Monday, July 08, 2013

Personal Best

How long has it been since you've run a 'PB' (PR for my American friends)? A month? A year or two maybe? For myself it's been a very long time — 22 years! My last Personal Best was run as a 34-year-old. Haven't double-checked, but I'm sure it was the track 10,000 — 36:33.8 on a warm, calm night at the AIS Warm-up Track. I was pretty excited to say the least — even though I lost contact with my club-mate David mid-race (he ran 36:10 from memory). It's funny, but at the time (although happy), I didn't think that's where my 10k PB would remain. I hadn't executed the perfect race and was confident of at least running 'in the 35s' — but it didn't happen. These days I'm chasing M50 Personal Bests, even though at 56, I'm "pushin' sixty" as Ken likes to say. My main target is the 5000 metres, which at 21:29 seems doable after a 22:14 last year.

Even though my last PB was two decades ago I relived that euphoric feeling just last Friday. I rowed a 2000 metre PB on the Concept2 erg — 8:05.5, just over 10 seconds faster than my previous best. I was excited! This was a 'lifetime PB', not an age-group one. Achieving something you never have before is, well, different. When indoor rowing you're looking at a 'speedo' with various readings, one of which is a constantly changing estimated finish time. Half way through the row this pesky number had dropped back to 8:12, so I was very pleased to finish fast and log a number close to my sub-8-minute goal.

My running is also going well. All training runs are steady MAF efforts (HR under 130 for me) and last Monday Cathy dragged me around the Speedygeese 8k warm-up course at 5:32 per k (ave HR 126). This compares well with runs I was doing prior to last year's City to Surf, so I'm happy about that. I raced an 8k cross country event on Saturday and felt good. The distance was about 400m short so 39:20 works out at 5:11 per k on a rough course and my heart was doing it pretty easy at an average of 139. I have one major 'tune-up' race prior to the City to Surf — the Bush Capital 16k. That's the big test to see how easy or hard a sub-70 C2S will be on August 11.

 Garmin HR data for a 2000 metre rowing PB
Four laps of 1.9k. It was green and wet, not brown!


Blogger speedygeoff said...

Funny how you always know you can run faster than your PB. My PB 5k was on an ultra hot January afternoon with a northerly wind, and I led from lap 5. During my PB 10k one foot went to sleep for a few laps. In my PB marathon I had to ease back for 1.5k with what felt like shin splints, while well in the lead.

3:12 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

You would have been a 14-something 5000m runner instead of 15:10 if not for that. The 5000 and 10,000 should be winter sports!

10:23 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

14:59 point 9 recursive would have been satisfactory.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

The question is Ewen, do you think this is where your 2000m PB will remain?

7:18 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Grellan, I'm confident it won't (unlike my running 2000m PB!), as I'm only up to rowing about 10k a week. So although exciting, not as exciting as improving an 'ancient' PB, like you taking your 2:59 marathon down to 2:54.

9:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is great that you have bounced back so quickly from the DVT. It is also commendably brave to be aiming for absolute M50 PBs. Turning the clock back even five years to your early 50’s is a task that requires some guile. According to WAVA the five years from 51 to 56 produce a handicap of almost a minute in the 5000m. But as Geoff confirms, even when you achieve a PB you usually feel that there had been a little extra pace in reserve. It will be interesting to see if Maffetone training, rowing and Xootring in 2013 can summon that little extra from reserves necessary to rewind the clock.

9:36 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, I hope I do have the necessary reserves (and guile). As you and Geoff mention, the evening when I ran the 21:29 I felt there was 30+ seconds improvement to come - wasn't overly excited about the race even though it remains my M50 PB. Perhaps it's a lofty goal, but something to strive for.

5:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck. I have an even more crazy goal. I am aiming to take 2 minutes off my M60 HM PB set six years ago, even though WAVA suggests that I should be 6 minutes slower this year. So I need to find 8 minutes from reserves and guile.

11:26 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Wow - ambitious goal Canute. I think it's possible, in spite of your arthritic knees. Looking forward to following your preparation.

10:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done on your rowing PB! There's a whole new world of rowing records to break ahead of you now :-) When is the Bush Capital 16km? Is it hilly? I'm wishing there was at least an extra month or two before C2S as I'm feeling a bit underprepared...


11:56 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Fiona. Saturday week. It's got one steep bastard of a hill that I walk (only about 200 metres) - much steeper than any C2S hill. The rest of the 16k course is fine - gentle undulations on good trails.

7:56 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Neat 5km time @ Customs' Joggers today. Good work :) That should add to your optimism for the Bush Capital 16km.

7:59 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Liz. I'm looking forward to it now (except for the prospect of an early start on a cold foggy morning) - I'm not a morning person!

10:17 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Well done on the rowing PB!!! All the best with the C2S plans .

1:37 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jonathon. All-time PBs are exciting, as you would remember well! Good luck with your preparation for Melbourne - see you there.

11:20 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Congrats on the P.B.
My last P.B. was two years ago when I smashed my 1/2 marathon time.
Kind of proud of that :0]
I hope you get that 21 min 5K time.
By the way Ewen whats your max heart rate now and say when you were 28-29 ?

6:02 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Two years isn't too long Rick. Anything under 80 is a great HM time. You're not too old to smash some other PBs.

My max HR now is about 161 (recorded 159 just recently at the end of a race). 220 minus age would be 164 but I've always been a bit lower than that formula. When 30, could average about 174 in a 10k race - max was about 185 then.

12:27 pm  
Blogger Run, Karla, Run! said...

Congrats on your rowing PB! It does feel good to break a major barrier, doesn't it? I'm still PR-ing in running (I hope, anyway!). It'll be interesting to reach the point where I plateau. You never know when it's going to come. I hope I have a few more years at least. But I suspect that finding a new challenge, like you have, will be a great way to reintroduce the concept of the PR (or PB, as you say)!

10:56 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

Congrats on the PB. To write something in my log-book, when I understood that the PB became impossible, I "invented" the personal Top 10, after the Top 10 the PB of the year.....I am getting really older (and injured).

3:14 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Karla. It's hard to tell when one has reached the 'lifetime plateau' - I think mine lasted about 9 years! You're running well - plenty of PBs to come. Enjoy each one!

Stefano, yes - top 10 of each distance is a good idea. Also, as you say, 'season's bests' - hope in the future you can improve on times set in these injury years.

11:03 pm  

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