Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Hidden Half - Bouncing back

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I found out that my C2S time was 84:05. I just felt that I was capable of better, and next year I will do it.

The week's training went well afterwards. I ran every day until Thursday, with an easy 5K recovery on Monday.

I did a quickish 9K on Tuesday that felt pretty good - a nice flat run along the Parramatta River. On Tuesday the New Garmin arrived. It thought that the date was April 1 2026 and it won't talk to the Garmin Training Centre. I fired off an email and I'm really hoping this time that they will let me upgrade to a 305.

Anyway, enough of the shoddy folk at GME. On Wednesday I took it pretty easy on a 7K runthrough the mangroves.

With the Garmin not able to be programmed I decided to just do a tempo session for speedwork on Thursday, so I started with an easy 3K, and follwed that with a hard 3K @ 5:19 pace. A nice easy 1.5K warm down and I felt pretty good.

I took a rest day on Friday. On Saturday Bop was feeling sick, so I did an easy 4 on my own before netball, and went into the Hidden HYalf feeling pretty good. DJ and the girls came along as support, which was great.

The Hidden Half has a nasty little hilly section of a couple of K that you have to run through twice. Given that I was off a dodgy C2S, and my key race from July yielded a flat 1:59, the thought was that I would be ecstatic with Sub 2.

It was never in doubt.

Given my form at the moment, I'd have to call it a blinder. I chatted with Striders and Coolrunners througfhout the early part of the race, and then I hit the hills. They hurt my lungs and legs, but I got through them the first time, and ran through 10K in about 54:00.

I knew I'd put some time in the bank, and I still felt pretty good, and so I just ran conservatively until I hit the hills again and took the a bit easier this time, but still at a fair pace.

When that section was over we had about 4K to go, and about 23 minutes left. I knew the rest was flat, so I just aimed at 5:40 pace knowing that I was right on. With about 2K to go I passed a guy who was walking, and said to him "Come on, two hours beckons!"

He laughed and said "you're right!", and we ran it in together. Truth be told he probably pushed me a bit faster. About 200 from home DJ and the girls were clapping me on, and then the already finished Coolrunner Rock Doctor joined us for 100m. We came in on 1:59:12. Absolutely stoked.

The Hidden Half is a top event. About 100 runners, organised by runners, well marshalled (although I did meet one guy who got lost today), cheap and one of the best free T-Shirts going. For those who can make it out to Bankstown on the Sunday morning after the C2S, I'd highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

C2S: 82 or thereabouts - Use the force Luke

The training for this last week has been the usual pre-race fare: two runs of about 7 or 8 K and one of about 4.5K during the week. The were all slow and steady runs and felt OK.

On Friday night I went to the aquatic centre and just churned out a slow and steady uninterrupted 1700m in the pool, which took about 50 minutes.

It's been ages since I just got out and did a slow and steady swim, and it felt great. I have to remember that the swimming is just cross training, as this type of training was spurned when I was tinkering with triathlon as not being too good for development, but the truth is that I enjoy it more than the 150m efforts I have been doing.

The girls were with ntheir Dad this weekend, but we took them to netball on Saturday morning, so Bop and I went for another slow steady run before the game started. She wasn't feeling that great, so I was quite happy to pull the pin after 2K in preparation for C2S the following day.

Now, the lees than good people at GME had decided not to send my replacement Garmin because they didn't have a HRM strap. I told them in a pointed fashion on Friday that I already had one, but this was of little use - it was all too late. DJ had started calling the Garmin Obi-Wan, and was making jokes about my inability to run without it. I decided to embrace the failure of technology and run without any timng apparatus. I would use the force.

You don't get many races that start at 9:30, so I decided to eat more breakfast than usual, and this was probably a mistake.

After dropping DJ, a few of her friends and my Dad who were walking the race together at the yellow group, I saw a small group of Coolrunning caps in the green group, so I sidled up to find Owl, Caro and Boonarga, and I had a good chat to them as the race grew near.

When the gun went we shuffled up to the start line and I lost Caro and Owl immediately. I tried to hang on too Boonarga for the first K, but he weaves through crowds better than I and I lost him. Soon after I passed Belinda on the first big hill and got a friendly hello from her.

I strugglled on at laboured breathing pace for the next few K's and the biggish breakfast started threatening an encore performance. I ignored the first couple of drink stations as I wished to avoid the traffic jam, but I did take on water at most of the stations.

I think it was alitlle after half way that I passed Belinda again (she must've sneaked past me) and I was reminded of a 10K race at SMC where we spent the entire day passing each other, and I decided that we should dead heat in the last 500m, and today turned out no different. Belinda canes the downhills and I attack the uphills, so we swapped places a few more times, but when we drew level in the run down to the finish line we stuck together for the rest of the race. We reckon we finished in a nett time of 82 minutes. Outside my target, but not dreadful. Let me state this right here - next year's target is sub 75.

I caught up with a few people after the race, but the task of meeting up with DJ, Dad and the rest of them soon took over. We're a pretty quiet house tonight. I think it's bed time. I've had a big day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A long catch up post

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone for their well wishes after my recent announcement.

The fortnight since that last post has been a testing but happy time. The training has been uneventful but solid.

After a couple of months of training at a much slower pace, I've decided that I might be better off training at a pace about halfway between the slower pace I have been training at and the faster pace I was training at before.

My times haven't been improving much at all, and I have just been naturally creeping up in pace over the last few weeks, and I've felt like that has helped, so I think I might go with it.

So for the last two weeks the midweek long run has been at a little under 6:00 pace (and 9K in distance), and the other midweek run has just been about 6:05 pace (and about 6.7K in distance).

Last weekend was a really good one. I ran the Coolrunning 5K Challenge on the Saturday. I opted for the 25 minutes group, a gang of four. We stuck pretty close together for the first K, and then as official pacer (i.e. the one with the Garmin I informed the group that we were going too damn fast (4:40). The two ladies kept the pace of, but I knew that would be a fast track to Chundertown for me, so I stuck with the other bloke, and we ran through the next 3K in about 15:17. I was talking to the guy (who's name I have forgotten) when I was quite rightly chided by the passing Blue Dog for being able to talk at 4K, so we picked up the pace for another 4:40 in the final K to finish with 24:37, my quickest time this year.

I jogged back to the start a hell of a lot quicker than I usually do, (at about 5:37 pace), and then DJ joined me for the customary breakfast at Grind where we had the pleasure of hearing about Uncle Dave's exploits in NT.

On Sunday I got out for a 16.67K run around the Parramatta River. This is an old favourite, and I had a lot of fun, but took it pretty slow, so I felt strong the entire way.

The hill sessions have been increasing in intensity. On Thursday I did 5 climbs of the 650m hill at about 4:50 pace. By the end of this session I was well and truly spent.

Friday saw my return to the pool. For someone who's job is concerned with numeric data analysis I can be a complete dickhead with numbers sometimes. I had it in my head that I should be able to do a few 2 minute 100s and then move back to a more leisurely pace, so after a 200m warm up, I set off at a quickish pace to do my first 100. At the end of it I felt like I was about to barf up a lungand looked down at my watch to see how m,uch rest I had before my next effort. It said 2 seconds, and I said "no way", and took a long breather.

I did a couple 2:30 100s and then settled into 6 x 150m efforts, each taking 4 minutes. This was a little difficult to achieve as they had squashed the lap swimmers into 3 lanes, and despite each being clearly marked "slow" "medium and "fast", each lane had a real slowcoach in it.

Anyway, I got through them and it was a good session.

The Garmin has died. It wont charge, or talk to the PC, so I have sent it off for repair. I think I need some time not getting my speed fed to me so that I can learn to run by feel again anyway.

Saturday morning was the first chance I had got since the last post to have a run with Bop. We wore our running gear to where we wath Em play netball, and did two laps around the whole park, which is about 2K. The first lap was basically Fartlek with a bit of walking, the second was jogging with a bit of walking.

This (Sunday) morning we also got out for a 4K run before the long run. There was less heavy effort at the start this time, and still a few walk breaks. After the run with Bop I went out for another hour around Homebush Bay trying to run up and down as many hills as I could find. I'd estimate the pace to be about 6:15 or so, but since much of the run was spent exploring new terrain and I've got no Garmin, I have no real idea how long it was. I've worn the Skins since, but my legs have pulled up quite bashed up.

As I said, much of the run was exploration, and I'm going to have more fun on these routes in the future. The mangroves offer many permutations of various tracks that I'm starting to really enjoy.

I'll train conservatively for the next week. C2S next week, and while I'm still a fat pud, the form is starting to return. I reckon if I don't net 80 minutes I won't have put in.