Monday, October 15, 2012

Loose wheel nuts at the Melbourne Half

I share a phrase with my mate Bruce to describe what happens when a runner dramatically slows at some point during a race: "their wheels have fallen off". That phrase could have been used to describe me at the 14k mark of the 2012 Melbourne Half Marathon. More accurately my race was sabotaged by loose wheel nuts. Running on the slight downhill of St Kilda Road my right leg suddenly buckled. It was the 'pinched nerve thing' that I've experienced before (not for quite some time and rarely in races).

It disappeared after a couple of strides but I realised I'd have to ease the pressure that PB pace demands. I felt it on three more occasions during the next 3 kilometres (I was quite worried that I'd have to stop running) but eventually my reduced speed soothed the affliction and I made it to the finish line inside the 'G. My time was 1:44:31, well away from the 1:40 was hoping for. I was very happy to 'make it' and still able to smile at the typically perfect and spectacular running weather that Melbourne produced for our enjoyment.

My race started well — I ran with Liz for the first 4k and we weren't too inconvenienced by 'slower traffic' running up the hill just after the start. Again I 'ran by feel' and didn't look at the Garmin for the entire race (its beeping function is broken so thankfully no awareness of splits). One distracting thing was the erratic running of the pacing balloons (the ones that I saw). The 1:40 group for the first half were about 400 metres ahead, but I'm guessing were running at 1:38-9 pace. The first 1:45 balloon (I thought it was the only one) ran past me at 16k and disappeared ahead. Consequently I guessed I'd end up running about 1:47-8. Then just before the 20k mark on the William Barrack Bridge a second 1:45 balloon overtook me! It turned out he was running closer to the mark — about 1:44 pace. I'm not a big fan of pacing balloons.

Summing up, it was a great weekend and a pleasure to share with Speedygeese friends from Canberra. Coach Geoff (unable to race) was out on the course cheering us on. Most ran incredibly well. A special mention for Andy who ran 3:25 (at age 52) in his first marathon! Next up for me will be some track racing and perhaps another attempt at a half marathon in April. I'd like to run a good one!

Garmin splits: 4:52, 4:39, 4:37, 4:38, 4:44 (23:30), 4:50, 4:44, 4:48, 4:55, 4:52 (24:09), 4:50, 4:55, 4:57, 5:04, 4:59 (24:45), 5:06, 5:07, 5:08, 5:12, 5:18 (25:51), 5:14 + 1:01 (197m)

Carbo-loading at La Camera: Susan, New Balance, Andy, Suzi and Liz


Blogger TokyoRacer said...

"Leg buckling" is kind of scary. Good thing that you made it to the finish without having to hobble in.
Anything you can do for that?

11:17 am  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Wow- way to get through a tough situation in a smart way. I'm glad you had a good time. :)

Congratulations on the race!

12:10 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Eek! I can feel that leg buckling just reading about it! You did well to finish. Some single leg squats to strengthen?

Must be fixed before April or I might be passing you! Easy to spot where you had to slow down. Excellent run just the same.

3:59 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

What about pacing balloons that are on target? Are you more of a fan of thise?

12:31 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

You got to the finish line Ewen. That's all that matters some time. Good job :) How did Suzie and Susan go? I didn't see their results.

5:21 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Bob, not sure. Maybe ITB stretching and quad strengthening. When it happens, feels like it's near the right knee.

Lize, yes, it was a good weekend which makes up for the poor race.

Luckylegs, yes I think squats may help - also drills and hill running.

Thomas, not really. Pacing balloons in big field races like Melbourne tend to clog that part of the road with runners creating trip hazards around drink stations. In smaller races perhaps OK, but very few of them in my experience can be depended on to run evenly.

Liz, thanks. Suzie ran 3:42! So over a 20-minute PB! Susan ran 1:56 through the half and ran the 9k extra she'd planned. Happy with her run.

7:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. You are clearly in great form, apart for that loose wheel nut. 1:40 in April is a very achievable target. I am tempted to challenge you to be first under 1:40, but before throwing down the gauntlet, I face the challenge of achieving a 5K time that matches your 23:30 split for the first 5K.

7:27 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

It sounds like some regular nerve stretches are in order to keep that buckle at bay. Otherwise a great run! Another perfect Melbourne day for the marathon.

9:58 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Pity about the Sciatica again Ewen. Perfect day for it. Pleased to fluke seeing you again.

11:03 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, thanks for that encouragement. I accept your thrown down gauntlet challenge. April it is for sub-1:40s! I also expect you to go well under 23 minutes for 5k - most likely well under 22.

J, yes I'll do that. I'm pretty slack when it comes to preventative stretching. I'm sure I'll find some good ones on Youtube. The weather's always perfect in Melbourne ;-)

Flake, yes that was amazing! Out of 30,000 runners I bump into you outside the 'G. Good luck with your Rotterdam preparation. I'm sure you'll run well there.

9:51 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Hi Ewen, glad to here your wheels didn't completely fall off!
Good effort all the same.
Are you now planning a speedy track season?

2:19 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Next: a series of sub 20 5k runs? Wheels will be of use here.

10:02 am  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

Great job, Ewen. I'd of commented sooner but I've been playing with Katy the Greaty.

6:32 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Rick, yes! Wheels totally off is a bad look. Yep, speedy track season combined with a build-up for an April HM.

Speedygeoff, I'll need turbocharged wheels for a series of sub-20s. A sub-22 will do for a start.

Thanks Susan. Give Katy a big hug for me. We miss her cheering down here!

1:42 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Well done sub 5min per k without a strong finish! Good racing! could it be worth getting the meniscus scanned to check for a tear? Was pretty tired and very short on $, but hope to catch up at another race. Look forward to hopefully hearing about more big improvements soon. All the best with it!

11:40 pm  
Blogger David said...

A finished half marathon makes for a happy half marathoner, PB not withstanding. Anything but a PW is good in my book. Nice race.

11:55 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Jonathon, it's not a tear. I haven't had any trouble (pain) since the race. Fingers crossed the hill running I've been doing + stretching will prevent future episodes.

Thanks David. I was happy to finish with a respectable (for me) time. Could have been a lot worse!

6:03 pm  

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