Saturday, August 28, 2010

City to Surf 2010

A friend of mine remarked today that my blog posts are now coming a long time after the events about which they are written. He is right. Maybe my fingers have been tired recently or something, I'm not sure. I certainly am amazed by folks who can write multiple posts every week for years. 

A few weeks ago was the City to Surf fun run in Sydney which I competed in for the 23rd straight year. But this was the first time I had travelled to the harbour city with my whole family in tow. So it was part holiday-part race (with the emphasis on the holiday bit).

My training in the lead up had not been strong but was ok. After the half marathon I knew I'd be good for the 65-70 minutes this race would take me and so I decided to take along my iPhone and shoot some video from "inside" the race.

Race morning dawned beautiful - as it seems to most years. Cool and crisp without a cloud in the sky. The race now starts at 8.30am (for many years it was 10am) so it means you'll be finished long before it gets anything like warm. Perfect running conditions.

I positioned myself near the front and was running within a few seconds of the gun, crossing the line shortly thereafter. The race itself was a lot of fun, a real cruise around the course. I felt relaxed and in control the whole way, even up the hills. Of course, stopping (for professional purposes only) probably helped somewhat and my time of a tick under 68mins reflects the comfortable pace.

After the race I joined my family for a trip to Manly on the ferry and a walk around the Sydney Opera House. Lots of fun!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Run Melbourne, one year on

A year ago when I ran in this event it was at the end of my first week of dedicated marathon training. That day I hit a time of 1:43 which felt a bit harder than I thought it would (coming off a 1:33 half a month earlier). This year I had no significant level of training behind me and the race was not run as part of any plan. At best it would be a run to how I felt and I hoped for something around the same 1:43 (or less).

On this day the ride into the start at Fed Square was into a block headwind and, not wanting to push really hard just before a race, it meant that by the time I was making my way to the line the race had actually begun (little did I know!).

When I arrived at the line I sure found out (!) and so off I went in pursuit of my start group who, as far as I could figure out, were 2-3 minutes up the road. And whilst I wasn't really worried about my official time I was a bit bummed that I had missed the chance to run with all the folks I'd been run training with each Tuesday night for the last couple of months.

I went through 5k in 23.45min feeling quite good. Obviously I had started to pass lots of people which was kind of motivating even though I wasn't really racing them. And at 5.5k there is a u-turn on the course so I began to see lots of people I knew coming back the opposite way. And by 7.5k I had caught up with one of them so we decided to run together.

This really helped to pass the k's since we just chatted our way around the course. I went through 10k in 47.45min so was on target for a time of around 1:41 or so. Halfway on this two-lap course went by in 53min even.

The course itself is quite picturesque covering parts of the city near Federation Square, most of the Tan Track around the Botanic Gardens, Rod Laver Arena [home of the Aus Open tennis] and the Melbourne Cricket Ground [home of cricket and AFL]. It is flat(-ish) with just enough up-and-down to give you some variety. Over the three years the organisers here have done a great job to build the event up into a must-do on the winter calendar. They also offer 10k and 5k distances for the less endurance-minded folks and kids.

Down towards the business end of the event and I went through 15k in 1:11.45hrs so was still covering the ground at a very even pace. But this 5k had been a bit harder with the first signs of fatigue creeping in. And so where previously I'd been chatting with my friend I now found myself quiet (to her relief?) and focussing on the run.

Through 16k and I was yo-yo'ing off the back a bit and having to work hard to get back on even terms. The (very) slightly uphill through to 17k at the Morrell Bridge was the last straw for me and the aid station at the bridge had me stopping to soak up some refreshment and see if I could re-energise myself for the run home.

It sort-kinda worked (?) which is to say I ran most of the way thereafter, but stopped a couple of times for a drink or to shoot some video on my iPhone (an excuse to stop).  20k was covered in 1:39.30hrs so I had slowed by over 3mins in 5k and when I crossed the finish line (nearer to 21.5k) in 1:47.00hrs I was glad just to have finished.

A faster race than the Sri Chinmoy event a few weeks prior - and no blisters this time - but nothing to write home about. And by the time I rode home - another 45 mins - I was well and truly stuffed!

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