Sunday, March 23, 2014

Great racing!

I'm really enjoying racing the Tuggeranong Parkrun on Saturday mornings. Never thought I'd say that, being a natural 'afternoon/evening person' — I take forever to get going in the mornings and afternoon runs are always more comfortable. Since my last post I've chipped another 17 seconds off my 5k time, running 23:43 on March 8 in an exciting race with a few of my regular competitors. As usual I ran by feel but couldn't quite catch the fast-starting Jim. However I managed to draw level with Karen (PB of 22:57) just after the 4k marker and running with a good measure of desperation, held on for the 'win'. Splits were 4:50, 4:45, 4:46, 4:47 and 4:35.

Yesterday I had a 'couldn't get going' type of run with Jim and Karen disappearing ahead in the fog. 24:08 for myself while Karen just out-leaned Jim in the sprint finish, both timed at 23:41. I still enjoyed the race, passing some other veterans and youngsters in the second half — including the old bloke and young lady pictured on my shoulder in the photo below.

I'm a track racer at heart, but competing in a field of six or seven for 12 and a half laps on Thursday night is becoming less appealing. I'd love track racing to be like the 'old days' when there were two divisions of the 5000 with 25 or so runners in each. Perhaps when the new track at Woden opens competitor numbers will improve. The great thing about the Parkrun is the intensity of the competition — that's all through the field, but especially around the times that I'm now running. Yesterday there were 41 runners finishing in the space between 22 and 25 minutes. That's my space! No wonder I look forward to it every week.
Preparing for a sprint finish with 200 metres to go in the Tuggeranong Parkrun
Chasing Karen with just over 1k to go in the 8 March Parkrun


Blogger BlueRaider said...

Hey Ewen, That old bloke of your shoulder is younger than me!

8:11 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Tuggeranong? Shouldn't it be Tuggeralong?
That's what you were doing to that girl.
Anyway, it's always good to have lots of competition.

10:31 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Sounds like fantastic option! 23.43 is a good time just under 4.45 pace so you got it right pacingwise and to bring it home in 4.35 is an excellent effort. Way to go! Lots of competition= lots of potential to improve... Fitting that you should have a good race on the morning of SFT 2014... Hopefully some of the parkrunners can come check out the new track at Woden. Sonds like you have backed a winner there with the Parkrun which Tugs a lot of people along to a better place... Go for it!!!

8:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that track running is in decline, but parkrun is great – it has a simplicity that is appealing and allows most people to find their own level whatever it is.

Of the four runners emerging from the mist, you appear to be the only one who is not putting a large amount of stress on the ITB.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with your sentiments about track racing Ewen. Love it but the days of having dozens of runners competing regularly in a 5000 metre race on a Thursday night appear gone. Parkrun is brilliant. It appeals to all levels of fitness and competitiveness. I can see the day when there will be a million Australians getting up early on a Saturday morning to do their 5km Parkrun.

1:30 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

BlueRaider, he only looks young because of the fog ;-)

Bob, she went out fast - I only caught her in the last 500 - has a PB of 23:50 (which won't last long).

Jonathon, thanks. I'd like to edge that time down to something near your last season's best - 22:20 if I recall. The Tuggers course is good for pacing practise as it's almost flat - just two tiny ups under the bridge and the 'speedbump' 200m before the finish.

Canute, that's right - Parkrun is very inclusive. All abilities are catered for. Over 50% of Tuggers Parkrunners are women - in the early days of cross country in Canberra it would have been 5%. Interesting observation about my form - I've been trying to implement the suggestions of Douglas Wisoff that I talked about in an earlier post.

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. Love Parkrun - a good number of that million will want to try track racing too so maybe in 20 years' time we'll be back to 2 divisions of the 5000 at Woden.

4:18 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Steady progress is always good. I can't really comment on the track vs. road issue as the only track race I have done in the last 25 years was a 24 hrs race and that tends to be ever so slightly different to your 5000 races. It doesn't help that the only track in the entire county is 45 minutes drive away from home, which is just a bloody disgrace!

Keep the good work going and don't take winter as an excuse for slacking off.

11:29 pm  
Blogger Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Looks like a lot of fun and a really great venue for the race. Your times keep getting consistently faster. Great job!

5:11 am  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

A 4.35 to finish Ewen! Well done. Now how coherent were you as you congratulated Karen on her race coming in after you? Sounds like you have a fantastic group of people to run with.

7:53 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thomas, yes we're lucky here with venues for running - a number of grass 400m tracks, the AIS track, Stromlo cross country, many miles of bush tracks... You'd do well in our Parkrun with that 18:14 - top 3 or 4 most weeks.

Thanks Chad - beautiful location for a race for sure.

Mark I'm too much of a gentleman to do that! She has very talented daughters, one a former junior middle distance champion. That's my excuse ;-)

9:30 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Great to here your enjoying the 5K races have to say never really liked track even at my peak!

8:26 am  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I see that you, in the second part of the races, are faster and the negative splits are usual.
It means that you are in perfect shape and you can run faster again.

9:34 pm  
Blogger Shane said...

Nice one Ewen, 6 parkruns in concession that you have lowered your time is awesome. It's great to have people around you to motivate and push you to a better time.

5:31 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Ewen, my SB last year was 22.36 in the first 5km of the Gold Coast Half last year (fired up downhill start and mostly very flat), not far off my 21min track bests. I agree a flat good surface important for good 5k times. Since you can finish the last 1k in 4.35, that suggests to me you should still have the potential to dip into the 22 min zone for sure...

12:29 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Rick, thanks. I always liked the track because of the close racing (especially in 8s and 15s) - also the accurate distance for 5k PB attempts. 5k courses in the old days were a rough guess on distance, often measured by a car odometer.

Stefano, that's right. I always run better with a negative split. Starting fast never works!

Thanks Shane. There were a few races (not listed) that weren't improvements but the general trend is towards faster times.

Jonathon, I'm not surprised to hear that as you're famous for fast starts. Tuggers is a good course - not as flat or quick as the track, but not far off.

8:37 pm  
Blogger Raina R. said...

I've still never ran a 5k on the track. Should have done so a year ago..
laughing at TokyoRunner's comment! :D
Good on you for dropping some time off your 5k. I hope to do the same at some point this year. That's a good time overland, Ewen.

6:25 pm  
Anonymous Karla said...

Congrats on chipping away at the 5K time! The parkrun sounds awesome...definitely more fun than the track. I'm not a morning person either. Much prefer to run in the afternoon or evening, but sound like the competition is worth it!

4:41 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Raina, if you get another chance to raced a track 5000, do it - can be fun and at least you know it's 5k, not 4.8 or 5.2. Bob's good with words.

Karla, yes I'm addicted to the Parkrun - wish they started at 9am though!

9:57 am  
Blogger Janene said...

Glad to see it's all coming together ET. That sub 23 isn't far away!

8:02 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks J. I hope you're right!

9:18 pm  

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