Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still Red

I raced the City to Surf on Sunday — my 27th trip from Sydney city to Bondi Beach. On the face of it my time looks slow, but I must say I'm very happy with the result and how I ran. Finished in a chip-timed 72:04 for the 14k, which is 5:09 per km pace (8:17 miles). Significantly, this was safely under the 75 minutes needed to start in the Red Group (first corral to start) next time. I also enjoyed a great weekend spending quality time with my friends from Canberra.

I used my disliked Ryan Hall race strategy — running an even effort throughout — dropping down a gear on the uphills and staying off the brakes on the downs. I avoided racing until the last kilometre, when I tried to kick-down with a couple of teenage girls wearing tutus. I lost that race!

Speaking of Ryan, I was reading Rick's blog and saw an article by Ryan's wife Sarah. It came from the Master The Shift Facebook page (under the 'Ryan' tab). Sarah contends that there are two types of runners — those who train to race and those who train to train. She places herself in the first category and Ryan in the second. Sarah races about 20 times a year and Ryan 4 to 5 (of which one or two will be marathons). I was wondering where people lie on this running spectrum. I myself am more Sarah than Sarah, having raced 18 times already this year. This might seem like too much racing, but in my "PB year" of 1991 I raced 41 times. I like racing! However, when you end up running like a dog that's been beat too much, you don't look forward to racing. The results from a blood test will be back on Tuesday — I'm hoping a simple iron deficiency (rather than working too many 11-hour days) is the cause of my poor recent form.

Fast City to Surf Beard
With my fast beard and mate Gordon — weekend of the '98 City to Surf


Blogger Thomas said...

Congrats on the race.

Of course a marathon runner will have fewer races than a 1500 racer every year!

7:30 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

I don't know if I train to race or not. I would rather train than race but I need a race to focus on to train up to. Makes sense ?
BTW, where's Gordon these days. Last I knew about him was the eventful finish at SFT.

8:34 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Congratulations on the race and the corral placing for next time! Damn those tutus...people beating us in them span the globe. +1 to Thomas, race distance makes a huge difference.

Good luck with the test, it would be fantastic if it was iron since you can control and fix it. Here's hoping it is something as clear as that.

8:38 pm  
Blogger jojo said...

RACE RACE RACE RACE!!!! i LOVE it, dont enjoy the training anywhere near as much

8:46 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Great City to surf record Ewen. It must be a fantastic race for all involved. I noticed how exciting it was up front this year too. With a 1 second win and Mona still up there. It will be a sad day for us Masters runners when Mona retires from running or when Dave Criniti beats him in that race but I hope you're running it for years to come.

All the best with the blood test results.

3:55 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Thomas. Yes, that's true about marathoners running fewer races than a track runner. Sarah was pointing out that Ryan runs very few shorter distance races. Some marathoners race much more frequently. Steve Moneghetti for instance, raced for his club during the winter season as well as his Championship marathons.

2F, yes makes sense. Me too - I need a race (or races) to train for. I think Gordon is still contracting in central Queensland, as well as helping Maggie with the holiday cabins in Daylesford.

Flo, thanks. I'm hoping it's something that simple, although I suspect my workload and haphazard running has something to do with it.

Jojo, I know you LOVE to race, but you'd enjoy the training more if your coach didn't set such impossible sessions ;)

Thanks Scott - it's great to be a part of such a brilliant celebration of running. Mona was amazing, but I bet he would have broken 44 if the TV anchor hadn't interviewed him while he was running up the hill! I don't think he'll ever retire. He'll be running 56 minutes at 70.

9:45 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Congrats on the race and another corral placing. C2S is in my bucket list for must do races.

Sadly, spending $1000+ on airfares for a 14k race means my cost is $100 per km :p

11:46 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Well done. Thats a good piece of racing in the biggest race in the world! I saw the Moneghetti interviews on TV. It seems surreal that I had the incredible experience of chatting in a cafe with him earlier this year, trying to run the Mona Fartlek session, and playing 3 on 3 basketball with the great man earlier this year. What a total neverending running legend, and top! bloke he is. Can't think of a better person to be looking after the team in New Delhi in October. It was kind of cool they way they interviewed him during the race, although a bit unfair on the hill, and some of the questions they asked were typically inane. I liked the bit where he pointed out the view to the sea...

Sometimes my races are just training runs, but my big races, my goal races, I try to find something special, and to focus my training towards peaking for the big ones. A lot of races are just tools towards that, and sometimes training is a better option than racing, to get the best peaks in one main goal race, you need to pick your races carefully to work towards a main goal race for each few months.
Of course if you race all of your training you will train all your races. Its important to taper, especially for the marathon etc, but even for the shorter races I think its about being fresh and ready to go if you want to peak for a big race. Then of course there is the difference between PB racing and championship racing for the elite, but thats a world I can't claim to be in these days, but I was once. Too often these days I race because I want to experience some racing intensity, but dont have time to focus the training for a specific race much. I guess after many years of racing you start to have this ability to switch into racing mode intensity/mentality zone at the drop of a hat, my lightning trips to the track for a Masters 5000m this year have been in that zone, but I have tried to go when I was (a) fresh and ready to race (b) at a point in my training where I needed to establish an idea of where i was at, or my training or conditioning was good so, expected a good improvement, or sometimes cos the opportunity to race was there and I felt like a solid racing hitout (usually not a good race), or sometimes (for example the Australian Masters 10,000m disaster) this year), because it was a championships race, that I'd gone to a lot of trouble to enter, and there was the social opportunity to catch up with heaps of running people, and race on an awesome track, experience the buzz of Nationals, even though that particular day, I wasn't really ready to race...
hope my rambling thoughts @ 0200 make some sense. All the best with training and big races like the Sydney City to Surf, whether or not you peak or PB in the races isn't always the main goal.

Youve done the biggest race in the world and Australia this year. Have you experienced the second biggest race in Australia the Perth City to Surf? Could become the biggest race in Australia soon...

4:15 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hi Ewen, Glad you enjoyed the race.
Just came across the comment you left on my blog about the Spira's
the fit does feel close to the Nike free's with quite a wide toe box, I do tend to get toe nail problems with narrow toe boxes, the Spira are great and I've never had a blister with them!

I reckon that when i'm running well i'm a racer but if the form is not great i like to stick with training for a while.

4:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done, Ewen.
I agree that treating a race as a time trial is a waste of an opportunity. As I am sure you know, there are various ways of creating an interesting race within an anonymous big event. Provided you enjoy the role of the hunter rather than the rabbit, this simple strategy for assembling a collection of reasonable matched adversaries in longish race will extend you a little beyond your comfort zone. In the first 3 Km, settle into your intended race pace. Then select a quarry who is about 15 metres ahead and appears to be running strongly. The immediate goal is to overtake quarry number 1 within the next km or so. Then select quarry 2 in similar manner. Once a quarry has been captured, you must endeavor to prevent them getting away from you again. Maybe one of them will respond directly to your challenge and you will now be engaged in a duel. If not, keep on selecting appropriate new adversaries. In this manner by the time you get to the final Km, you should be in near the front of your selected group of adversaries. You now must hold off any challenge from those behind while you go after the final quarry ahead. If the final quarry happens to be a couple of young ladies in tutus, perhaps that might add some extra spice to the final sprint.
I have had a few exciting races using this strategy. I once found myself in a sustained duel with an elegant young gazelle who skeetered past me on each steep and treacherous downwards slope of a tricky cross-country course, and provided me with the most exhilarating cross- country race I have ever run

8:56 pm  
Blogger Paul said...

Well done Ewen - and I like Canute's idea of huning down new 'quarry' every km or so. Though with C2S you tend to lose them in the crowd a bit!

I also find that there is a difference between 'racing' a race and just treating it as an organised/catered training run. Last year I had plenty of races that were just training with friends; but very few races as such.

Tell me, are your 27 C2S races consecutive? I'm up to 23 and so bow courteously to anyone who has done more! "Tell me master Yoda ...."

Cheers, PB

10:04 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Well done Ewen. Back for another red start next year. Fingers crossed my net is good for preferred start. I have not raced much this year. Tended to train more as you know. But hey I can't knock my HM,M and C2S PB's.

10:42 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

Than you run a lot in that year and the race time is not bad.
I hope the blood is oké and have fun this time.

3:42 am  
Blogger Love2Run said...

I'd so love to do that race as well and could even convince my better half to come watch!

Most of the time I just like to train for the sake of training/running but this year I'm training to race (just to mix things up).

Hope the test comes up right for you!

9:10 am  
Anonymous Joe Garland said...

That looks like quite the race (I checked out the video) and congratulations on the red bib qualifying.

As for me, I'm of the train-to-race school. But one must enjoy the training in its own right. I tend to work around the NYRR club schedule of 10 or so races of varying distances a year, roughly once a month. It gives a nice structure to the year, even if I miss a number of the races.

I'm curious as to how other major cities do these things. Here in New York, New York Road Runners puts on races virtually every week-end, chiefly in Central Park, but elsewhere too. Plus other organizations put on events in the City (as well as in the suburbs). Is there any such structure in Sydney?

2:38 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sling, when you do cough up for that $100 per km, make sure you submit your (soon to be) sub-3 marathon PB to get a red corral start :)

Jonathon, that's a great story about Mona - hope you showed him who's boss in the 3-on-3 basketball. Ashamed to admit WA is the one state I haven't travelled to. One day I'll be up for the $100 per km for Perth City to Surf ;)

Rick, thanks for that. The Spira shoes aren't readily available down here so I'd have to buy them online.

Canute, I like your hunter/quarry strategy to spice up a race. As Paul said, C2S at our pace is wall-to-wall runners, so very easy for one's quarry to escape! I agree that those personal race battles are the ones that stick in the memory. I can just imagine you duelling down that hill with the elegant young gazelle.

Thanks Paul. 23 is an impressive record! Sadly mine are not consecutive. I missed one due to a motorcycle accident and another when I was travelling overseas.

Thanks Flake. I think you'll get the preferred start for sub-55 net. You've had a great year, so minimal racing is working for you.

Thanks Rinus, I had fun. Find out tomorrow about the blood test.

Mike, you just tell your better half it's a holiday to Australia in August and when you're here tell her you've entered this little race ;)

Joe, in Sydney there isn't one huge organisation like the NYRR. The Sydney Striders put on a 10k series (a monthly 10k on different courses) which is popular - 300 or so runners per race. In the winter there is also low-key club competition on cross country and road courses between a dozen or so clubs. There are also "fun runs" and similar "professionally organised" races to the C2S such as the SMH Half; Blackmores Half and Marathon; and the Run4Fun.

4:38 pm  
Anonymous Julie said...

Congratulations on the bib/race, Ewen. As for the tutus, that's nothing a well-placed match can't take care of next time, heh heh.

If your iron comes back good, consider checking your Vitamin D levels. Even if you get plenty of sun, they can go low in us oldsters and wreak havoc on performance.

6:53 am  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

8:17 miles is super duper. Congrats on a great race, Ewen!

8:31 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Julie. I didn't mind those particular tutus. They were both good runners, particularly the first one, who continually encouraged her friend to keep up.

The iron did come back good (within the normal range for an adult male), however my thyroid function is "borderline". I'm getting another blood test Friday week to double-check this. Hypothyroidism includes symptoms of fatigue and low energy, so maybe that's the problem. I'll ask about the Vitamin D levels at the same time - thanks for reminding me about that.

Thanks Susan. I was pretty happy with it.

8:39 pm  

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