Monday, 10 May 2010

One family 5K

Following the pretty positive experience of competing in the ARC 10K I signed up for the 'onefamily' 5k run. Also, I have never run a 5k race so thought it was time to put that right. Onefamily is a charity that supports single parent families. The race started fifteen minutes late with about sixty or seventy runners toeing the starting line. There didn't appear to be very many competitive runners present, which my presence in the top five runners in the first few hundred metres confirmed. A few hundred metres into the race and a look at the Garmin demonstrated I was running at the suicidal pace of almost five minute miles and I backed right off and fell back into about seventh place. By the first kilometre I had settled into six minute mile pace and had moved up to fourth place.
The first mile elapsed in 06:01. However, the guy in third place, a couple of paces in front seemed to be suffering and the pace was dropping towards 06:30. Consequently I pressed on into third place. About 2.5KMs in I was pretty much running on my own. The fourth place guy was now probably four hundred metres back and the first and second place guys were about the same ahead of me and I had settled for finishing third. The second mile split was 05:59.
The course consisted of two laps of the Furze road and Ordnance road. Soon after the beginning of the second and lap and just before the second mile split I realised the gap between me and the leaders had closed. I decided to maintain my six minute mile pace and see how close it took me to the leaders. Going back up Ordnance survey road the northerly breeze against us was noticeably stiff now and I continued to close the gap and could sense the leaders, especially the leader were slowing up. Both leaders were level with each other now and they looked over their shoulder to see me closing to about 100 metres.
Just before the right hand turn back onto Chesterfield road I drew level with them and decided to move onto the lead. I thought it was worth the risk as, if I blew up then so be it, as I have a poor finishing kick and unless I opened a gap now then it was pointless to stay level. Additionally, the worst case scenario would be I that I would blow up and finish in the same time I would by staying level and the best case would be finishing quicker and maybe even winning the race.
The third mile elapsed in 06:01 and I knew now the course was long by up to quarter of a mile. I quickly opened a gap of about thirty metres and just continued to maintain a pace of about 05:50 minute miles. However, the former leader put a burst in and I had to move well into the red zone. With about 200 metres to go the guy in second place put in another burst and I had to lay down another sprint over the last 200 metres. I passed through finish the line in 19:53 with second and third place following five or six seconds later.
The race was 5.4KMs, which according to MacMillan gave me an 18:22 5k finish. Not exactly the fastest 5k winning time in the world and I have to admit being a little embarrassed to win a '5k' race in such a comparatively slow time. However, there's a saying about a gift horse and looking it in the mouth. The very, perhaps overly so, generous winning prize of a one hour flying lesson voucher was greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

ARC 10k

I entered this race with some trepidation considering the farce that was the Aware 10k. However, ARC is a very worthy charity so thought it worth the risk. As it transpired my worries were unfounded and it was a really well organised event. The course was also good, challenging but departing from the usual 10K route in the Phoenix park; perhaps the disaster of the Aware 10K prompted this?
The 403 competitors started shortly after 10am. For the first three kilometres I was still about sixty feet behind the leaders and was a little worried about the pace. However, I felt good and decided to keep going. The first three mile splits were 06:13, 06:12 and 06:01. The third one included the Khyber Pass downhill. The second five kilometres were included three hills up Military road, Upper Glen Road, and the Lower Glenn Road. While I slowed a bit my splits were 06:18, 06:22, and 06:22. Over the last two kilometres I sped up and picked off three places here and lost none. I had no idea where my placing was. Down military road I dropped two lads who had been with me for the first 5k. At the top of Knockmaroon road I passed two other runners and closed in on another two a couple hundred metres ahead. During the first 5k all the aforementioned runners were part of group. In the last 600 metres I passed another guy in black who looked like he was suffering pretty badly. I made an attempt to close the next runner in the Raheny AC singlet but could not make up the distance before the line. I crossed the line in 38:51, which meant a new PB. I was very happy with this and finished ninth. A PB and a top ten finish; I'll take that!
What also pleased me about this performance was the average HR of 180, the highest average HR I have ever recorded. I am not sure if this indicates residual fatigue from Boston or an increased ability to operate at a higher effort level.
I also have to compliment the organisers; it was one of the best organised races I can recall competing in and had a good unfussy atmosphere. Despite Frank Greally's, perhaps facetiously declared, ambition to rival the women's 'mini-marathon', I hope it remains the small, enjoyable and well run event it is.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Boston 2010 postscript

I thought it might be worthwhile, for posterity, to write a brief postscript for Boston. Immediately below are the splits.

This is a photo of the lead runners at mile seventeen. (All photos should be credited to Kim Forsythe, aka the missus)

Ryan Hall flying through mile seventeen. He had fallen back some what at this point but rallied extremely well and closed down the leading pack during the Newton Hills.

This is me passing the famous Citgo sign, which indicates less than two miles remaining.

Reviewing the Pfitzinger & Douglas 55-70 schedule I followed and my training log I found that I had completed only three marathon paced runs in preparation for Boston. This really is not enough and my draft amended P&D programme for the next marathon has a marathon paced run every other weekend. This draft schedule has also dropped the short intervals and replaced them with Yasso 8oos. I will also aim to complete more races during this cycle; during the previous cycle I completed no races.