Monday, November 24, 2008

home run

Half Marathon, 2nd place Overall, 1st master, new PB in 1h14'27"

these are yesterday's data...

- for a crazy dispute between organizers, 2 major races (this half-marathon and the extremely popular "big swoosh sponsored" 10k championship) were colliding on the same date. Really too bad. It was a pity that our Half Marathon was with a very thin field of good runners.

- Why did I choose to run the HM? the course is my usual training ground, so I was on my home field, but most of all I wanted to go back to the same race where 2 years ago I understood that my running needed to changed direction. I finished with a very poor 1h23' and I was crawling in the lasts miles.
After that race, I did a deep search on wherever possible (books, Internet) on what could have been a better way to train and how is really the right formula to achieve results from your running.
After 2/3 weeks of little running and many searches and readings, I come up with the move to a more endurance based training and leaving aside the too frequent sessions of interval training.
At the time, I decided that running the Boston Marathon using the new approach would have been a good way to motivate myself. So I started the journey that brings me here today, same race, same course, but 9 minutes faster...

- The Kenyan runner (Thomas) did show up (he is also a very nice person, very friendly), so the race was for the 2nd place... He was so kind to offer us to go along with him, so that he could pace us at 3'15"/km pace and reach sub-70 minutes.... I had to pass the offer...

A quick race report:
* Pre-race conditions: barely acceptable. I was rested, but the achilles were painful all week and only a good dose of Voltaren did bring some benefit. I was also pretty sure that my stride is not yet 100% because of the tightness on the right tight
The physiotherapist did made some manipulation on Friday to release the tensions, but the muscles were so tight that his massage left me with bruises !! (it was incredibly painful, I was screaming and asking myself why to pay that deal of money to be beaten so hard...)

* Temperature suddenly rose after few chilly days, so it was already a good 20C at the start and quickly rose to 23C (the last 5k were really under a hot baking sun...)

* Starting field of around 500 runners, but the race for the 2nd place was basically to be settled between myself and my team mate G. (a very valid runner, 3 times winner of CC Marathon)

* I did not wear any HR Monitor for the first time in my life for a Half Marathon. I just wanted to run on the feeling and go head to head with G. Honestly sometimes it is distracting to watch your HR close to "heart stroke" level and you still have 5k to go...

* After the start, we followed Thomas (the Kenyan) and I was amazed from his effortless stride. We were running fast, but he looked like jogging. The 1k went in 3'15" (!!!!), so I decided that it was crazy to keep that pace and settled on my own pace. G. was more brave and kept going for another km, so he opened a decent gap.

I kept going at my pace, chipping aways seconds to G, until I got him at K9. He must have been struggling, because at the turn-around point I simply kept the pace, but I felt he was slipping behind. We passed the 10k still together in 34'59".

I felt relieved to be already on the way back home (and to the finish line) and clocked several Kms in around 3'30".
With 5km to go I did the silly mistake to start turning my head to see my advantage... the result was a clear evidence of the power of mind and the theory of central governor (see the Noake's book "lore or running" for details).
Being ahead with a sizable margin, with no reason to push hard, simply sent my brain in cut off and I started to feel tired all of a sudden. I was self-dooming myself to slow down to conserve energies.
My stride was pretty awkward. I felt the tension on the right muscles and I had several times to correct the gait and turn to a very strange shuffling stride. I did not feel capable to open the stride and really push at full throttle even if I had been fresh.

* the last 2k were pretty slower (around 3'38"), but the ankles were now painful and the sun was baking my head, so I cruised to the finish line without any sprinting attempt...

* for the records, the winner jogged to the win in 1h09' (if you have a PB of 64', then 69' must be a easy jog...). That's 5 minutes ahead of myself (2nd...).

If you wonder what to modify in your stride to run like a Kenyan Elite Runner, then give a look at these pictures (the 2 models are Thomas and myself )
Did you notice the extension of the rear leg ??

Here I am more relaxed, cruising in the last km. Good view of Shatin cycle path, Shing Mun river at the right, while the green fence on the left delimits the area used for the Olympic Games


Simone said...

hei, 1h14' and seconds, great shape, nothing to say ...

" .... I had to pass the offer... "

Kenian style kindness, ahahah

Sling Runner said...

Congrats on another PB ! I am sure you will do well in Singapore Marathon.

It's rainy season over here, so don't be surpised to run in the rain.

Pantheon said...

congrats. class race!