Muddy Mayhem and a Motivating Matchup: My Race at McCann Dam

The rain gods weren’t exactly on my side for my second race of the season. It was at McCann Dam, one of my favourite 5km tracks, and a place I hadn’t raced at in over two years. Heavy rain just days before meant one thing: the infamous muddy section along Poverty Hill Track, was guaranteed to be a challenge.

Of course, that didn’t register when I excitedly laced up my brand-new Brooks Launch 9 shoes (whom I’ve called Ebony), delivered just the day before. New shoes, new race – what better way to break them in, right?

My goal for this race was simple: maintain a consistent 5km pace. The first kilometre felt great, right on target. Then came the mud. Let’s just say my fancy new shoes got a baptism by trail, as I navigated the sloppy section with a series of strategic dodges and weaves.

Regaining my composure, I settled into a rhythm. Don’t be fooled by McCann Dam’s seemingly flat layout – it’s a sneaky course with a long, gradual climb that creeps up on you. Despite the challenge, I found myself gaining on Elise, a fellow runner 25 years my junior who always seems to have boundless energy. It became a fun game of leapfrog – I’d pass her on the downhills, only to have her overtake me on the inclines. This friendly competition pushed me to keep digging deep.

In the final kilometre, I kicked things into high gear and delivered the strongest finish I’d had in a long time. Sure, Elise crossed the line just ahead of me, but honestly, I was thrilled to have kept pace with her throughout the race. The final time: 26 minutes, a personal best I hadn’t achieved in ages.

Oh, and as for the shoes? Despite the mud, they emerged squeaky clean – a testament to both their quality and the years of trail running!

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