Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon - Race Report

Woke up at 6am to black skies and rain. Not much one can do about that.

Cup of tea and a bagel with PB washed down with a couple of pints of water. Couple of visits to the toilet and I was out the door by 7 and at the venue for 7.15am. Quickly picked up my race number and went back to my car to stay dry and warm for 15 minutes. Then it was onto the course to do a warm up lap and some stretches. Didn't recognise anyone so did this by myself whilst the time passed away fairly slowly.

Just after 8am we were told to line up on the narrow start line and  i positioned myself back into about row 4.
Not sure of the numbers yet but i figure there probably wasn't more than 100 runners. The rain probably stopped all the good runners from turning up..

I ran this as my first ever race last year in 1hr 34. It was about 30 degrees that morning and I really suffered. Didnt pace myself too cleverly and ended up blowing up at the 17km mark - even having to walk. I didn't want to go through that again.

My goal for this race was to finish under 1hr 30 and finish strong - not to get carried away at the start but run in a controlled manner all the way through.

I came prepared with a handheld water bottle and 2 small squares of dark chocolate. I didnt want to slow down at the drink stations, besides I would normally spill the majority of the contents in the cup so i felt more comfortable carrying my water with me.

The course was all cross country and mainly flat with 2 small climbs. 3 loops of 7km's with out and backs meant it was easy to see where in the field I was in relation to the leaders.

The start of the race was a casual countdown and then we were off. Straight away people were sprinting ahead and I settled into a very comfortable stride back in roughly 20th place. I wore my garmin to measure my pace but i left the heart rate monitor at home as i wanted to run by how i felt and not be put off if i saw my HR rising.

My planned pace for the start of the race was to run 4.15min/kms and increase the pace gradually. 21kms is still a long way to run especially if you start off too fast..

The first km went past in 4.07 and i was happy to maintain that moving forward. I was passed by a few people but it was very early in the race.

The next 3 kilometers were 4.02, 3.57 and 3.54. Feeling great and was moving well. I was now slowly moving through the field one by one and I could still see the lead runners up ahead.

The remaining 3 kms of the first loop were 4.02, 3.57 and 3.57. Legs felt great after the first loop and my plan was to keep the same pace and then increase on the 3rd loop.

Loop 1 = 27minutes 56 seconds

It was during the second loop that the lead guy who shot off at the start was obviously beginning to suffer. I think i passed him after 10kms and I must have been in 7th place. The kilometre splits for this loop were 3.56, 4.01, 3.56, 3.49, 3.56, 3.49 and 3.46.

At the end of the second loop I had a square of chocolate  and made a conscious effort to speed up.

Loop 2 = 27 minutes 13 seconds

I think I started the 3rd loop in 7th place and the runners were now spread out but all within sight and I was gaining ground.

After 3 more kilometres in 3.50, 3.42 and 3.42 and I came side by side to the 5th placed runner. He said he was suffering and the lead runner wasnt too far ahead. He told me to run on as I was looking strong.

I passed the next couple of runners with splits of 3.43, 3.43 and then I was only 200 meters behind the lead runner. He was looking strong but I was gaining on him. It was only at this stage that I thought I had any chance of winning. I've got a decent turn of speed and I was confident that I would be able to outsprint him on the home stretch if I continued to close him as  i was doing.

I had to dig deep for the next kilometer which passed in 3.29. I was now only 100 meters behind him but he was speeding up and I was finding it harder to close the gap. If I sprinted now I would be finished. I stayed relaxed and ran the final kilometer in 3.24 sprinting the final 200 meters which unfortunately was too little too late. He was just too quick - a lovely bloke too as I discovered at the end over pancakes.

However I couldn't have been happier. I finished the loop strong and I would have happily completed another loop if need be - great confidence builder.

Loop 1 = 27minutes 56 seconds
Loop 2 = 27 minutes 13 seconds
Loop 3 = 25 minutes 33 seconds

After looking at my splits on the computer I was really pleased with my consistency and the final loop especially. I had completed what i had set out to do and as a bonus set a pb and beat my last years time by 13 minutes!

Final time of 1 hour 21 minutes 25 seconds

All up 79km's for the week. Time to step it up again

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Not Good Preparation...

Half Marathon tomorrow. Contrary to me previous post i decided to taper for the event. More out of laziness than anything.

Last night's preparation wasnt great. Far too many beers and frozen margarittas. Tasty but not conducive to a good race.

Oh well...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Summary 14/03/11 - 20/03/11

Not much to report this week. Feeling really strong and running well.

Conscious not to run too well and over-train - the aim is to save my best for race day!

Mileage not quite where I wanted it to be this week but thats ok. Drinks on Paddys day and then a wedding meant I took it easier which is just good recovery time for the body.

Monday was the bog standard run to NRG then interval hill sessions. Felt super great doing the hill session - look forward to this every week.
(PM) 10.29km  - 47min 32sec - 4.37min/km
(PM) 11.27km - 50min 13sec - 4.27min/km

Tuesday I managed to drag myself out of bed for a morning jog. Certainly not fast by any means but felt good to loosen the legs up after Monday's session. My afternoon run home felt surprisingly easy. Would have been a record run home just a few months ago.
(AM) 15km - 1hr 9min 10sec - 4.36min/km (500ml water)
(PM) 11km -  46min 59sec - 4.15min/km (500ml water)

Wednesday was a longish run after work around Neutral Bay. Felt tough and I was pleased once it was over.
(PM) 20.10km - 1hr 33min 49sec - 4.40min/km (500ml water)

Thursday morning was a decent run. A few drinks after work was the plan so this motivated me to get my run in early.
(AM) 16km - 1hr 10min 41sec - 4.24min/km (500ml water)

Friday I really didnt feel like doing too much. So just a run home which i cut short as I visited the supermarket to get some supplies. This run was fantastic! I hadnt planned on running it this fast, but after the first 2 kilometers passed in under 8 minutes I thought I would hold on and see what i could do. I thought my heart was literally going to explode through my chest as I was running up the stairs on the harbour bridge. The hills up to Crows Nest also played a part but I was moving well. If I had carried on all the way home at that pace i would have shattered my previous run home record by 1 second! woo hoo!
(PM) 10km - 39min 13sec - 3.55min/km

Saturday I woke up at 5am as my alarm went off. I had planned a 50km route but really lacked all motivation to get out of bed. So I turned my alarm off and rolled over. Then my girlfriend hopped out of bed to use the bathroom and I followed. Once i was up and i decided i would then go for a run. Well, I stepped outside into a storm. At that point I thought my 50km run was just going to be 10kms and then I was going home to bed. As it turned out I was running well and quite enjoying the rain. However I was getting cold and after a while the rain was becoming more of a nuisance. Besides I was starving having not eaten anything apart from a museli bar.I decided to cut my losses at 30km and head home for a warm shower. Then it was a drive down south for a wedding. Sunday morning I actually felt a little stiff in my left calf and the rain was still hammering down so i decided Sunday was to be a full rest day.
(AM) 30km - 2hr 6min 55sec - 4.13min/km (500ml water + 1 museli bar)

Total 123.71km - 9hr 4mins

Next week will probably be slightly less mileage as I prepare for the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon on Sunday. I wont be tapering but I will probably take the saturday off so my legs feel relatively fresh.

The aim is to beat last years time of 1hr 34. Pretty confident if all goes well I should smash this considering I ran a 1hr 30 half on my saturday run. I'll be happy with anything under 1.30 - then pancakes afterwards!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly Summary 07/03/11 - 13/03/11

Well no real excuses this week - just did not have any motivation whatsoever to get up and do my morning runs. Body feeling great, not feeling tired - i just lacked all motivation to put my kit on and head out the door into the darkness. 2 complete days of rest have made for this to be a pretty easy week.

600 km for the month is looking like a distant target but if I can find my rhythm and ramp it back up i'll be close.

Monday was the usual run to the gym then interval training with NRG. Really enjoyed the session. 5 x 1ishkm hill sprints. Found myself pulling away easily on the hills and recovering quickly. Good fun.
Weighed myself at the gym and found that i have dropped under the 80kg mark for the first time ever. I came in at 79.9kg. So my Phill has spent the week feeding me. I must have eaten an average of 5000 calories a day so it will be interesting to weigh myself again tomorrow.
(PM) 10.33km - 48min 49sec - 4.43min/km (500ml water)
(PM) 11.71km - 56min 17sec - 4.48min/km

Tuesday - No morning run and the evening was spent indulging in cheese and wine. Lovely!

Wednesday was my bog standard run home. Decent clip too. I find myself getting caught up in races across the harbour bridge with other random joggers. Good fun and the surges are great for race replication.
(PM) 11km - 47min 43sec - 4.19min/km (500ml water)

Thursday was a longer than usual run home on a decent hilly route - again some good speed in there.
(PM) 20km - 1hr 27min 9sec - 4.21min/km (500ml water)

Friday - Total day off - beers in the evening.

Saturday - Only had a 20km run in mind so set off up the pacific highway with my handheld water bottle immediately after breakfast. Just a few km's in I began to feel a bit lightheaded so stopped off at the supermarket for some chocolate. Continued on my planned route and then soon realised at the 15km point that the run might be a tad longer. The day was heating up quite nicely too. Manged to maintain 3hr marathon pace the whole way - in fact speeding up the further I went. Had to stop off at a petrol station to grab a drink too as I was covered in salt crystals. Finished up in pretty good nick
(AM) 35.5km - 2hr 34min 10sec - 4.20min/km (chocolate bar, 1litre water, 500ml energy drink)

Sunday - I had no set route in mind, just decided that Id head out the door and run the local roads in my vibram 5 fingers. Haven't worn them in ages so took it really easy. Nice hot day too so I was happy to finish up after 13km. Didnt want my feet or calves to be too sore in the morning.
(AM) 13km - 1hr 4min 22sec - 4.57min/km (500ml water)

Total - 101.58km - 7hrs 38min 33 secs

Planning on running the Sri Chinmoy half marathon on the 27th March. I ran this last year as my one and only half marathon and suffered miserably. Now im fitter, wiser and training a lot more I should do better. I wont be tapering for the race but might have an easy day/day off before the race.

The last few weeks have looked a little like this:

  • 121.8km
  • 149.38km
  • 143.71km
  • 149.68km
  • 140.79km
  • 138.45km
  • 101.58km
Looking at the above I was probably due a low mileage week so I didnt fight it and ive enjoyed my time off.

Next week is time to step it up again for a few weeks and then probably have another quiet week down the line. Sounds like a fairly sensible cycle to avoid injury.

Run of the week (Saturday's Run)  below:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Summary 28/02/11 - 06/03/11

This week didnt go quite to plan.

I was forced to take it easy as I think i somehow strained my lower abdominal muscles last saturday.

No idea how this occurred but running hard seemed to aggravate it.

So i skipped Monday's sprint session and just ran home instead. Stopped off at the gym and did a short hill session.
(PM)11.27km  - 53.33mins  - 4.45min/km (500ml water)
(PM) 5km - 25min -  5min/km - treadmill

Tuesday was another run home. Stopped off at Mrs Macquaries Chair and did 10 stair sprints.
(PM) 12km -  1hr 1min 23secs  - 5.06min/km  (500ml water)

Wednesday was another run home.  There's a theme here. I set my alarm for a morning run once this week then sacked off the idea. I always run fast in the morning which i knew wouldn't be a good idea - so I gave myself a break from that.
(PM) 11km - 47.56min - 4.21min/km (500ml water)

Thursday was a decent run around centennial and queens park then home.
(PM) 25km - 1hr 56min - 4.38min/km (500ml water + 1 museli bar)

Friday - pub!

Saturday I jogged down to Lane Cove National Park and did a good trail run. Really slow going in alot of the places due to the terrain but that was fine with me. Had no intentions of killing myself. Ran on lots of new trails so it was nice to slow it down and take it all in. I ended up at Thornleigh Oval and then jogged home. Was cold and wet for most of the run but the time flew by.
(AM) 39.14km - 3hrs 40min 14sec - 5.37min/km (1.5litre water + 1 nuun, 2 museli bars, 1 plain bagel)

Sunday I woke up and my legs felt pretty fresh. Due to general lack of imagination I decided to run to centennial park and do my usual. I started off at a fairly pedestrian pace and then somehow got quicker and quicker. Didnt even feel Saturday's effort in my legs so I decided to just go along with it and  try to hold a decent pace. A few quick kms in there and I felt great the whole way. Even went through the half marathon mark in 1hr 33 quite comfortably and sped up from there.
Its great when a run feels super easy. A real confidence booster.
(AM) 35km - 2hrs 31min - 4.18min/km (1litre water, 1 museli bar)

Weekly Total - 138.45km - 11hr 15min 11sec

Pleased with the way the week ended. Good to get 2 fairly long back to back runs in. Really keen to keep working on my pace. Dont want to become a shuffler. Come a long way this last year with my running, some massive improvements and its motivating to see some positive results.

The body is holding up pretty well. Apart from my annoying ab strain I seem to be ok. Just need to work on hauling myself out of bed for my early runs..