Friday, August 24, 2012

I'd like to run with Joanie

I'm happy with how I ran in my 28th City to Surf a couple of weeks ago. The goal going in was to duck under 70 minutes for the 14k (the new standard — reduced from 75 minutes — for retaining an A-group 'red' start). On the Thursday prior to the race a sore throat indicated the onset of a cold. This turned into a pretty nasty one as I'd totally lost my voice by the Monday. Once again I raced 'watch-less' and felt like I was moving well (and fast enough) when Warrick came up beside me as I ran into Rose Bay and said: "Hey Ewen, you're going well!"

My 'no watch' running method was somewhat compromised by hard-to-avoid large race clocks at 7 and 10k. The gun time at 7 said 35:XX and 50:XX at 10 — I guessed I'd taken about a minute to reach the start-mat so knew that my sub-70 goal was safe. I didn't bother letting it all hang out running down the hill. During the race I wasn't overly concerned when I came up behind runners who were moving a bit slower than my pace. I'd ease around them when it was safe to do so. Down at Bondi my final time was 67:54 (4:51 per k), run at an average heart-rate of 144. I was one happy chappy!

Canute observed in a comment on my last post that my pace has slowed by a little over 1% per year since 1988. Exactly 1% and I'd have run 66:24 which I think is possible on a good day and starting closer to the front of the A-corral. August the 12th this year wasn't a good day. The weather was more typical of the Pacific Northwest in winter. It was cold and we were running into a fresh southerly for the last 6k of the race. Not a lot of fun!

Slowing as we age is a fact of life. Unless, like Scott Brown, you started running in your forties — then you can look forward to defying the ageing clock by steadily improving for 10 or more years. I started running in my twenties and reached my 'PB peak' in my mid-thirties. Since then, it's been all downhill! To keep racing fun I try to run obscure time goals (like breaking 20 minutes for 5k), or score 'wins' over rivals with similar running form. I now have a new somewhat obscure racing goal: I'm going to try and run with Joanie.

'Joanie' is Joan Benoit-Samuelson — Olympic gold medallist and former world record holder in the marathon. She's three weeks younger than me — still running, and racing well. At the L.L. Bean 10k on 4 July this year Joanie broke the U.S. record for the F55-59 age-group, running 38:07. Now there's no way I'll ever run 38:07 again, but what's interesting about Joanie's time is that it's just over 20% slower (20.5 to be exact) than her PB from 1983, 31:37. My lifetime PB is 36:33 so I think it'd be a fun challenge to try and run 20.5% slower than that (44:03). This would be an M50 PB by 51 seconds, so not easy. I'll try and do it at one of the track 10,000s over summer.

 Joanie running in Brunswick, Maine (photo from her Facebook page). I ran 7k there on the morning of 27 July last year.

19 Comments:

Blogger Thomas said...

That's funny, we just had a discussion here about ageing runners and the slowing down process. To be honest 1% per year seems a little bit much, but that's coming from someone who is still in the happy position of not having run for 10 years yet.

You can always try and keep your age-adjusted race times at least at a constant level using things like the WMA age-grading calculator, http://www.howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/wmalookup06.html.

9:48 pm  
OpenID sweatykid said...

I like the idea of trying to match Joan's percentages... and have wondered a lot if there are any physiological advantages (or disadvantages) female and male endurance athletes might have over one another as they age. That comes from my frequent runs with a group of masters -- the masters women in the group were disappointingly few! I've always hoped this phenomenon is a product of culture(age cohort) rather than biology. Good luck chasing the 44:xx!

10:24 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Hey it's "Warrick" no second w.

It is important to have goals that are easily achievable. For example it is my goal to live another five years and see Sarah break 18 minutes for 5k.

10:24 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I think that for longer distances you can improve for longer than 10 years, my 1/2 marathon p.b. came after 19 years of running and 10 years of cycle racing before it!
I think you need a strong belief that the impossible is possible :0]

4:18 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thomas, yes, that's a happy position. Once you reach your peak you can look forward to many years of 'staying the same' before the 1% slide kicks in ;-) I like that calculator - to be 'the same' as I was then I need to score just over 74%. To 'run with Joanie' it's just under 73%, so fairly similar.

SK, interesting thought. I think one advantage of the typical (if there is one) masters female is they've often come back to running after time out for raising a family so their legs have less wear and tear on them - although that would equally apply to males who had similar 'time out'. Having said that, I know both females and males who've trained continuously from a young age and are still matching their younger selves in the % tables.

Ah, thanks Geoff. I'll edit that. Yours is an extremely easy goal. I'm sure you'll live for at least another five years!

Rick that's great! Plenty of encouragement there for other long-term athletes. I predict Scotty will break the 2:30 barrier just shy of his 53rd birthday :)

8:59 am  
Blogger Janene said...

Good to see you blogging again and dragging yourself away from all that tweeting ;). Great run in C2S. Goals are good if they are with the realm of achievable. Here's hoping we see you knock out a 44:xx 10K. When does the training start?

9:32 am  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Hey, hey! Nice to see that you reached your goal in the race. Congratulations. :)

12:12 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Glad you reached your goal despite the sore throat. With that illness I lose all my strength.
Interesting the topic about Joan Samuelson and the percentage.

4:15 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

I sometimes think I'm dropping 1% per week. But if I find a new challenge, then each event is a new PB.

8:40 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Janene, thanks. Tweeting can be distracting - especially reading all those tweets from Kiwis when the All Blacks win again. I'll start doing repeats on the track once it warms up sufficiently. I also intend to race Thurs nights as much as I can, which is part of the training.

Thanks Lize!

Thanks Stefano. Throat is a bit sore again after fruitlessly cheering on the Wallabies last night ;-)

2Fs, ah yes, new events! I suggest you try the long jump or the javelin at the track. My all-time hammer throw PB is soft, so I'm going after that.

1:05 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

You sir, are brilliant! What a clever way to keep things interesting and the Joanie percentage is So. Smart! Love that.

11:11 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence but a lot depends on how you are put together and when you start running in your 40s the hard training will find weaknesses you never thought you had. Robert Song once told me it is easy to dismiss a slow than expected time but not at all easy to get , at any age.

But it is amazing what runners who have got some miles in their legs are still capable of! I can see you pulling out something special before they sell you to the glue factory.

Did you see Pete Magill is going to run a debut marathon in Oct and again in Jan of next year for a 2:35:00 goal time!? If he can break 2:30:00 you are going to have to enter the GCM next year and I'll join you! Is that a bet!?

9:11 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Sorry mistake, Pete Magill is going to try for 2:25:00 in Jan if he can run a decent first one in Oct.

9:49 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Flo, thanks. You're the first person I'll contact if I ever need a reference for a job that requires 'brilliance' ;-)

Scott, yeah, I keep postponing that glue factory appointment - mainly because of your confidence in me. Mona is one who has heaps of miles in the legs and is running brilliant A/G percentages. Yes, I read that about Pete. Surprised he's never run a marathon! Trouble with the bet is I think he WILL break 2:30 and I don't want to run a marathon. Will be at GC again though for the 10k, and to cheer you on.

8:45 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

80,000 runners and I find you at the finish. Amazing. Great to see you again Ewen. My C2S goal still is to halve my time from my 1st race in 2002. But I think 46:51 might be a stretch with my current 55:04PB.

10:14 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yeah, that was amazing Paul. Geez, your first one was slow! I've got a six-pack on the Swans winning the flag so I'll put another on you breaking 55 in 2013.

7:47 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Ran twice half way around the 3.7k road circuit of Centennial Park for training. Lucky I made it to the finish I reckon. The umpires will decide todays result Ewen not the players. Go Swans.

9:21 am  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Wallabies!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:32 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Ha! Thanks Stefano. Just wish it was against the All Blacks!!

8:48 pm  

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