Monday, August 10, 2009

City to Surf

For me there is never any question what I'll be doing on the second Sunday in August. It is running in the City to Surf fun run in Sydney. I have been doing so for 22-years now, since 1988, and even though this year I am following a strict training regimen for the marathon, this race was always going to replace whatever training run I had planned for that day.

In this case a hard, hilly 14km race replaced a 21km run.

After the week (fortnight) I have had I was not sure what to expect. I am still not over this infection and, to make matters worse, on Thursday night I suffered two massive cramps in my left calf DURING MY SLEEP which left me very sore for the last few days. How pathetic is that, I am now suffering injuries even while I am resting at night!

I decided that, because of this, I would not run with any particular time in mind which is highly unusual for me as I have a finely honed series of target splits for any given finish time on this course.

The day began very cool due to no cloud cover which meant that it would warm up to a nice temperature (probably around 10-15 deg's) by the time the race started at 9am. I managed to get a good spot not far from the front and was able to run within about 30-seconds of the gun.

You can see from the graph below that this course is not flat which means that you need to take the first 6km at a steady pace, with plenty in reserve for Heartbreak Hill which starts at 6km. If you can get to the top of that in good shape then you are well placed to run strongly to the finish.

I have learned this lesson (the hard way) several times in my years here but with rising age has come not only wisdom but the sense to actually follow it and for the last couple of years I have run really well paced races.

One thing I find a lot is that I actually race well. I am reasonably adept at maximising whatever training I have done and turning that into a performance on race day. My half marathon at Williamstown was a great example of that. It means that - as I am finding in this training block - I may have trouble meeting target times for intervals etc that my race times say I should be able to do.

There may be other factors here too (wearing race shoes, the atmosphere of an event, etc) but whatever it is I generally race better than my training might indicate.

In the end that was probably the case here too. I ran 61.35mins which I am really happy with. I had great strength at the end of the race (which you'd expect) and probably could not have gone much harder. This is my best time since 2003 (60.53) and fifth best ever (fastest is 56.56). If I could lose 8kg and get down to the race weight of those halcyon days I am sure I could give even my PB a decent shake.

The fact I am finding it hard to walk today is probably no surprise!

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