I turned up for the Athletics Victoria 15 km at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat (90 minutes outside Melbourne) certain that I would record a best time over the distance. That certainty was heavily related to the fact that I had never raced 15 km, and had therefore never recorded a time.
It is a race in which a graph of my pacing really does tell the whole story.
Taking place on a 6 km circuit around the lake, the race started with 1.5 km in an anti-clockwise direction before turning around (the sudden dip in the graph), returning back to the start/finish area and then completing two complete clockwise circuits. Still working towards peak fitness I started at a slightly conservative pace, thinking that I would speed up somewhere between halfway and the 10-km mark.
After inconsistent pacing in traffic for the first 3 km (the many ups and downs on the left) I was able to settle into a rhythm. Heading away from the start/finish area we were pushed along by a tailwind (my pace increased to follow the dotted white line of my average), so that on the return journey along the opposite shore of the lake the headwind slowed many of the runners down. I only slowed down slightly (dropping just below my average once more), starting to consistently pass runners.
I picked up the pace as we turned out of the headwind and ran through the start/finish area with one lap to go. I held my pace with the wind behind me (my pace stays clearly above the average) before fighting into the wind (although my pace still drops considerably). I was passing many runners by this stage and with approximately 1.5 km to go I decided to make my push to the finish (the start of my increasing pace to the end), initially into the wind and then with it fading to a cross wind for the final sprint.
It was indeed my best time for 15 km, but the bar has been set for next time.