Saturday, 28 April 2012

Injury prevention, Boston rant & other plans

After the 10k last week, my right hip & quad area has been a little tight. A muscle beginning with "p" on the inside of the groin in particular is a little tight according to my chiropractor, although he knows the rest of that word.
For my friday tempo, which was due to be a 3x10 minute session, he said to go slightly slower. This is the toughest tempo in my training program. I did the same one last year and the wind blew me all over the place. It was equally windy on friday, and rather than compromise that workout in bad weather and perhaps aggravate my leg trouble, I opted for a bike session instead. Given that my tempo and speed work is all time rather than distance based, no complex math needed thank god/ budda/ allah and all points in between.
It's worked well before - in the 5 weeks between Quebec City half and Harvest Half last year, I did BRT (bike replacement therapy) mid-week and ran my long sunday runs. In Qc by hamstring gave 2k from the end, and I PB'd in the HH. I will do the same over the next 4 weeks if I have to. The drawback though will be the lack of view, as I don't classify guys weightlifting as a view.

While getting a Boston qualifying time might still be the aim, there were a few thousand deferals allowed from this year's race due to the high temperatures. This makes it harder to get a place, though even if I get within 5 minutes of my BQ (so can register slightly earlier), I'm not sure I want to bother. In my (probably minority) view, this race is now slightly tainted. Next year's race requires qualifying times that are 5 minutes faster, so I have to try that much harder than some with slower times given a free pass because they didn't race in the conditions on the day of the BM. For me, Boston is the reward so just enjoy the experience. Some can decide not to start, but given the entry system in place, for me it should not mean being able to defer. End of rant. Maybe I'll apply in September if I qualify - might have got off my high-giraffe by then!

I didn't get my name drawn out of the hat for the New York marathon. Boo. I will probably put my name in the hat for London 2013 on monday, and find out in October if I'm lucky enough. I can just imagine somehow getting an entry to both. That would be awkward. Aside from that, I will most likely do a mud-race in July (what a headcam movie that'll be!), perhaps a night race in August, perhaps too the Banff Winter Start in November and most likely the California International Marathon in December.

The next 4 weeks are about getting plenty of sleep, training smart and listening to my body, especially my pesky right leg.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Spring Trio 10k report - breaking the 40 minute barrier

Ah, the 10k. As gut-busting as a 5, only twice as long. My first 10k, above, was my second ever race in September 2009. I gasped across the line in 43:57, later thinking that sub-40 would be tough.

Fast forward to the St Patrick's 10k in March 2010, above, and I decided to go for it. I kept to 4 min/ km until the water station at about the 3k mark. After slowing a little to drink, I couldn't bring my pace all the way up again, though I still PB'd at 41:28. The next 2 races were slower. One of them was extremely hot with a time of 44:39. The highlight of that was indecisiveness at a water station about whether to drink or dump it on my head - I ended up throwing it over my shoulder.  

Now to 2012. Given how warm it was - 12 degrees and rising, I decided to road test my Team GB top (I'm from the UK for those that don't know) that I'd planned on wearing first at the marathon. It's actually for sprinters and quite figure-hugging increasing the looks I got before the start, mostly of the "who do you think you are?" kind, though mostly from those doing the race in the official shirt (!). I love it, and it's certainly better than the newly released kit with all the red replaced by light blue. Sorry Stella McCartney :( 
There I am, putting on my new and improved headcam, that didn't record a single second of the race. It should produce good pictures once the battery charges up properly. This race was a 5, 10 and 15k rolled into one, all following the same route with different turnarounds.

My top makes it look like an international event, don't you think? I was just about to wave but knocked elbows with #84, whereupon he said sorry to me. More my fault really.
No pictures from during the race unless some appear elsewhere for me to pilfer. Over the new Peace Bridge I overtook a couple of people settling into a slower pace, and shortly after another guy came steaming through past me. At km1 my watch read 3:42, so way ahead. Under 2 bridges in quick succession, one lady I gradually overtook came flying back past me under 10th street bridge, preceded by a warning "coming very fast on your left!" I know what she thought she was doing, though I doubt it was that effective.
I tried to dial back my speed, and clocked 3:54 on km 2, 3:57 for km 3. If I could just keep that pace up to the turnaround, the sub-40 would be mine. I noticed too that there were 3 guys ahead of me. One of them kept going at the 10 k turnaround, so I thought I was 3rd. More on my mind than that though was giving myself a shove to get my pace back up after the u-turn. Despite my love of running, it's still tempting to back off.
It seemed I wasn't getting the same kind of looks on the way back as I passed other runners. Were they thinking "this guy's got skills"? Or were they just too tired to frown?
At around the 7k mark, I put the idea out of my head to catch the guy in front. I didn't really have the extra speed to call on anyway. Back across the Peace Bridge, and the "impossible barrier" for the 10k was coming down. I'd done the sub-90 half-marathon last year, so about time.
On the home straight, this young lady sped up to run with me. We're not related.
My chip time was 39:23, a PB by 2:05. It turns out that I didn't even notice the 10k winner finishing over 5 minutes ahead, so I placed 4th. I was 2nd in my age group, and got a nice medal for it.
Here's the pace graph. 3 minutes per km is at the top. I averaged just under 3:57 per km.

The ymca being just next to the finish line, I was able to shower and change right away. After that my chief photographer and I went to Wurst for brunch and to re-stock my legs. So apart from the headcam trouble, another great race for 2012.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The coyote

On good friday, as it was a public holiday I did my scheduled 5x 6 minute tempo run in fish creek park. I had literally just finished the last interval and was a few hundred metres from the hill to exit Chaparral Valley (close to the location of the burnt-out car found a couple of weeks prior).

Quite a way off, I saw 2 cyclists coming towards me. Then to the right, racing down the hillside, I realized a coyote was coming towards me. While I've seen them before, it's been either to eye each other from a distance or old Wiley has ducked for cover in the bushes.
He crossed the path in front of me and down the bank on the other side, he kept on running towards me, parallel to the path. "Remember your training," I said to myself, as if I'd once been in the SAS or something. So I stood still, turned to face him, and lifted my arms out a bit to look wider. He simply sprinted past and turned to look at me as he did so, then kept on going.
I said to the cyclist and her son, "the coyote must've been spooked." "What coyote?" I don't know how they missed it. Like most coyotes, this one was trying to avoid people, especially being all by itself. I wish I'd had time to get my phone out for a photo, but this National Geographic pic will have to do. Cheeky chappy.
Photo: A coyote finishes its meal
I did a 26k run on sunday, no big rush about it though. My right hip felt stiff afterwards, but was much better after monday's slow 10 k recovery run. I'm sure this is well-known to some, but I've found the solution to post-exercise soreness is rest right after, then mild-exercise the next day seems to stimulate the body into extra efforts at repair. I hope this pattern repeats itself for the next 7 weeks :)