Sunday, April 20, 2014

Running into Easter

Gold Coast Marathon - 12 Weeks to Go

Tuesday 15 April

My first run for the week and my first time back at the aths track in five years. To be honest, I had not missed it one bit in that time, but I was itching to get down there early this morning for some mile repeats. So at the ungodly hour of 6.20am I headed out the door.

The weather was good - cool and dry with a bit of fog around. At the track it was me with one other guy walking laps with huge headphones on and flapping his arms about, and a woman who seemed determined to stay on the opposite side of the track to arm-flapping man!

My legs were still feeling quite heavy from Sunday's race, but the plan only called for 3x 1600m efforts in 6.40 (4.10m/k pace) with a 1 min rest between. Easy ... or so I thought.

The first rep I kind of cruised around for the first half, not wanting to go out too hard. I'm not exactly sure that I actually went any faster when I picked it up; crossing the line in 6.50. Hmm, a bit slow. Not sure if that's tiredness or laziness. Anyway - two more to go.

These were much better and I got my act together for two nice reps, both on the target time of 6.40. So happy to get that one done and dusted.

Thursday 17 April

Second run of the week was last night with my favourite Nike+ Run Club, only this time was my very first as a run leader! It was so different being on the 'other' side and was so much fun. For this week I had been assigned to lead a 10k run at ~7.00m/k pace - the designated beginner group. We had heaps of fun as we ran through the dark streets and parks of Melbourne with the group staying together beautifully through 7k. At that point, with the end coming up and a co-leader keeping pace at the back I led about two thirds of our crew as we picked up the pace a little. We finished the run at 6.45m/k overall and the smiles on their faces told the story! To finish I took the crew through a stretching routine - those of you who know me will see the irony in this!

Nike really look after their run leaders and have outfitted us all with some beautiful gear. A pair of Lunarglide+ 5 shoes, a Dri-FIT running hoodie (this is nice!), a Dri-FIT knit running shirt (even more comfortable than my regular Dri-FIT shirts) and cool Phenom 2 in 1 running shorts (I am hooked on these). Of course, now all my other Nike gear takes a back seat to this new stuff. It's fantastic!

Today, during a beautiful sunny lunch break at work, I headed out for my third run, a 10k tempo session. I have a path that takes me out along the Yarra River which is just really beautiful to run beside. After a 3k warm-up the main set was 5k @4.23 pace, followed by a 2k cool-down.

I did the main 5k right on 4.23 pace (4.23/21/20/32/17) though my heart rate was up in the mid-160's which is a bit higher than I'd expect when going this fast. It felt harder than I would have expected, but I was very pleased to nail the pace and complete the set.

I am finding that my legs are almost constantly sore at the moment and recovery between days is hard to achieve. Tomorrow is a bike ride up in the Dandenongs - we do 'The Crucifix' which is aptly named for our Good Friday ride. Long run on Sunday - a bit nervous ahead of a 29k journey.

Friday 18 April

This morning it was up early to head into the Dandenongs for our traditional (can two years be a tradition?) Good Friday ride on a course aptly named The Crucifix.

This is a 70k ride which takes in four of the popular climbs; starting with the '1 in 20' from The Basin, then down to Burwood Highway for 'Devils Elbow' with Churchill Drive/One Tree Hill tacked on. The third climb is 'The Wall' from Monbulk then up to Skyhigh at the top of Mt Dandenong. The last climb is 20% nasty in parts on 'Inverness Rd' from Mt Evelyn.

There is a lot of climbing in this ride and after the last few weeks my legs were so tired that I could hardly turn them over. So it was not a fast day, but a fun one. At least until the heavy rain came and drenched us for the last 45 minutes.

Tomorrow another (easier) ride.

Sunday 20 April

After another wet bike ride yesterday and a very early rise for Easter morning egg hunts - as you do when you have two young girls - this afternoon it was off to do my very first proper long run for this marathon build. The target was 29km @5.18m/k and I decided to run down to the beach and along to St Kilda Pier.

To be honest I'm not sure I was really looking forward to this run. Maybe it was just trepidation as I hadn't run so long in quite a while and had missed the early weeks of this build up so was jumping in with quite a long effort. Or maybe it was because I'd struggled to sleep last night as my left knee was mildly throbbing (still not sure what that was). In any event, as is often the case, once you start running all of that melts away and you just enjoy the run for what it is.

Unfortunately, from early on, I suffered a pain behind my right knee (aargh!). The left one, strangely enough, was completely ok. This pain is similar to one I have had behind my left knee from time to time. It is really annoying and feels like something is 'flicking' over the back of your knee somewhere. I just ignored it as best I could and kept running.

The target pace today was "only" 5.18m/k which I expected to be pretty easy and my normal method on these runs is to have a minute or so "in the bank" for the last 6k up South Rd which undulates generally uphill and tends to slow me down a bit. By the end of the third km my pace had settled at 5.09m/k and when I turned at half way, the St Kilda Pier at 14.26km, it was still 5.10m/k for the run thus far. The even pace was helped by the fact that it was a beautiful afternoon with no wind to speak of, which is not always the case down here. I had a single gel with me which I took at about 15k.

Somehow the pace over the next 5km quickened a little - I did this in 25.32min - and I turned at South Rd with 6k to go still averaging 5.10m/k for the 22.26km covered. By now the pain behind my right knee had become really bad and even though I didn't feel super-fatigued, my pace for the last 6k dropped to 5.20-5.38m/k. I was not really too fussed about this as I have suffered some real 'blow-outs' along this stretch, so arriving home in under 2:30hrs with 28.5km @5.14m/k was very satisfying. Apart from my bad knee I felt ok, much stronger than I had anticipated, which is very encouraging!

11 weeks to go!

Strava links for the week:

Tuesday - Track 8.9k @5.00m/k; 3x 1600m repeats
Wednesday - Nike+ Run Club 9.9k @6.45m/k; Run Leader
Thursday - Tempo 10.3k @4.41m/k; main set 5k @4.23m/k
Sunday - Long Run 28.5k @5.14m/k; to St Kilda - target pace 5.18


4 runs
57.7 km
5 hours 9 minutes

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