Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Half Marathon Championship - report

The start...
After the injury of 1.1.11 I did not feel too confident about doing well at the HK Half Marathon Champs, but it ended up in a decent and satisfactory race for me.

For once, it was a perfect chilly morning in TaiMeiTuk, with temperature around 12-14C, dry and just a moderate wind from the North. I do not think it can be much better than that for running...
With 2400 runners at the start, the race is one of the highlights of the local calendar and it is also one of the very few which is run on closed roads.
I did a couple of jog on friday and saturday and the leg was now working OK, but my HR was totally out of control for such speed... even at slow jog I was over 150bpm... for sure 5 days of inactivity were not helpful.
Also the night-time feeds on weekend are really tiring... I really envy those who fall asleep in few minutes.
For me, after the usual 2-3am night feed of our baby, I can not fall asleep anymore until maybe 5-6am.. and right after that is time to get up for work or else...
So it is really a hard moment for me to train harder or more... but let's go on and see what I can improve (if any).

The course is basically the same as the HK Cycling Championship which I did in June (well, basically it is the only section of road in HK which can be closed to cars for few hours without affecting 3 Mln residents...).
If hills make a nice cycling race, they also mean a HARD running race, so I was planning to start easy for the first half of the race and keep energies for the flat section at the end...
I am #5543...
More or less, it did all went to plan: I really controlled my effort in the uphill section and I was 22nd OE and 2nd Master at half way, than I started to make up grounds and pick up those too daring.
After 14k we eventually come back to the flat and I was really tired, but it was evident that also everybody else was tired... (see exhibit below).

The good point was that I was now around 14-15th place and digging deeper I also caught the 1st Master with 4k to go.

The last 2k were on the famed dam, with strong wind from the side and everybody really hurting badly.
I had to push hard to the end because the 2nd Master was only few seconds behind and I was also taking advantage of being in a small pack of 4, so we were pushing each other hard.
1k to go, 500m to go, 300m to go and everybody start to sprint like rabbits and I am left behind from their younger legs (seriously, I lost 9 seconds from the 12th place in 300m !!! how could they sprint so fast)

The time: 1h16'45" valid for 16th OE and 1st Master (full results HERE)
in 2008 I run 1h15'20" on the same race, so I still margin of improvement versus my previous self (2 kids, many sleepless nights and several injuries before....).

Great race also for Stefano (3rd overall) and Colin (5th overall) to round up another good showing of our newly formed team
Stefano P. in good company

General consideration is that the competitive level in HK has risen dramatically since my stop in 2008...
in 3 years, there are many new young and fast runners and is not a granted to place even in the top 20...

In this race, the winning time has always been in the around of 1h12'-1h13'... this year 1h10'05" with a sprint finish... while 1h13' was only good for 6th place....
I close with a tribute to Thomas and KaHo who did put up a great duel up to the finish line
No need to explain who is Thomas the kenyan and who is KaHo the local. 



Once again an amazing race.
Well done :]
I wish I could run 1.16 any advice ?
P.s. like the clean new lines of your blog!

by7 said...


thanks again.
I actually read your training plan with interest and Marius Bakken's training sounds really good.
As Master runners we probably must take as much case as possible on:
- recovery techniques
- stretching and core strength
- dynamic running strength (hill sprints) to keep the stride long even with the advancing age...
But I know that you are already doing all this...
Also I found great benefit from:
- progression runs, from easy to MP to HMP
- long intervals and anyway adding more AT training

I write these suggestions knowing that I am the main offender to not follow them as I should do !!


Thanks for advice.
I do run hills but not short sprints, maybe I'll ask Marius about using some in my programme.
I've always done core workouts going back as far as my early cycling career,I think it has helped me avoid many injury problems over the years.
I also do the Trigger Point performance workouts which inc massage, strength and plyometric workouts.
Maybe the biggest place I can improve is to get my weight closer to elite runners.
Ryan Hall at the same height as me is one stone lighter than me!
Thanks again Rick