Embrace the Turtle: Strategic Running and Starting the Season Strong

The unspoken rule of club runners? Don’t win the first race. It might sound odd, but hear me out! A victory tanks your handicap, making future wins tougher.

This year’s SAAC season kicked off with the Grampians Insurance handicap, a mass start with staggered finishing times based on past performances. As a 12-year club veteran, I enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather, but winning wasn’t the goal.

Gone are the days (2013’s 23:52!), when every SAAC run was a full-on race. Today, I ran a respectable 26:39, focusing on a steady tempo rather than a blazing start, especially considering the sneaky uphill finish.

Around the 3km mark, a friendly competitor surged past. In my younger days, I would have chased them relentlessly. Now, I channel my inner “turtle” – slow and steady wins the race (or at least the season!).

Overall, the race went according to plan! I aimed for a 5:15 average pace, and with some rolling hills, I finished at 26:39, right on target.

Continuing the spirit of the season, I donated my old running shoes to a good cause – one runner’s worn-out treads become another’s fresh start!

While I’ll miss the next few races due to prior commitments, I’ll be back after Easter, ready to keep embracing the turtle and tackling the season strategically (and comfortably!).

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