Friday, January 13, 2006

A reason to run

Last night I ran my first 800 metre race since February 2004. It wasn't good. In spite of the unsatisfactory result I'm glad I ran. It was a valuable lesson in preparation... what not to do in order to avoid embarrassing myself in future races.

On Tuesday I'd watched the 800 metre races at Interclub. Paul (another coach in our club) said "why don't you have a run in the slow heat?" I replied "No, I'd struggle to run 3 minutes", secretly thinking I'd probably run about 2:48. Besides, I wanted to watch two young runners from Calwell who were racing...

In the slowest heat, Sarah ran 2:44 and in the previous heat Tom clocked 2:30, both running with determination that belied their lack of experience. Watching all the 800 metre races at Interclub made me want to try one on Thursday night at Vets. As I drove home from Interclub I decided I needed to run. I stopped near Lake Burley Griffin with the plan of running around Central Basin.

It was still muggy and warm at 9pm. I put on the Frees and then sat in the car watching a group picnicking by the lake and some couples enjoying an evening stroll. I began thinking 'this is silly - it's late and I'll be tired in the morning if I don't get home'. I started the car. I didn't have a reason to run. Then I suddenly thought about writing 'nil' in my diary. I switched off the car for the second time, got out and started running.

I began the run with as much speed as my creakiness would allow, not wanting to do a slow plod. After a kilometre or so things loosened up and I found myself moving along quite smoothly. The 5.1 km lap of the 'two bridges' took me 24 minutes 18 seconds. I'd been running 'hard' but not 'flat out'. It was one of the best, most memorable runs I've had in ages and strangely, one that was ever so close to not happening.

I lined up on the outside of the curved start of the third fastest 800 metre heat on Thursday night. To my inside were mainly 'Team Moore' runners, one, Maureen, would run an ACT W55 800m record. I started well and fast but after 50 metres was quickly shuffled to the back of the pack. I was trying to run fast but I wasn't getting anywhere! I trailed Kathy by ten metres after 200 and tried to not drop further behind.

The first lap was 1:26 - depressingly slow. I kept running as hard as possible and tried but couldn't find any sort of a kick for the last 100 metres. I placed 9th (second last) in 2:55.70. At least I knew I'd tried hard as I was suffering the post-race 'burning throat' that is familiar to all 800 metre runners. My dismal performance didn't turn me off the event. I know they're 'fun' if you're closer to the middle of the field and have a little speed in the legs. When is the next one?


Blogger GRIFFIN said...


I know exactly how you feel buddy, I ran a very sad race too...but tomorrow is another day and we will be ready then !

Yours in Running Writing


12:09 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Ewen, I've actually come in dead last in a race . . . it's no fun, but you are right - you learn a lot of lessons. I agree with Griffen, tomorrow is another day.

1:25 am  
Blogger Tesso said...

Hey Ewen, sub 3 mins - I'm impressed!

Yes, when is the next one???

2:59 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Ewen - you were NOT last and you did it! Your run of the two bridges sounds really lovely. That's a great time of night to run when it's this hot.

8:54 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

If the 'teacher' can get discouraged, there's no reason why the 'pupil' can't do the I know for sure that one night soon I'll be dead last! No two ways about it. At least you had the benefit of not knowing the results beforehand!!

"The best & most memorable run" you've had in ages - the momentary impulse to run at 9:00 p.m. by the Lake, wipes the track event out of mind says 'the pupil'!

I must remember my own advice when the time comes!

10:46 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

LL, 800 and 1500 metre track races are a good classroom - you learn so much about running.

Tesso, there's a 1500m this Thursday (a different kind of pain) then an 800m the following week.

strewth, I wouldn't mind coming second last if I wasn't so bloody slow!

4:41 pm  
Blogger CJ said...

Fun?! Sorry Ewen, I don't think I quite understand! From memory 800m races are not fun but sustained pain and agony. I could fully relate to the running fast but not getting anywhere! Mainly because everyone else is running faster! Good luck with your next one and by the way, not a bad time either.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

A very good 1500m race tonight, Thursday, Ewen! 5:47 is fast! At last I can see that my coaching is helping!!!

11:29 pm  

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