Saturday, February 12, 2005

Like a river that don't know where it's flowing...

I took a wrong turn and I just kept going...
Distance running, like my mate Mal once said, 'is not meant to be easy'. To run personal bests and achieve goals requires hard work. You have to ‘just love running’ because you’ll do a lot of it. If you race and want to be ‘successful’ then distance running also requires a certain amount of selfishness.

For the last 12 years or so I’ve been less than self-obsessed with my own running. What happened? In brief, this is the story... I was running on the dirt around the back of Theodore one day and bumped into Mike. He was with a group of young runners who were stretching and getting ready to run a hill session. We chatted and Mike invited me to join them down at the Calwell track on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For the first year or more I would join in with the kids and do the same drills, hill repeats and interval sessions. Gradually I became more interested in how the kids were running and the incredible success at both state and national level they were achieving. During the sessions I enjoyed just talking to Mike as well as listening to his jokes and providing feedback for his occasional sermons. I also loved holding a stop watch, supervising drills or taking some of the group for long runs on freezing, bleak, late-winter afternoons.

In recent years I’ve revived a little selfishness. I’m still at the track on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I still discuss training with Mike, run with the kids and help out but I’ve also been doing my own training, thinking about it more and working out what I need to do to achieve some modest goals. I started doing marathon-training long runs with Garry on Sundays and more recently, since Garry’s break from running, with Steve on Saturdays.

A big difference this year is my lack of racing. Since the year dot I’ve been a racer, for I love racing. I would race to the detriment of training, trying to have an easy or rest day on the Friday before a race on Saturday. I would run two or three events on the track at Interclub. I regularly ran two track sessions a week just because I loved the thrill of running fast.

Recently I’ve been reading Mister G’s blog and was impressed at how he’d identified a weakness in his running (lack of short distance speed) and had worked out a plan to remedy this weakness. My weakness is that I’ve forgotten how to run long distance.

For the first half of 2005 I’ve decided to do some serious distance runs ― especially the Wednesday and Saturday long runs. I want to do these without the distraction of racing. I don’t want to run a ‘dead-legged’ race the day after a long run. I’m hoping a side-effect of my serious long runs will be an easier day out at the Six Foot Track.

Today I ran my longest training run in ages. It was 34.5 kilometres which included running all the way to the summit of Mount Majura. Unlike last Saturday I didn’t get dehydrated. It was quite humid with a temperature of 16 degrees at the start rising to about 22 at the finish. I carried two 500ml water bottles (one containing ‘whatever-ade’), a Gu gel, some jelly beans and a vegemite sandwich.

Unfortunately Steve had been feeling off-colour this week and only wanted to run short so I ran the Mt Majura loop with Chris and Mark. We saw Carinna running with a friend near the grave of Trent North. At the summit of Majura I had my vegemite sandwich with some jelly beans for desert. What a view! We looked way down below at the miniscule hill of North Lyneham Ridge where I attend ‘run school’ on Mondays.

The rest of the run back to Molonglo went well except that Chris and Mark were getting away on the downhills. I was keen to run slowly thus extending the time on my feet. My fastest kilometre was a 5:31 following them down the hill off the Ainslie saddle. The slowest was earlier on ― an 8:19 running up through the bush past the Vineyards towards Majura.

After 25 kilometres I topped up my water bottles at Molonglo, bid farewell to the picnickers and trotted off on my solo lap of East Basin. I went through a ‘bad patch’ at 28 kilometres but then came good. For the last 3k I practised my ‘Cliffy-shuffle’ which the 201 said was 6:05-6:09/km pace.

Back at Molonglo after 3 hours 38 minutes I felt amazingly well and seriously thought about shuffling further, however the cool water of the river was beckoning. I took off my shoes and walked thigh-deep into the water. How good was that!
I thought to myself ― ‘This is one river that knows where it’s flowing’.


Blogger Luckylegs said...

Now that's a very interesting account & insight into your running background & plans for the future; you mention the Molongo River....brought back memories of where I learned to swim! As far as I can remember, my father just threw me in, I grabbed onto an old tyre & got dragged along from the bank until I could let go! Seems barbaric by today's methods! Good running for you though. LL

3:09 pm  
Blogger Clairie said...

Excellent run Ewen.

Sounds like how my year is going to be next year with a focus on the longer running.

This year I am working on speed and leg strength.

I'll be keeping an eye on your progress with interest. I just love those longer slower runs.

1:11 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home