Saturday, January 21, 2006

At the end of every hard earned day

The big running thing for me this week was the 1500 metre race on Thursday evening. This was my second middle-distance race of the season. Middle-distance races for those who don't know are 800 and 1500 metre races held on a 400 metre athletics track. How I wish I'd run more of them... the pain happens fast and is over fast! This is the opposite to this morning's 31km run over the mountains of Majura and Ainslie... the pain happened with the gradualness of rising damp and is still happening hours later as I hobble around the house.

On Thursday I had a rough goal of running under five minutes, fifty two seconds. I'd worked this out by doubling my 800 metre time of 2:56 from the previous week. This calculation provides a reasonable relationship between 800 and 1500 times. If you run 2 minutes for 800 you should run about 4 minutes for 1500.

As I warmed up my confidence grew as my legs felt like they wanted to work for a change. In this regard I think only running 8.4 rather than my usual 12 to 16 kilometres on a Wednesday made the difference. Also, I didn't feel 'dead tired' in spite of working nine and a half hours that day. I stopped in at Calwell and then drove to the track thinking of some words from a Bruce Springsteen song: "Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe". I wasn't going to let a tough day at work spoil my race!

I lined up on the outside of the curve with Geoff and when the gun sounded I ran up the back straight and found a place in the middle of the group. I was behind Kathy and Charlie and happy to stay there as the pace seemed about right. I passed 300 metres in 68.6 (5:43 pace) and felt okay. Going up the back straight for the second time I sensed the girls were slowing so I went ahead.

For the rest of the race I concentrated on trying to get closer to Katie. She'd opened up a big gap with her usual fast start. After 2 laps I noticed Geoff had drawn level with her but they were still about 50 metres ahead and 30 metres or so behind Gary who would eventually win the race in a PB of 5:17.02. I clawed back some metres from Katie in the third lap (my second and third laps were about 94 seconds each). I summoned what only I would call a 'sprint' in the last 200 metres to place 6th in 5:47.89. My last lap was 90.2 seconds. Katie had run 5:41.54 and Geoff improved a huge amount with 5:23.65.

Overall, I had positive feelings about my race. I'm sure I can run faster - hopefully well under 5:30 towards the end of the year if I can get some specific 800/1500 training happening. The important thing is I've rediscovered my love of middle-distance racing. Times don't really matter if the racing is fun!


Anonymous wannabecoach said...

Good to see you have been able to rekindle your liking for the 800/1500.

I think most distance runners are closet would be middle distance runners. It is a real buzz jostling for position in the back straight during the 2nd lap of a competitive 800.

I think your theory on doubling your 800 time to forecast a 1500 time is only relevant to runners who primarily focus on distances of 5k and more.

12:16 am  
Blogger Tesso said...

Wow, fantastic stuff Ewen - so far under you goal!!!!

You make this middle distance stuff sound like so much fun. After reading your posts I think I'm definitely gonna have to have a crack at it soon.

10:39 am  
Blogger strewth said...

Well done Ewen and to back up for 31km yesterday too - hope all your aches and pains have settled today - a rest day I assume?

12:46 pm  
Blogger CJ said...

Good race! And I agree that times don't really matter as long as the racing is fun! A good attitude to have.

BTW, those hill repeats - i don't think I could have run them any faster or harder, truly! It just seemed easier to run on the flat on the way home afterwards and obviously was faster. My legs and glutes felt it the next day though.

8:30 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Great race Ewen. I do think it sounds like you did too much math on Thursday.

12:27 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

"If you run 2 minutes for 800 you should run about 4 minutes for 1500"? Nah, serious middle distance runners would have to be able to run much faster than that for 800 to get that 1500 time. Of course, if all your training is long slow distance....

I agree, middle distances are the best.

1:40 pm  
Anonymous Kathy S said...

Well done Ewen & welcome back (to the world of MD). Hopefully we will see more of you training with us again now. I miss seeing you & Karen with us at Calwell.

11:01 am  

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