Sunday, October 08, 2006

Life in the slow lane

My calf problem came back towards the end of this week. I'm hoping it's only a strain. I've run 126 kilometres during the past four weeks but I'm still a long way from being fit for racing. Then why race? I just wanted to see how bad I was. I've done two 5k races in the past two weeks, both at the Customs handicap, for times of 27:13 and 27:00. This is nowhere near a goal I had for this year of running 5000 metres in 19:59. This goal won't happen. The challenge will be to get somewhere near the 22:30 I ran back in May.

In my 27:00 Customs 5k I did feel more comfortable than the previous week. It was strange running flat out yet falling away from Bob and Colin who were jogging along having an animated conversation. My average heart-rate was 153 – a little below my usual racing heart-rate of 155 to 158. The race showed my lack of fitness. Earlier in the year I was running 4:44 per kilometre pace at this heart-rate rather than 5:24s and I wasn't fully fit.

Feeling like I do at the moment in races gives me a real appreciation for the struggles that beginning runners and novices go through. I also have a greater understanding about the long road back from injury or illness.

Many years ago there was a young runner in the group that Geoff used to coach. She had been injured and was doing her first Sunday long run for a while. We ran a course of 17 kilometres out around the Corkwood plantation and back through Stromlo forest. She kept dropping back from the group and would breathlessly catch up when we stopped for a drink or to open a gate. She was clearly out of shape but completed the run. Years later she ran in the trial for the 10,000 metres at the Sydney Olympics.


Blogger Sekhmet said...

Oh am I hearing you on this or what? You (I) am running flat out, huffing and puffing, in danger of having an asthma attack while people you (I) used to be passing are jogging merrily along miles ahead *rolls eyes*. It's hard to stay motivated and positive at times, but determination will win in the end! lol

I must say that when I think about it, I would rather be running slowly than not at all. Great to see you out there regardless Ewen :-)

5:45 pm  
Blogger 2P said...

I wouldn't give up on the 19.59 just yet Ewen ;-)

Hmmm at 27 mins you still beat me by almost a minute in my 5k last Saturday.

Maybe we should see who can get back under 23 minutes first?

5:56 pm  
Blogger Spark Driver said...

I liked Beki's comment, "I would rather be running slowly than not at all". I think we could all step back and consider that.

8:11 pm  
Blogger Don Juan said...

5km is a tough distance; like a long sprint.
Brave move racing with a low build-up and mileage. Good luck with the calf.

8:19 pm  
Blogger Jen_runs said...

Good luck with your calf - and yes, bikes go faster with spokey dokes!

8:21 pm  
Blogger wannabecoach said...


If you can better the 20.51 I ran when I was your current age on the track this season I will shout you a cappuchino at the great little coffee shop in my paradisaical coastal village.

8:28 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

You should book in for a massage on those calves! But yes you are out there running and that's the main thing AND you felt more comfortable than last week in the Customs 5k so you must be happy with that. You'll be back before you know it!

8:55 pm  
Blogger Tuggeranong Don said...

Sorry to hear about that calf problem being still there, Ewen. I wish we could just zap these things away. I do agree, though, that just being able to run at all is magic and I would never trade that for anything in the running world.

9:24 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Yep, it's a long tough road! Don't you just wish you will wake up one morning and be running as well as you always have!

9:27 am  
Blogger Superflake said...

Hope the calf turns out ok. Hard work doing a race without any klms behind you. Give it 3 months and you should be back to a reasonable time.

10:29 am  
Anonymous Steve said...

At least you're running.

10:41 am  
Blogger R2B said...

Not you can treat this in any number of ways but i reckon if you treat it like you are a beginning runner and it's a huge challenge that your not so sure about but love it all the same then you can have some more of the joy that many of us forget about as we progress in our running journeys!

...Hope that makes complete sense?...

Looking forward to meeting you at FFFTM!R2B

7:41 pm  
Blogger Robert Song said...

Hope you overcome the calf problem. Coming back from injury doesn't get any easier the older you get either. At least that is what I have found.

8:21 pm  
Blogger Scott said...

Hi Ewen

Nice story about the Olympic trial runner juxaposed with your own comeback from injury story.

I can appreciate the effort that goes into going from slow times to fast ones as a beginner, as I have only been doing this for three years and I'm getting faster by the season.

But to make a comeback to faster times after an injury and such a good running record is something very different.

For mine what you are doing requires more heart and energy than most of us have.

10:09 pm  
Blogger Stu said...

The long hual back can be tough, but I'm sure you will get there!

11:03 pm  
Blogger Hilda said...

Thanks for teaching me so much about the ups and downs of running.
It is like a life commitment, I want to survive aaaall the way down!

Hope you recover soon... :)

6:09 am  
Blogger PortRunr said...

These right calves really are pesky things aren't they...looks like we're in a race to see who can fully recover the soonest! (mine is a bit tight again after a ride yesterday) :(
Hope it's a drawn short run race!

10:52 am  
Blogger Tesso said...

I had a similar goal for 5k. Well, to be honest I'd be happy with 20:59 but people tell me I should aim for 19:59.

But hey, at least we can run. And do run. No matter what they are our 5k times will be better than those people who stay at home and sit on the couch.

11:07 am  
Blogger iliketoast said...

My first method of treating injury was ignore it and hope it goes away. I believe this method is lacking in a few ways and hesitate in recommending it to you.

I'm on a break for 2 weeks and will have to come back in my running. It is a long long road and can't be rushed. I do fully intend to enjoy it though and I hope you do too.

7:35 am  
Blogger Shane said...

Hey Ewen, I noticed that we have been chasing each other commenting on peoples blogs over the last couple of days, so I thought I would pay a visit.

Too bad about the calf, but like the others have said you are still getting out there. Irrespective of your times at the moment every footstep counts towards getting your fitness and form back.

Hope everything continues to improve :)

4:49 pm  

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