Monday, 3 September 2012

Sneaks come out at night 15k

This was a new race and took place in Druid Hill Park n 16 August. It began at 6.30pm and was in the high 80s at the start line.
The first few miles went well but the heat was certainly having an effect on pace.

1. 6:40 - 173bpm avge
2. 6:58 - 176bpm avge
3. 7:09 - 172bpm avge

As is obvious, the pace declined as the effort remained the same and a few of the early hares had disappeared behind me. I was now largely running on my own with two runners in red and yellow singlets about a fifth of a mile ahead.
The course involved two double backs that we would encounter three times and gave me an opportunity to see the battle for the ladies' race about twenty seconds behind me and helped distract me from my isolation. The remainder of the course was essentially three loops of the park lake.

The pace continued to slow and stabilise, but I neither passed nor was passed by any runners.
4. 7:27- 173bpm avge
5. 7:15 - 173bpm avge
6. 7:25 - 172bpm avge
7. 7:32 - 173bpm avge

I was concerned that an effort of 92% of MHR was too much but did not feel any worse as the miles passed so resolved to stick with it.

Shortly after mile seven a runner in a green singlet passed me and initially I thought he was someone on a training run as I had not seen him before. However, as I drew level again I saw he had a race number and I let him go about fifteen feet ahead of me and had given up on him; however as I slowed he did too and that was enough to encourage me to dig in a little while longer.
Mile eight in 07:24 and we were slowly closing in on the runners in the red and yellow singlets I had given up on about four miles before!
As I closed on green singlet he put in surges that I matched every time despite the urge to give in, but his surges never lasted more that ten or twelve seconds that kept giving me motivated to maintain contact. This duel allowed us to pass the two runners in red and yellow singlets who looked like they were suffering.
Mile nine in 06:55 - less than half a mile remaining and as I reached the base of the hill that encompassed the final third of a mile I made my move and moved past green singlet on his right and surged up the hill, remaining conscious of the need to put in a good long surge of at least thirty seconds to break him. It was hurting now and a few audible grunts and groans were emanating from me but the sight of another runner kept me going and I passed him in the last couple hundred metres to finish in 01:06:48 and 11th place. I am very satisfied with this performance but would love to know what I could have done if the temperature was thirty to forty degrees less.

The ladies' race was an excellent duel between the top three with the lady in third for most of the race finishing second, the leader for the race's majority finishing third, and the girl chasing her for the majority ultimately triumphing.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

2400 test 3 July

Another overdue post from my last 2400 test. The next one is scheduled for tomorrow! I will presently create a graph to demonstrate progress, but things seem to be continuing to move in the right direction. It's been a while since I have seen a sub six pace for any distance, nevermind 1.5 miles.

1.50 11:38 (07:45) 128bpm average
1.50 10:34 (07:03) 143bpm average
1.50 9:47 (06:31) 153bpm average
1.50 9:14 (06:09) 163bpm average
1.50 8:42 (05:48) 171bpm average

Monday, 13 August 2012

Baltimore 10 miler, way overdue race report

This is one of the most popular running events in Maryland and had about 4,500 participants. It took place in Druid hill park on 16 June (hence the title!), which is nice and would be my first opportunity to race there.
Mercifully the 7am start meant the temperatures were a tolerable 68F at the start, but would ascend to the mid 70s by the race's end.
The race started a little late and proceeded east out of the park and through a smaller park adjacent to The Johns Hopkins University campus.
Soon after the second mile we turned onto Greenmount Avenue, that reminds many of the grittier scenes from The Wire TV series.
By now I was settling into my pace well and was running at about 91/92% of MHR and trying to hold myself back. Soon we were doing our one lap of lake Montebello. I had always wanted to include this in a training run but getting to it involves running through some very scarey parts of town unless you take a seven mile detour via Druid Hill Park.
It was here that I first encountered...let's call him Mr. Showoff. He came blazing by me near the five mile mark, as we neared completion of our lap of Montebello, moving quicker than six minute mile pace. Spectators' roars spurred him to greater efforts and he soon disappeared.
Now we were doubling back onto 33rd street and back towards Johns Hopkins and it was a long slow drag up the not very steep but relentless hill and here I began overtaking quite a few, including Mr. Showoff.
The temperature was definitely higher but I was increasingly confident of going under seventy minutes. Mr. Showoff also remained confident and he flew by me again at the eight mile mark and elicited the same whoops from spectators.
Back into Wyman Park, adjacent to Hopkins and I reeled in another few runners that I had been very slowly closing in on for the previous two miles and this really gives you a great mental and physical lift.
Final mile now and I felt confident enough to increease the effort; anyone can hurt for a mile. Shortly after the mile mark I passed a lady who I remember losing contact with in the early miles and and as I passed she reacted and passed me again before I further increased the effort and passed her again; this little duel was a great distraction from the pain and effort and helped a third of a mile pass a little quicker. Last half mile and who should I encounter, but Mr. Showoff, looking very unsteady on his feet and coming to a standstill with his hands on his knees and shaking his head like he was trying to rid himself of dizziness. He would try to get moving again as I passed but he came to a halt but thankfully remained upright.
I crossed the line in 01:09:03 and very happy with the effort and the time. While almost five minutes slower than my personal best I feel I am moving in the right direction again and the conditions would have had a mitigating effect. A good race, interesting course, and the post race offerings of two beers, gels, fruit, water, and other food was the greatest I have ever encountered. Unfortunately fools who thought it appropriate to make off with entire boxes of gels and more than one premium (a nice white quarter zip top with the race logo), marred things a little and spoilt it for others. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

2400 test treadmill

More progress but there is the caveat emptor that it was on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill is obviously different from outdoor running.
1. The momentum of the belt can drag you along and renders running at a certain pace marginally easier than outdoors.
2. There is obviously no wind at all or even minor undulations.
3. The accuracy of some treadmills can be off and I have read that a GPS is more accurate than a treadmill's electronic readout.

However, it is considered common practice to elevate the mill 1 per cent to better replicate outdoor conditions; I still have my doubts but even accounting for this the progress indicated below remains very encouraging. Additionally my next 2400m test will take place on the same treadmill and should provide a rock solid benchmark for my fitness in another four weeks. It should be noted this test took place on Tuesday 3 June.

1.50 11:50 (07:53) 133bpm average
1.50 10:39 (07:06) 144bpm average
1.50 10:06 (06:44) 152bpm average
1.50 9:25 (06:17) 163bpm average
1.50 8:57 (05:58) 170bpm average

Monday, 18 June 2012


There were three reasons for running this race: the $25 price was reasonable; I could walk to the start line; and MCVET is a deserving cause.
The race began at 0830 and already the humidity was in the high 80s and the temperature was in the high 70s. I decided to abandon any attempt at a sub forty time. In the first mile I made a conscious effort to hold back and all those streaming past me made it hard not to go with them, but I have had too many bad experiences in the heat to make that mistake again.
The first mile split was 06:35 with a HR of 171, indicating I was definitely working hard. By now we were approaching federal hill park and the field was slowly settling down and I was catching some of the early hares. The course double backs on its self on key highway, about 2.5 miles in and my second mile split was 06:57. My own slowing pace showed just how suicidal some of the hares' pace had been.
The course then turned right onto Pratt street and past the USS Constellation and right again onto President street, towards Harbour East. Here I looked at my Garmin and saw a pace average of 06:54 and thought,'hey, I'm maintaining pace pretty well'; and just then the Garmin bleeped to record the third mile split of 07:13! Blast, I had been looking at the total distance average pace and not the current mile average pace. From that point on I ignored the pace and the Garmin, save for a few glances to make sure the HR remained in the low 170s. It was at this point, with the pressure of the watch banished, that I began to enjoy myself and just concentrated on maintaining effort. Well into mile four I overtook a few more of the earlier hares who I had been stalking since I resolved to ignore the watch. A turn around on fleet street back towards Little Italy and I was soon to complete mile five in 07:12; mile four was 07:06, so I had settled down to a sustainable pace. As we approached the final 1.2 miles, turning right back onto President street, I could see a couple more runners up ahead. The field was quite strung out now and I had been running on my own for about a mile.
I slowly closed in on the runners in front and remembered the first runner I encountered from the race's beginning. I decided to make my move as we turned right from Pratt street onto the hill on Calvert. My thinking was that the combination of me overtaking him on a hill and putting in a surge would break any morale to respond. His constant looking over his shoulder as I approached indicated he was running on empty. As I put a surge up the hill I realised the next two runners were within reach. As I reached the top of the hill I took a look over my shoulder to see the runner I had overtaken was slowly falling away and I turned my attention to the two in front.
With about half a mile remaining I moved into a controlled sprint as we moved downhill and turned right onto Lexington street and towards the finish; I soon passed the next runner and moved into a full sprint in the last quarter mile to overtake the next runner. The crowd at the finish line warned him of my impending approach and as he looked over his right shoulder he tried to respond but it was always going to take too long for him to get up to speed before we crossed the finish line and I finished a few seconds ahead of him in 43:16.
This was a personal worst by over two minutes but I was satisfied with a well executed race. If Jeff Galloway's estimations about the affect of heat on performance are correct then the heat and humidity undermined my performance by at least 10%, giving me a cooler performance time of 39:20. Looking at the results revealed that two of the three runners I overtook in the last three quarters of a mile were in my age division and making that move in the last mile got the bling below.

Friday, 1 June 2012

At last-progress

At last-progress. I have been very remiss in updating the blog and this 2400m test took place at the end of April and took place at about six am. I think that might explain the very slow initial 2400m.
The progress in the remaining 2400 segments is undeniable and the final two 2400 segments might have been better had I been able to get my HR up; I suspect the early start and the effect of Circadian cycles prevented my body from working to its true potential.

The reduction in mileage to less than fifty per week and the inclusion of a weekly Yasso sessions, along with a tempo and marathon effort run on alternate weeks has yielded very positive results.

25 April
1.49m - 13:35(9:06/m) - 133bpm avge
1.49m - 11:17(7:34/m) - 145bpm avge
1.49m - 10:27(7:01/m) - 154bpm avge
1.49m - 9:46(6:33/m) - 162bpm avge
1.49m - 9:21(6:16/m) - 168bpm avge

29 March
1.49m - 12:40 (08:30) 136bpm
1.49m - 12:06 (08:07) 145bpm
1.49m - 11:13 (07:31) 156bpm
1.49m - 09:54 (06:39) 166bpm
1.49m - 09:08 (06:07) 174bpm

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nippy postscript

As soon as I crossed the finish line I resolved that Hadd was being kicked to the kerb. I do believe Hadd can benefit you but this depend on whether there is a dissonance between your marathon times and you shorter race times, where your shorter distance PBs indicate you should run a much quicker marathon and demonstrates an under developed aerobic base. On reflection this was not my situation. I had a poorly developed base late last year but that was primarily the result of severe overtraining and four months of Hadd has now left me under trained, but with a good base from which I should make good progress pretty quickly.
For the next few weeks my approach will be to drop my mileage to less than fifty miles per week; include a 'Yasso' session every week; and a tempo and marathon paced effort on alternate weeks. Standing my training on its proverbial head should make the next 2400 test interesting.