Monday, 21 February 2011

Cupid's 10k-ish dash 13 February 2011

The week commencing 6 February ended with a 10k road race, which I thought would be a good test of fitness. I did this race back in 2009 and was the first time I broke forty minutes for 10km.
I got to the start line area and began to fear for the competency of the race organisation when they told me they had ran out of timing chips. This immediately made me wonder if they had ordered a finite number of chips and when they 'sold out' decided, 'hey let's take people's money regardless of our ability to deliver the service sold, it's no big deal, "sure it's grand"'; that time honoured Irish phrase oftentimes deployed to trivialise and dismiss legitimate concerns. Furthermore distributing the goody bags at the start/registration made me wonder where they thought people were to store these during the race, which ended one mile away from the start line. Consequently, I decided that was a problem I did not need to handle and decided to forego the good bag, which in the main are simply receptacles for advertising.
Surprisingly the race began on time. However, there was no timing mat at the start, so even those with chips were only ever going to get a gun time rather than a nett time. Quite why they bothered with chips at all was now something of a mystery.
Anyway, I should provide some commentary on running and end the rant.
This year we started with a bit of a drag up Acres road and left onto Chesterfield road. I quickly settled into twelfth place, well off the back of the lead back of about eight. Before the second mile elapsed I moved up to tenth place. However, I think I simply gave the two I passed a bit of a 'gee' up as they slowed for me to pass them and they soon passed me again. I completed the first three miles in 06:16, 06:17 and 06:16 respectively; 'there will be no PB today!'
By now I was in thirteenth place again, and as things transpired it would be where I would finish, largely running on my own with a couple of runners 100 yards behind me and the two I earlier interchanged places with about 200 yards ahead.
From here on the course became especially tough, running up and down hills, but the worst was yet to come; the long hard slog up the Kyber pass. This was very tough and you ran up this hill for two-thirds of a mile before doubling back to the finish. This approach made for interesting 'logistics' when larger numbers were coming up and down the hill simultaneously; this combined with the necessity to weave in and out between pedestrians with baby buggies and dogs (some on leashes, some not) made the finishing stretch more like part obstacle course, part game of 'British bulldog'! I was not sure who I was more frustrated with; people's obvious lack of courtesy and respect for the fact that a sporting event was taking place, or the organisers' completely insouciant attitude to it all.
On reaching the finish line I immediately knew, without ever looking at a GPS, that the course was short by at least 100-200 metres when I saw that I came within three seconds of a PB at 38:45. I finished the second three of six mile in 06:19, 06:26 and 06:31. The short nature of the course provided a re-adjusted time of 39:15. Considering the course's difficulty I was reasonably happy with my performance, however, the same could not be said for the organisers'. All in all, a good excuse for a tough workout but I'll not be back.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Week six: complacency and the basics

Not a great week this week - week commencing 6 February. The Tuesday interval session was very hard work and I did not hit what I consider 10k pace-06:05-06:10 min/mile pace. I put this down to a 'bad day the office' - they happen. I was confident the rest day on Wednesday would see me right for the marathon pace session on Thursday morning. I was wrong.
Thursday morning arrived and the high heart rate, into the 150s, on the warm up was the first bad sign. The first marathon pace mile elapsed in 06:55 with a HR of 163 and felt higher; ideally for this pace I would expect the HR not to exceed about 155. I struggled through the next two miles at less than marathon pace in the high 06:50s with an elevating HR. I decided I 'cannot do this for another four to five miles' and cut the run short and hauled my chastened ass home.
On reflection I concluded that the likely cause of my poor workouts was complacency in my approach to hydration. So, the next day I went out, as so many runners do after a confidence knocking workout, irrationally chasing self-validation. However, having properly hydrated with a 'High 5' electrolyte mix before setting off I felt alot better. I completed seven miles with four at marathon pace. This produced average mile splits in the mid 06:30s and an average HR of 161. Crisis of confidence averted but a salutatory lesson in not being complacent about the basics!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fifth week of Hanson

Fifty-five miles the week beginning 31 January with a nice consistency on previous weeks' efforts. Tuesday's intervals session produced five 1000m repeats at between 06:03 and 06:12 min/mile pace. If can maintain this sort of pace for a full 10k it will produce a new person best.
The wind significantly affected Thursday's marathon pace session. It was blowing a gale but I managed average mile splits of 06:53 and working in accordance with heart rate worked well.
All this training should have a focus but my situation makes it difficult to commit to any particular event. Recently, however, I took a peek at the Belfast marathon site and was attracted to both the comparatively cheap price and the ability to register quite late. I had also considered the inaugural Kildare marathon but despite its proximity to where I live it would actually be significantly cheaper to travel to Belfast. Additionally, Belfast is a well established race and is apparently well organised. So, I still have not registered for a spring marathon but if I do any Belfast will likely be it.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Fourth week of Hanson

Fifty-six miles this week, so building up slowly and nicely. Nothing especially different to report. The 1000m repeat/intervals were a little slower this week, but that's probably a good thing and probably more accurately reflect my 10k pace. The Thursday projected marathon pace run went exceptionally well; eleven miles with eight at marathon pace. The marathon pace miles averaged 06:37 minute/mile and an average heart rate of 163 - these are especially heartening and encouraging statistics. The remainder of the week included a recovery run on Friday, eight miles pretty easy on Friday and fourteen miles on Sunday morning.