watch kids race, they really go all in.

The race was a tough one, but a short run race is the one instance where I enjoy an out-and-back. We ran out on roads, then turned off onto a path, crossed a train line or two, hopped over some stones, and made our way onto the grass near the cane fields. Once on a gravel road at the base of the Pyramid, at about the 3k mark, we turned around and ran back. It was at this point that I saw that I was in 2nd place female, and the girl ahead was flying! I made sure to really crush the girls behind me so that they'd have no chance of catching up, and just ran it in, HARD. It was awesome!!
For the 6k, I had a time of 27:xx, 2nd female.
Surprisingly enough, the first female was 12. years. old. Absolutely phenomenal!! Sadly enough (but good for me), that meant she wasn't in the "open female" category, so I ended up getting 1st female open, and a 200$ paycheck! Yeehaw!! (The race organization recognized her achievement and scrounged up a gift certificate for her)

This result was definitely not what I was expecting because this was the second last day of a huge 3-week build in training, and I was EXHAUSTED. But I shut my emotions down, didn't look at my watch the entire time, and just ran by feel. I was surprisingly quite consistent, but I know not as fast as I could have been, had I been fresh. No, the competition wasn't particularly fierce, but I'm glad I got a hard workout in before the taper began, and that hard workout happened to pay me 200$. :D

As I waited around for my friend to finish the Pyramid Race, I got changed, and chatted with the lady face painting the children. She made me a pretty flower:
Soon, Laura finished in 4th open female (yay!), and I received my monies:
That's me up there somewhere...

The next day, I did my last hard workout before taper began: a 2 hour ride into a 1h30 brick run.
And now I am in full-on taper mode, thank goodness!

I'm going to use the 200$ to help my partner afford a wetsuit, which he'll need in the training for his very first half-ironman: Challenge Wanaka half-iron, January 2013. Super excited to go back to our home in New Zealand to train with him again!! First up, though, is making my way down to Yeppoon for the 70.3 this weekend. :)


  1. haha I love your pics! You're so cute!
    Congrats on the win! I know what you mean about kids racing. I ran a 2km last fall and it was so neat to see the kids just give it their all. Many have no idea how to pace themselves so it's a constant start-stop event for them! One second they're bursting, the next they're doubled over. But they really go for it.
    Really love the pics, and once again, what a beautiful race, looks gorgeous. I have to say, I think the ultra runs I've done have ruined me for running in this city. I can't imagine running where you are, so amazing. Look at that wide open space. So lovely!
    Good luck this weekend!

    1. Thanks Steph, it was a fun wee race, made awesome by those kids. :)
      Haha, and in comparison, running in Cairns (where I was) SUUUUUCKS compared to running in Wanaka. Trail running is the greatest! Maybe you should move to a trail runners paradise... ?