Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm no Herb Elliott

I raced in the 1500 metres at ACT Vets last Thursday night. I ran in heat 2 (slower runners), which was a good choice — I would have finished last by a long margin in the first heat. Prior to the race I was thinking a time of around 5:50 might be possible, but I was nowhere near that. Ran 6:01.36 for 4th place out of about 12 starters.

I enjoyed the racing aspects of the race. It felt like a 5:30 1500! I started on the very outside of the curved line and when I joined the inside runners found myself next to Bronwyn. Roger and Amanda were well ahead, followed by Kathy Sims. On the first curve I clipped Bronwyn's feet but thankfully she stayed upright — sorry about that Bron. At this time I think Helen got inside me so I followed her through the first lap in 94 seconds.

Up the back straight for the second time I managed overtake Helen. I focussed on trying to reduce the gap to Kathy, and could hear Helen following me closely. The second lap was 98 seconds. Heath then went decisively ahead, so I tracked him through the third lap — 99 seconds for that 400. With 200m to run I could sense Heath struggling, so I eased past and sprinted (figuratively) the last 100 metres. 70 seconds for the final 300m.

I want to improve in the 1500. As yet, I'm not feeling the benefit of the Pete Magill drills, but I still have faith that they'll help me become a better runner. I ran a good session of them this morning with Ruth on the lovely shaded grass opposite the National Portrait Gallery. Finished off with 5 x 10 second steep hill sprints back at Parliament House, followed by coffee and 'people-watching' down by the lake.

1. Roger Pilkington 5:31.30, 2. Amanda Walker 5:44.33, 3. Kathy Sims 5:58.40, 4. Ewen Thompson 6:01.36, 5. Heath Pearce 6:01.97, 6. Helen Larmour 6:02.64.

Running steep sandhills helped HerbWatch the video of Percy Cerutty and Herb Elliott running up steep sandhills


Blogger Scott Brown said...

And I'm no "Édith Piaf" but I did like the French commentary! Are you practicing while sitting in that coffee shop and "people watching"?

You really do bring a touch of class to blogging Ewen!!

7:57 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

I'll keep doing the drills in the hope they'll make ME a better runner too! Any little improvement would be great. "People watching" is the best fun by the lake! Incidentally I can't make the video work?

8:33 pm  
Blogger Paul said...

Good work Ewen. I get intimidated just thinking about running a 1500m on the track! Live that dream! Cheers, PB

9:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like your still well Ewen.

I will check in again...

Cheers R2B

10:11 pm  
Blogger allrounder said...

ha, I didn't even notice the feet clipping!

1:07 am  
Blogger Andrew said...

Great race!

1:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good tactical race. Much faster than 94 sec for the first lap would have been suicide so you were racing for fourth (though maybe hoping Kathy would fade sufficently to let you into third). Keep up the drills and the hill sprints and you should be well under 6 min next time.

2:20 am  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Great race! So close to sub 6 will give you incentive for next go at it. Loved the video too!

3:52 am  
Blogger rinus said...

You can run fast and the next time faster!.
Nice old movie!.

4:46 am  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

sub 6min next time hey. Excellent run by the sounds.

Herb Elliott one of the best (some would say THE best) runners to come from my hometown of Perth. I have an old book written by Percy Cerutty I borrowed from my dad its called "How to become a champion", written in the 60's I think. Have to try and find it again. Cerutty proved that even in your 60's you can still be better than a lot of 30 year olds if you stayt focused. I have a lot of respect for many of his ideas. I think one of the best maybe the best coach ever in Australia, certainly well! ahead of his time. I wish I could understood French commentary, but I only know a couple of words. I heard them say Percy Cerutty though...Thanks heaps for the video link. Awesome effort! Agree with Scott Browns comment. the vision of them running barefoot through the sand hills is gold! You can see why they were so good. I reckon it would be a runners paradise training at Portsea. Apparently the infamous Ben Cousins did a lot of sandhills work over here in Perth befor ehe lost the plot, and now seems to be back on track with Richmond.

Hopefully you'll see the times coming down into the 5.30's...Great running tactically by the sounds, and to kick past Heath at the end, shows the killer instinct is still there...

6:14 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

For the record, I trained at Portsea with Cerutty on about six occasions, maybe more, for a week at a time back in the sixties. Ran the sandhill, ran the back beach, ran the peninsula run, ran the trails and little oval. listened to his talks, ate his food etc. All the running was bare foot and it was all as good as trailblazer imagines. Have four of his books somewhere...

10:06 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

p.s. I am no Herb Elliot either. Didn't meet him, he had retired before I started, but heard a lot about him, some of it unrepeatable in this forum.

12:41 pm  
Blogger jojo said...

well, i still dont like the 1500 but the racing/pacing aspect is interesting. i find im last after 200m and always move past about 6-7people.i dont know why they sprint at the beginning

7:08 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

If you were a Herb Elliott, you would have retired 30 years ago. Be glad you're a Ewen.

I also noticed that you have stopped asking me to send some of our weather your way. Funny that!

10:43 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

WOWEE!!! what a great film clip, I read the book and remember the photo of the guys running up the sand dune, but never knew there was a film of the event.
Bare foot running and eating natural food back in fashion again 50 years on, I'm sure if the old guy is looking down from the skys it would put a smile on his face!
He had a good stride and running style, proof that weights and sprint training work!
As for your race Ewen well it sounds like you enjoyed the event and some good racing went on, so the times don't really matter :]

7:21 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yes Scott, I was saying to Ruth things like, "Jetez un oeil à cette fille. Sa robe est comme Cathy. Elle a l'air incroyable."
They will make you a better runner Strewth. Pete guarentees it!

You should give it a go Paul. The intensity of such a short race will have you coming back for more.
Thanks Adrian - good to hear from you. Hope the running's going well.

I noticed it Bronwyn. Often the person behind comes off second best ;)
Thanks Mike. Definitely sub-6 next time. Hope your French was up to the task.

Rinus, I want to run as fast as you. But not as far!
Jonathon, glad you enjoyed it. The photos in the books don't do the location justice. Yes, 1500s are fun - I still want to run a Pre-style race one day.

Speedygeoff, I'm in awe that you got to train with Percy. Now I know where all that arm waving coaching comes from!
Jojo, at least you're fast enough to sprint at the beginning of a 1500 if you wanted to!

Thomas, I am glad I'm 'a Ewen'. Herb came out of retirement a few years ago and jogged the City to Surf. I beat him! By the way, keep your weather!
Rick, when you write about your sandhill sessions I think about Percy and Herb :)

5:04 pm  
Anonymous Joe Garland said...

Good choice about heat 2. In my first 1500 in recent years, I ended up in heat 1 and almost got lapped. Well, not quite, but it felt that way, running all alone.

Watching that video, my quads started to throb as they ran up that dune. I think being able to go down with such youthful abandon -- especially the jump at the top -- had to be great for muscular balance. Plus it looks like great fun. Who knew you Aussies had beaches.

2:45 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

We have the best beaches Joe. That's one area where we 'beat' the US ;)

They do make a killer workout look fun. Speedygeoff told me Percy was always playing up for the cameras, and would make a point of beating his protégé Herb, but did he do all the workout?

5:26 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Great race report, Ewen. I think it will take time before you will fully realize the positive benefits of doing the running drills.

8:37 pm  

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