Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight, Irene

I've been back in the land downunder for ten days — that's a week of 9 to 10 hour shifts on the chain-gang, and I'm not enjoying it. Where can I get a job that's a six-week holiday that lasts forever? I read in the news that Hurricane Irene is "set to slam New York and Long Island." How lucky were we to only have to survive a 100 Fahrenheit heat-wave? I wouldn't have enjoyed running up Cat Hill in Central Park with Irene's 80 mph winds blowing into my face.

I ran my first interval session last Thursday on the now very soft grass track at Calwell. Nothing spectacular — just four 1000s at what I imagined to be 10k race effort. They averaged 4:32.5 and the recovery was a 1:55 walk. It was windy. I've entered two 10k races, which I'll regard as over-distance tests in my plan to race well at the 5000 metre distance. The first is on September 11 in Canberra and the second is on October 9 in Melbourne. I'd like to run something close to an M50 PB in Melbourne, so under 45 minutes.

With my running training, I remain extremely curious about the whole 'springy muscles' effect. Do springy muscles (and tendons) give one a 'free ride' when running? I know they produce a longer stride. Can one's training produce springier muscles? If one runs 'a lot' of weekly distance, do muscles become less springy? We all know about the classic 'marathoner's shuffle', which is quite efficient for running marathons, but not so much for racing the 5k distance. For myself, I feel that I'm well advanced in overcoming my marathoner's shuffle (even non-marathoners can run with a shuffle!). My training times/heart-rates are good, and for longer runs (12k!) 5:30 minutes per kilometre (8:51 per mile) is now a comfortable pace.

Everything's big in America - a bloody big U.S. flag!Those canny New Yorkers have decided to protect the New York Stock Exchange against Irene's fury by wrapping it in a giant U.S. flag.


Blogger Girl In Motion said...

It wasn't as bad as predicted, thank goodness. Interesting questions regarding springyness, you will have to let us know what you think.

I run pretty high mileage and while I wouldn't use the word springy, I do feel fresh-legged on the whole and with my increased paces, feel as though I'm not doing the marathon shuffle. I'm also doing drills though, which helps circumvent that. Then again, who knows what I'm actually doing since my brain doesn't always match photos and video.

12:34 am  
Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

Evacuating that many people from a city the size of NY is pretty unbelievable isn't it. Glad you're home safe and sound and springy!

8:51 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

If you ever find out about that dream job with never-ending holidays, please let me in on the secret.

8:59 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Thomas, it's called "retirement".

11:32 am  
Blogger strewth said...

Has it been ten days already (11 now)? That's gone fast and you're running better than ever, even in the handicap. The holiday did you good!

12:21 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Welcome back! Your 2 X 10km races sounds like a good plan. Lucky you entered Melb in time. It is now full and there is no waitlist.

Even if marathon runners do speed and tempo work, they will never run short distances with the same springy-ness as short distance specialists. You can't have everything. Or perhaps more to the point, your running body can't be optimally geared to every distance or type of running/race. It's all about making choices and prioritising.

2:41 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Flo, will let you know for sure - how I feel in races (and how quick I am) will be telling.

Andrew, yes, would have been chaos - but odd to see on the tele some New Yorkers and visitors in coffee shops as though nothing was happening. Very glad we weren't there that week.

Thomas, Speedygeoff now has the dream job, and I'm extremely jealous!

Strewth, time flies when you're not having fun. I ran well in the warm-down of the handicap - it took me 7k to warm up!

Jog, yes, hope we can catch up down there, although you won't want to be partying prior to a marathon. Yes, good point about springiness... I don't think we can have optimal springy muscles all the time. Even the very springy Gebrselassie gave up competitive 5k racing when he took up the marathon. Some runners have gone the other way though; for instance Andrew Lloyd giving away marathons to become a 5000m runner.

3:26 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

You're finally back! What happened? You weren't running from a lilttle hurricane were you?! The Ozzie dollar must have weaken slightly against the greenback, yeah that's it!

I know how you feel vis a vis going back to work after a long holiday. I'm excited about it too!

Things are looking good for some nice spring racing there for you.

2:25 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I followed the Irene's situation by tv and newspapers, I am glad that it was not as bad as told.
But as you wrote it's also hard to run when the heat is 100 F.
I strongly want the dream job too (retirement) but I think I have to work other 4 years.
Good luck on the 2 10 km races.

6:00 pm  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

I like the photo caption. But I have to say, you can't really complain about "only" getting one six week vacation. That's a tremendous break from work. It was fun following along your tour of the states via Facebook, etc.

9:55 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

hurricanes...holidays...I reckon an international courier job if they still exist would maybe tick thye boxes of the neverending holiday, or professional tennis player etc etc...Sounds like you are easing back into some good running, all the best with some fast 5k races!

5:15 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Scott, you've got it in one. Started to get palpatations when the Ozzie dollar fell to 99 cents. Luckily it climbed to 1.04 by Vegas.

Thanks Stefano. I hope I can afford to retire early. I'll race you to retirement!

Robert, I'm not complaining (that much). I'm looking forward to seeing you earn your 2 week vacations at RW - you should be able to get their website working as well as the Running Times one ;)

TB, yes, professional tennis player if I was good enough... or cricketer. Don't think I'd like to be a pro runner (unless I was as good as Sally Pearson).

7:57 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Welcome back. It sounds that you had a great holiday in the US.

I am also interested in the leg springiness thing. I experimented with some hill sprints/reps 3 days before HM because I read thatit might increase muscle tension. But during the race I felt flat and the legs just didn't have a lot of pop. I think 3 days gap is way too short and instead my legs got 'toast' from the session.

11:21 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sling, yes, it was a great holiday - love the U.S. but 6 weeks too short ;)

I think long-term springiness is different to the muscle tension that Steve Magness talks about in terms of peaking for a race. You can look at a race and see that some runners have more spring off the ground - for example, Vivian Cheruiyot in the 5k at Deagu compared to Lauren Fleshman (who appears to be running 'along' the ground). Also, Abel Kirui in the marathon compared to some runners who finished further back.

I think muscle springiness is something that can also be improved in 'ordinary' runners such as ourselves, but one needs to view the change as a longer term project. For example, a friend of mine (Kathy S) would be one of the best 55+ runners in Aus and all her running (for many years) isn't too far away from using 'spring' - track sessions, drills etc, and long runs limited to 60 minutes (she only races up to 10k though, and mainly 1500 to 5k). For a marathon program I'd lean towards the Marius Bakken approach - doing 5k work first, then gradually extending it out, with long runs at the tail end of the program.

6:36 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

You are right, I am waiting for the first match of Italy.
If only we had a different head coach and a kicker.....

12:33 am  

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