Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blackmore's Half: Enjoying your running vicariously

Upon reflection I'm not too disappointed with my result for this race. I had a net time of 2:03:50 and the goal was 2 hours.

It looked dodgy a couple of days before the start when my old enemy - my left ITB - started to tighten up after some lax stretching in the previous week. I jumped all over this immediately, and saw a physio on Friday, who gave me a proper working over, and after a little jog with Bop on the Saturday I figured it would be OK.

I caught the train in and met sfGnome near the start. We joined the toilet queue 45 minutes before the start, and poor Gnome, being a pacer, got very nervous about missing the start, but we both got there 10 minutes before the gun fired.

There was a huge Coolrunning contingent in the 2 hour pace group, but it appeared to me that we splintered soon after the start. My ITB felt a little tight for the first K, but settled down, and I didn't even think about it after that.

I found myself sticking close to Gnome and running with Nite_Time_Runner. I stuck with these guys for the next 14K. I had a fair idea after 5K that 21K at this pace was going to be too much for me. Luckily Gnome was walking through the drink stops, and I needed this respite, but after 14K I decided that much more and I would definitely be a chundering mess, so I took an extended walk break, and continued at a slower pace. To be honest I got lazy between 14 and 19. After admiting that my goal time was out of reach I found it difficult to motivate myself to push hard. At about 19K Blkbox, Will & Ellie80 caught me on their charge home in Ellie's first half. At this point I thought it would be cool to stick with them, and that's what I did. They dragged me home in a couple of faster Ks. It was a real buzz to finish with Ellie. 2:03:xx in a first half - top effort.

Soon after finishing we ran into Belinda, who was just beaming. She had just ripped her half marathon PB to bits. We have a habit of running into each other during and after races, and like always, this was an uplifting experience. Congratulations, Belinda.

Up into the recovery village, and I inhaled a couple of coffees and mulled around chatting to people (I got to say hello to Lucky Legs!), and then I hobbled over to the Quay to meet DJ and the girls, who had caught the ferry in to hang around in the city with me. On my way over, I heard the announcer congratulating David Criniti on his awesome performance. So I applauded pretty bloody loudly, and went over to congratulate Unc'. His Dad looked proud as puynch, and why wouldn't you be? Well done, Unc.

So, as you can see, I didn't run to my potential, and I had an ordinary race. It was a day I enjoyed because despite my own performance, I was able to enjoy watching a bunch of other people exceed their own expectations. This is one reason I love being a Coolrunner.

As a postscript, I heard Nite_Time_Runner did go on to run under 2 hours. For a guy who through circumstances beyond his control can rarely train more than once a week, this is a massive performance - well done.

Now, for a hard decision I have come to.

I'm going to scale back my blogging to major race reports and earth shattering developments in my life. Work has become manic for me, and home life is nearly as hectic (but far more enjoyable). It has got to the stage where I just can't find the time to do it properly, so I feel I would rather spend my available time reading other people's blogs (something I haven't been doing for a while) and browsing Coolrunning.

I'd like to thank everyone who has been giving me feedback and encouragement - it has been much appreciated.

I will be blogging sporadically, so keep an eye (or a blogline) out if you're interested. You'll be the first to know when I crack 1:50 (after DJ).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another solid week

Last week was a pretty solid week for training.

On Tuesday I had an easy 9.2K run at about 6 minute pace - it was a pretty good flat run along the Parramatta River.

On Wednesday I went on a 5K loop out in the mangroves between Newington and Homebush Bay. This is a really peaceful, beautiful little loop, and when doing it at recovery pace, as I was, it is a lovely little run.

With the nasty hills of the Blackmore's half approaching, I decided hillwork was the shot on Friday, and set out for 5 650m climbs. I didn't time them - I was still without Garmin and I couldn't be bothered with watch splits, so I just ran hard up it five times, jogged back down and jogged back home. It was a fantastic workout - I felt well and truly stuffed by the end, but it didn't wipe me out for the day.

On Saturday I went out and did the five K loop again, this time in the pissing down rain, so I didn't quite take in the beauty that I did on Wednesday.

Sunday was a pretty uneventful, stock standard long run.

It was an undulating course around Bicentennial Park, the Olympic precinct and then through Newington, around the jail and back home. I felt OK, and probably ran it a little harder than I should, so I was again stuffed by the end, but not overly. 16K in 1:39.

My new Garmin finally arrived on Monday (a rest day) and I took it out for it's first run this morning. The run turned into a de facto tempo run as I slowly realised the "about 9K" course I mapped out was actually 10.3K, and I was running late for my beloved family breakfast. so while the early Ks were about 5:50s, the last 4 were:


I ended up on 10.2 in 57:40, and this time I did stuff myself for the day - I was pretty listless for most of it. Luckily I had a few good things happen at work to get the adrenalin pumping, otherwise I might've fallen asleep at the desk.

As you can see, I'm not really tapering for the Blackmore's Half. It's not a target race, and I won't be too upset if I don't hit my goal of 2 hours. That said, I do have a score to settle with that course (it made a chundering mess of me last year) and I'm relishing the opportunity of running for two hours with sfGnome, who I haven't seen for ages and Nite_Time_Runner, who I met at the Gold Coast this year.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Normal Service will Resume Shortly

Contrary to how it would appear, I am still alive and kicking.

For a variety of reasons the last few weeks have been hectic beyond all imagination. Work and my health have combined to make it a challenging time.

The week after the Hidden Half was a quiet one on the running front. I came down with a nasty sore throat, and ended up doing an easy five on the Thursday. On the Saturday I took it easyish at the 5K challenge running with Owl (always a hoot!). It ended up being a nice 10K in 57 minutes there and back, and a stunning breakfast at the Bowan bakery with Kit, Ray and Deanne. Sunday I did an easy 15 around Homebush Bay. This went pretty well.

Last week was range week, which is a pretty full on week at work, and some new software was also making life, umm, interesting.

On the Tuesday, however, I had one of those magic training runs. 10K in 58 minutes. It should've left me short of breath. I felt light, I was in the groove and I kept a consistent pace. I was buzzing.

The new Garmin, however was not. It still thought it was April 2026. I sent it off to GME in an express Post bag on Tuesday morning. I rang them today. They still haven't looked at it. BASTARDS!!!!

Deep breath.

I did an easy five on Wednesday morning that didn't feel anywhere near as good.

I nearly took Thursday as a rest day, but the opportunity to go up to the athletic track presented itself on Thursday evening, so I did a trackwork session:

1K warm up
6 * 400m efforts with 200m jog intervals
1K warm down.

The efforts averaged about 1:52, and I was toast after the session. I went out too hard in the first one (1:44), and never recovered.

My choice not to run the Striders 10K on Saturday was one of the easiest ever. The twins had decided that since they would be at their Dad's place on Sunday morning, that my Father's Day would be Saturday. So on Saturday morning I was showered in gifts from the Fathers Day stall at school, and ate scrambled eggs on toast in bed. Pretty spesh.

I finally got back on the bike on Saturday arvo - a slow 20K effort around Rhodes, Meadowbank and Ermington. I thought it wouldn't mess too much with my Sunday run, but I was sadly wrong.

Sunday's long run was a gruelling experience. It was an old favourite - my Rhodes - Meadowbank - Ermington - Silverwater loop, crossing the Parramatta River twice. I struggled from the start. Little vomitlets were hitting the back of the throat throughout the run, and the legs felt heavy and horrible.

Work looks like it might be settling down a bit now, so hopefully normal blog service will resume shortly.